Abstract for: Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy in Space: Balancing Risks of Unintended Escalation

An overarching principle common to space-faring nations and industry alike is to maintain freedom of operations in a safe and secure environment, commensurate with national and commercial interests. Deterrence concepts and escalation control play key roles in realizing this principle in the increasingly congested, competitive and contested space environment. The history of nuclear deterrence demonstrates that deterrence concepts rely on norms of behavior and clear signaling that is credible and clearly communicated, while escalation control requires an understanding of feedback systems. This research explores how Artificial Intelligence (AI) employed on critical space systems may impact escalation control in a framework based on lessons from modeling nuclear deterrence.