Inaugural Arms Control Law Podcast: Jack Beard and the International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities

I’m very pleased to announce a new initiative here at Arms Control Law. I’ve been planning this for some time and have finally gotten things going.  The idea is a podcast series – yes, I know everyone is doing podcasts.  But this one is devoted to discussions/interviews with scholars and practitioners in the arms control law area.

Most of the discussions will feature scholars working on new projects – articles or books, and the podcast will be a way for the author to briefly introduce the subject of the work to the ACL audience through a 30 minute or so discussion with me and with my co-host Professor Jack Beard from the University of Nebraska College of Law.  Jack was a long-time practitioner of arms control law in the U.S. government, and is now a prolific arms control law scholar.  He is also the chair of the International Law Association American Branch’s Use of Force Law Committee, which is co-sponsoring this podcast series.

I’m hoping that this podcast series will provide a new vehicle for disseminating quality arms control law scholarship, as well as discussions on current topics in the field, in a medium that can be listened to anywhere – in the car, at the gym, etc.

We’re going to kick off the series with a discussion of one of Jack’s own recent papers, entitled “Soft Law’s Failure on the Horizon: The International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.”  This article has been accepted for publication in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law. You can find the paper here on SSRN. It’s an extremely timely critique of the E.U’s Code of Conduct in this area, and includes some really interesting questions about international legal sources, i.e. the role of soft law in the arms control area. Listeners should feel free to post comments and questions about the podcast.



Readers will likely have read media reports today summarizing the IAEA’s latest official report on Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA and Security Council Resolution 2231, which was presented to the IAEA Board of Governors today.   A full copy of the IAEA report has, fortunately, been provided to ACL in the interests of transparency by a source in Vienna.  You can find it at the link below.

The five page report finds that Iran is upholding its commitments under the JCPOA, and has been cooperating with IAEA inspectors. It concludes:

The Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and locations outside facilities where nuclear material is customarily used (LOFs) declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. Evaluations regarding the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities for Iran remained ongoing.

Noticeably absent, of course, is any consideration of whether the other parties to the JCPOA, including particularly the U.S., are abiding by their JCPOA commitments.  I think this would actually make for more interesting reading.

Iran Report May 27 2016

Does the US Missile Defense System in Eastern Europe Violate the INF Treaty?

I’m actually genuinely asking this. I don’t know the answer. I know Russia has made this accusation repeatedly over the years, and again just in the past few days.  Here’s a nice explanation of the issues involved.

But honestly I don’t know a lot about the INF treaty, other than what I could gather through looking at the text itself and a few online articles.  The question seems to be one involving some technical determinations about the kinds of missiles and launching systems that the US either has or plans to have at its bases in Eastern Europe.  For me to get up to speed and give an answer I would have confidence in would take me a while. So I thought I would just throw the question out to readers who may have actual expertise in this area that they could share.  Please either leave a comment, or if you would like to do a guest post, just let me know by email.