Professor William C. Martel

Associate Professor of International Security

Professor William C. Martel is willing to tackle big questions and big issues. Since the late 1990s, he has been focusing his research on the meaning of victory in war - a topic which, until his involvement, had not been addressed by a set of ideas or been a topic of debate.

Professor MartelIn his book-length study on the subject, Martel uses a series of case studies to develop an organized set of pre-theory principles in an attempt to provide an answer. His examples range from ancient Greece, through the American Revolution, to the end of the Cold War, and include post-Cold War examples from Libya, Panama, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and Iraq. The book's final edits will be finished by the end of November and the book is due to be published in spring 2006 by Cambridge University Press.

Soon after the completion of this project, Martel envisions beginning formal research on a topic he's mulled over for years: the long-standing defense and foreign policy debate on whether outer space should be weaponized.

"I'd like to try and answer questions like: What is the permissible range of activities that can occur in space? What are you allowed to do in space? Should we weaponize at all? If so, what are the policy and security implications?" says Martel.

Thus far, cosmic "territories" are based solely on specific space-based technologies. But what happens when satellites start to interact with other satellites? What happens in the area around the satellite? What if a country puts a satellite in space for the sole purpose of monitoring another nation's satellites? Martel hopes to establish the beginnings of a framework within which to address questions such as these, and to address the future direction of space development.

In addition to exploring the physical and territorial significance of satellites, Martel is currently finishing up some research for the Department of Defense on the benefits of producing smaller satellites for commercial purposes.

"We've tended, in the past, to produce small numbers of large satellites," Martel explains. "What happens when you move away from that? A trade-off is that you have less-capable satellites, but one of the major benefits is that you decrease costs."

Martel will present his findings in Washington about the political, military, strategic, operational and policy implications that such a switch would induce. He will be addressing the technology and policy aspects of this topic, as well as its commercial and global implications as well.

Contact information:
Telephone: 617-627-4706
Fax: 617-627-3933
Office: Cabot 602C
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