A space agreement can facilitate, not replace, our unilateral efforts to protect critical satellite missions. The proposed Self-Defense Zone (SDZ) agreement would clarify what are considered menacing configurations of space objects. It would also make clear that the owner of a vital satellite system would take defensive actions when such a configuration seriously threatens a surprise destruction of the system--just as the United States did against Libyan missile boats which came too close to our carriers in the international waters of the Mediterranean. The SDZ agreement would thus encourage effective enforcement and thereby avoid some of the principal difficulties about compliance that trouble the present debate over arms control.
This paper also details the specifics of the agreement including the number, size and location of SDZs, and the maximum number and time of allowable transits through the other side's zones. Two key design features are i) that many of these SDZs are not attached to specific satellites but are regions in space which are fixed with respect to the earth, and ii) that SDZs are to protect critical satellite missions instead of every satellite which serves these missions. The first feature makes it much easier to adjust the orbits of one's satellites for treaty compliance, to recognize dangerous incursions, and to coordinate future satellite placements. The second feature allows for a few transits through SDZs by the other side's satellites. Even the destruction of some satellites resulting from these transits would not interrupt the mission performance of a system with built-in redundancy. The allowance of transits would permit much larger and more useful SDZs without significantly interfering with routine satellite operations.