• Exploring the need for intelligence in the newly emphasized space domain at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5 are (l-r) Chris DeMay, founder and CTO, Hawkeye 360; Stacey Dixon, deputy director, NGA; Tina Harrington, director, SIGINT, NRO; and Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, USAF, deputy commander, Air Force Space Command.
     Exploring the need for intelligence in the newly emphasized space domain at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5 are (l-r) Chris DeMay, founder and CTO, Hawkeye 360; Stacey Dixon, deputy director, NGA; Tina Harrington, director, SIGINT, NRO; and Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, USAF, deputy commander, Air Force Space Command.
  • Exploring the need for intelligence in the newly emphasized space domain at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5 are (l-r) panel moderator Letitia Long, chair, INSA; Chris DeMay, founder and CTO, Hawkeye 360;v Stacey Dixon, deputy director, NGA; Tina Harrington, director, SIGINT, NRO; and Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, deputy commander, Air Force Space Command. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography
     Exploring the need for intelligence in the newly emphasized space domain at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5 are (l-r) panel moderator Letitia Long, chair, INSA; Chris DeMay, founder and CTO, Hawkeye 360;v Stacey Dixon, deputy director, NGA; Tina Harrington, director, SIGINT, NRO; and Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, deputy commander, Air Force Space Command. Credit: Herman Farrer Photography

The Newly Designated Space Domain Requires Its Own Intelligence.

September 5, 2019
By Robert K. Ackerman
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It has been serving intelligence needs, now it needs to be served by intelligence.


With space assuming greater importance as a military domain with its own designated command, the U.S. intelligence community must dedicate assets and procedures to providing vital information about space-based operations. For decades, the ultimate high ground was a valuable source of intelligence across the spectrum of national security. Now, its value as an intelligence target is growing as much as its importance as an operational domain.

This issue was discussed by a panel at the AFCEA/INSA Intelligence & National Security Summit on September 5. Creating a Space Force for the space domain poses a number of challenges, and experts described some of the issues facing planners and operators.

“We need to think really hard right now about intelligence for space,” declared Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, USAF, deputy commander, Air Force Space Command. “How do we make sure we are harnessing all the capabilities that we can in space?” He suggested that, in the future, it may become desirable to establish a national space intelligence center.

Gen. Shaw continued that cyber is and will continue to be a key component of space operations. “Cyber and space are best friends forever. We won’t be able to do things in space with autonomous vehicles without cyber.”

And these capabilities will be essential as adversaries increasingly target U.S. space assets. “We can’t stop them, but we need to understand what adversaries are doing to the space domain, said Tina Harrington, director, Signals Intelligence, National Reconnaissance Office.

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