Posted by James Madison of American Media Periscope
The future of both security as well as warfare is digital. President Trump has the foresight to recognize this and create the newest branch of the United States Armed Forces. Few people realized what the true mission of space force was. Many detractors just filed it under the same category as President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), best known as ‘Star Wars’. These same critics never bothered to learn that new laser technology, advanced ballistic missile systems, new radar and infrared sensors as well as the beginnings of atmospheric interception of ICBM payloads.
Space Force will prove to be far more of a practical organization than President Reagan’s SDI because the Soviet’s fear and inability to compete with Reagan’s bold initiative altered the course of the research. However, Space Force will pick up with orbital technologies which will be able to target and destroy new and advanced missile systems which are already either in operation or being developed by Russia and China.
That said, the real immediate impact of Space Force will be to get the US into a position to be the world’s leader in defensive cyber security as well as the offensive ability to penetrate enemy computer systems. The world’s militaries can no longer exist on just guns and artillery. Any military fighter runs on computer guided systems for navigation and weapons. Shoulder fired Javelin missiles like the ones in use in Ukraine use computers and lasers to acquire their targets. Even the HIMARs systems given to Ukraine were reprogrammed by the US before handing them over so that they could not be used to attack targets deep within Russian territory. These are a few modern examples of the necessity of technological superiority and in some areas the US is currently behind our adversaries. While not meant as humor, the idiocy of TikTok being used by the Chinese to spy on Americans should be enough to get your attention but a thinking person will realize that if you can hack the social media of common people then guidance and control systems of a military aircraft is the next logical target. A theoretical cyber strike upon vital defense systems could be the difference between victory in a war versus an inability to even have the chance to defend one’s nation while the computers which run our defenses are inoperable.
U.S. Space Force ramps up cybersecurity spending
Chief of Space Operations Gen. Saltzman said the Space Force is seeking $700 million in the 2024 budget for cybersecurity
March 28, 2023
WASHINGTON — The head of the U.S. Space Force told lawmakers March 28 that the service is investing heavily in cybersecurity for satellite ground systems in response to increasing threats.
The need for greater protection has intensified since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which saw satellite systems targeted in cyberattacks, Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, chief of space operations, said during a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee.
The Space Force’s $30 billion budget request for fiscal year 2024 includes $700 million to “enhance the cyber defense of our critical networks associated with space operations,” said Saltzman.
“There’s no question that space is going to be central to effective operations in the future,” he said. Russia’s electronic and cyber attacks in the early days of the invasion were a wakeup call, he said.
Saltzman did not provide details of what cybersecurity capabilities are being funded in the 2024 request. He said the Space Force is investing in software and hardware, but also in training for operators.
Ground systems are the weak link
Upgrading cyber defenses has been a challenge for space programs due to larger problems the Pentagon has historically experienced with software developments, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said at the appropriations hearing.
A glaring example is the ground control system the Air Force started developing years ago for the Global Positioning System satellite constellation. Known as OCX, the system has been plagued by delays in part due to cybersecurity features that were inserted into the program and were not originally designed in the software.
‘We tend to have a problem with software programs in general across the Department of Defense’ Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall
Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) noted that the most troubled Space Force programs happen to be ground systems. “Can you explain why the ground systems are so hard to deliver and what can we do about it?” he asked Kendall.
“There’s a tendency in space programs to emphasize the satellite payload over the ground stations. And ground stations are almost always very software intensive,” Kendall said.
“And we tend to have a problem with software programs in general across the Department of Defense,” he added.
In the case of OCX, for example, “cybersecurity has gotten more stringent over time and that’s added a layer of complexity,” said Kendall. “If you don’t design for that upfront, and you come in and you try to overlay it later on as you’re going through the design, it’s much more difficult.”
Kendall said the head of Space Force acquisitions Frank Calvelli has been aware of this problem since taking office last year and has called for a new approach to the development of ground systems.
In a “space acquisition tenets” memo Calvelli circulated last fall, one of his directives is to “deliver ground before launch, and ensure ground systems are completed and ready for operations before launching a new capability.”