February 15, 2021

Astronaut with a JLT briefcaseThe Catholic University Journal of Law and Technology held its 2021 Spring Symposium on February 12, 2021. The program, “Space: The New Legal Frontier,” invited students, faculty, and guests to hear from experts regarding modern issues affecting space law.

After welcoming remarks from John Bat (3L), Editor-in-Chief of the Catholic University Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 29, Audrey Allison ’85, Vice President for Global Spectrum Management at Boeing, delivered the keynote address. The remainder of the program was broken into two panels.

Allison is a graduate of Catholic Law’s Communications Law Institute (now the Law and Technology Institute) and has built an impressive career in space law. In her role at Boeing, Allison leads the organization responsible for radio frequency spectrum, and acquisition, compliance, and regulatory advocacy. She is also Boeing’s lead representative to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)—a United Nations organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. Allison’s keynote address entitled, “New Space Law Creation to Enable Space Innovation,” provided an overview of the ITU as well as the ITU’s influence over the international telecommunications ecosystem.

Panel 1: Commercialization of Space

The first panel focused on the basic building blocks of space law, particularly the regulatory landscape within the United States, and touched upon the effect of treaties in space law. Many of the questions discussed in the second half of the session highlighted how rapidly the sphere of space law is evolving and touched upon some questions that remain unanswered, such as the fulfillment of international treaty obligations.

Moderator: Laura Montgomery, Ground-Based Space Matters, Proprietor, and Catholic Law Adjunct Professor of Space Law

Panelists: Diane Janosek, National Security Agency, Training Director; Sabrina Jawed, Federal Aviation Administration, Regulatory and Space Law Attorney; and Jessica (Sweeney) Noble '12, NanoRacks, LLC., General Counsel

Panel 2: Military Space

The second panel shifted to focus on the issue of the military in space law and the international considerations stemming from such involvement. Panelists emphasized the distinction between the militarization and the weaponization of space and delved deeper into specific provisions of treaties that cover space law. The panel also explored the beginnings of the United States Space Force and pondered its future role.

Moderator: Geoffrey Watson, Director of the Comparative and International Law Institute and retired Professor of Law at Catholic Law

Panelists: Kaitlyn Johnson, Deputy Director and Fellow of the Aerospace Security Project at Center for Strategic and International Studies; Deborah Plunkett, Director, Aviation and Space Law with the Office of the General Counsel, USAF; Glenn Reynolds, Beauchamp Professor of Law at The University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Law; and Damond Richardson, Acquisitions Lawyer with the Office of the General Counsel, USAF

Following the panel discussions, Bat provided closing remarks and thanked the audience, panelists, and University.