International Media Focus

Below is the widespread international media coverage, in a variety of languages, that the MILAMOS Project and McGill Manual has received to date.

  • New laws to prevent space wars? Cosmos (19 November 2021)

    “You might be conducting an operation in a conflict – let’s say you wish to target a certain facility. Your missile system or your drone-launching missiles rely on GPS to guide them,” Doucet says. “So if you’re on the other end of it wanting to protect yourself, then you’ll send out jamming signals.”

"To ensure the fragile and shared domain of outer space does not become an arena for conflict, the rules that apply to any military uses of space need to be understood, respected and further developed".

"We've had humans utilising space for military purposes and for a whole range of other amazing things for 60 years — and we haven't had warfare in space.
Professor Steven Freeland

"There’s been increasing rhetoric...about the militarization of space and the potential for conflicts on Earth to extend into space.
Brian Weeden, Secure World Foundation

[At the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space] every country there reiterated the need to protect the peaceful uses of space. So the legal framework is there. Obviously because space is so important strategically and militarily, there are some who believe that it’s inevitable that at some point there will be war in outer space. I don’t believe in that inevitability, and I think that talk of inevitability unfortunately may itself become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We really need to sit back  and understand that we don’t need to think of space in terms of being an inevitable  war-fighting domain. It has not been, and let’s hope it will not be.
Professor Steven Freeland


Even more worrying, recent technological trends have underlined that serious threats to global security exist even in this final frontier itself. This is due to the strategic value of outer space, the dependence of militaries and thus their vulnerability to an attack on their space assets and the belief by some (military) observers that a war in space is now ‘inevitable’.

We need to work very hard to dispel this notion of inevitability, which does risk becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy if care and restraint is not exercised.


The militarization of space potentially threatens the requirement in the Outer Space Treaty (OST) that space activities comply with international law to maintain international peace and security and promote international cooperation. The United States has declared that space is now a “war-fighting domain,” and China’s and Russia’s military ambitions in space are growing. The UN Committee on Disarmament’s work on a treaty to prevent an arms race in space failed. As happened with cyberspace, these difficulties in space diplomacy have increased nongovernmental interest in clarifying how international law applies to military operations in space.

C’est pourquoi, avec nos collègues du monde entier – des experts australiens, canadiens, américains, russes et chinois – nous menons un programme de recherche sur plusieurs années, afin de rédiger un guide sur l’application de la loi en cas d’intervention militaire dans l’espace.

Ce guide de droit international, applicable à l’usage militaire de l’espace extra-atmosphérique en cas de tensions ou d’hostilités (MILAMOS), est un manuel qui aidera à renforcer la transparence et la confiance entre les puissances spatiales.


このプロジェクトは数年の時間を要するもので、その目的は宇宙での緊張状態および明確な戦争行為が生じた際に適用されるマニュアル「MILAMOS」(Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space)を作り上げることにあります。さらに、最終的に目指す究極の目標は、宇宙戦争行為を防止して、今後発達するであろう宇宙旅行分野に関わる当事者間で、高い透明性のある信頼関係を構築する手助けになることとしています。

The main purpose of MILAMOS is to provide guidelines in times of tension and outright hostility. Such a manual will clarify the limitations international law places on the threat or use of force in outer space. According to McGrill University in Canada, the MILAMOS aims to look at how, against the backdrop of rapidly developing technologies and applications, what uses and objects are considered lawful or outrightly prohibited in the event of an outbreak of conflict in outer space.

With continuous technological advancements, the space technology has spread its wings in diverse fields. From navigation, banking, weather forecasting, disaster monitoring, agriculture to the provision of cellular phone signals, the technology has entered into our day-to-day lives. Disruption of of space infrastructure will have a devastating effect on all. MILAMOS will not only help to maintain peace but will also give a proper framework for future endeavours.

Indeed, with the pace of development of space-related projects, we currently face a legal vacuum in various fields, in particular regarding the military use of outer space. To deal with that, the MILAMOS project by McGill University aims to develop a widely-accepted manual clarifying the fundamental rules applicable to the military use of outer space, in times of peace as well as in periods of tension and in outright armed conflict. This innovative project will have a positive impact and influence on the future and sustainability of humankind’s venture in outer space


Against this sobering background, a renewed multilateral push in the Conference of Disarmament for a legally-binding instrument on outer space is very much required. While working towards that objective, the MILAMOS project should prove to be a useful exercise. Such an effort will help in strengthening the space rules and laws, and make outer space more securely accessible to mankind.



El proyecto que prevé resolver los problemas existentes [en relación al uso militar del espacio] fue presentado por científicos ... de la Universidad McGill (Montreal, Canadá) y se conoce como ley Milamos, siglas en inglés para designar a la 'Guía sobre las normas del derecho internacional aplicable a la utilización del espacio ultraterrestre con fines militares'.

(...) Milamos se puede considerar 'como un intento de clarificar la aplicación del derecho internacional a la naturaleza cambiante de los conflictos armados'.

The threat of warfare and aggression in space — and the need to prepare for it — has been broadly recognized all over the world. An international group of lawyers is now drawing up the first body of law to be applied in space. Based largely on existing principles of international law, the work that results from the coalition’s efforts will be called Manual on International Law Applicable to Military Uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS).

[MILAMOS] is the latest in a series of legal efforts to come to grips with the evolving nature of modern warfare.

For its part, the ICRC cares about outer space for at least two reasons.  First, our field and HQ personnel depend on space systems to conduct day-to-day humanitarian work.  For just three examples, consider (a) communications, (b) navigation, and (c) imaging.  ...

The need to communicate extends not only to our individual delegates and hundreds of delegation, mission, and office locations globally, but also to our larger-scale fleet operations involving cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes.  In many cases, our communications rely on space systems where a domestic backbone is either non-existent or less reliable.  Degradation of any of these systems, intentional or not, could undermine our ability to communicate.  In such cases, we would activate redundant systems and would continue to operate; but not without some impacts.


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