Space and Cyber Domains Combined Create 'Synergistic' Safeguards, General Says
Every military operation conducted around the world is enabled by space as well as cyber operations, domains closely linked and threatened alike. “As it is with cyber, and as the world is certainly witness to, our space domain is critically important,” said Maj. Gen. Roger Teague, USAF, director of space programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Acquisition for the U.S. Air Force.
“Everything we do, whether it’s a pizza delivery, GPS, farming, banking, precision timing [or] communication—our nation is critically dependent on our space capabilities, as are our warfighters," Gen. Teague said during the final day of AFCEA International’s inaugural TechNet Air 2016 symposium, wrapping up today in San Antonio.
“It’s important that we understand and acknowledge that tie [between space and cyber]," Gen. Teague added. "It is through both domains, as well as the integration of our air, land and sea domains, that we’re able to create those synergistic effects not only on the battlefield, but also to sustain our daily lives.”
The world is going through a rapidly changing environment, Gen. Teague said, marked by rising threats that are constantly changing “the way we have to think about space as a domain, space as an operational environment," he said.
“It is no longer a sanctuary,” Gen. Teague warned.
For decades, the United States knew who its neighbors were in the space domain, and understood norms of behavior.
“There are an increasing number of hostile actions that cause great concern, especially when you consider the significant amount of national treasure that we have on orbit,” he shared.
The Air Force’s efforts to not only address space-based threats, but extinguish them, are found in several command programs.
On the horizon for the Air Force is continued work on acquiring protected satellite communications services and identifying the proper balance between military-delivered satellite communications (SATCOM) and commercially provided offerings. An analysis of alternatives, or AOA, is scheduled to be completed this summer.
Another project includes the Weather System Follow-on (WSF), set to replace the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program and other Defense Department environmental monitoring satellites. The WSF is a system to provide timely and reliable space-based remote sensing capabilities for global environmental observations of atmospheric, terrestrial, oceanographic and solar-geophysical requirements. An acquisition strategy document should be approved this in summer 2016.
Additionally, the next satellite of the Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) constellation is slated for a summer launch, as is a running of the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellite program at full capability for one of the final assessments. SBIRS is ranked as one of the nation’s highest priorities and provides global, persistent, infrared surveillance capabilities in the four national security areas of missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.
It is the “unblinking eye that allows us to sleep at night,” Gen. Teague said.
Much of future requirements would not be possible without industry involvement, Teague assured, and outlined elements of various programs in an effort to pique attendee interest.
“It’s important to know what the force mix looks like,” he said, using term to define military, industry and academia partnerships.
“We recognize we can’t go it alone.”