December 2020 marked the one-year anniversary of our new U. S. Space Force. Considering the amount of energy that goes into creating such a large, bureaucratic institution, they have accomplished a great deal in just a year! As part of the celebration, Vice President Pence dubbed them with a new moniker: Guardians. While some might roll their eyes a bit (Guardians of the Galaxy anyone??), there is some actual logic in this move. The Services traditionally break down along deep-rooted lines in their unique histories. There is no mistaking the identity traits associated with Sailors (Navy), Airmen (Air Force), Soldiers (Army) and Marines (Marine Corps). They evoke unmistakable images and speak to their common identities. Since a large percentage of the people, places and equipment now under U. S. Space Force came from the Air Force, it was especially important to ditch the “airman” identifier that permeates the space community. Guardians, while maybe a bit cheesy, really does a good job of breaking through that stereotype.
Additionally, this month, the White House released the National Space Policy, declaring that we must maintain “unfettered access to, and freedom to operate in, space” as a vital National interest. This policy commits the United States to following six guiding principles:
- Space is of “shared interest” to all Nations, who must operate openly, transparently and predictably.
- A robust domestic commercial space sector is critical to our national interests.
- The United States will partner with other nations who share our democratic values to advance space exploration.
- Space is NOT subject to sovereignty, and the United States will play a large role in enforcing that. (Ahem… no man-made space “islands”!)
- The United States will continue to use space for national security activities, which include self-defense.
- All nations have the right to “pass through and conduct operations in space without interference”.
While there are many specific goals called out in this policy, maintaining and enhancing space-based positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) is particularly critical at this time. The US role in providing the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) is important to almost every country and every business or defense sector. This policy commits to keeping it running, securely, for “peaceful civil uses” with no direct user fees.
There is a separate section in this policy addressing Cybersecurity, laying out five very broad goals. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do a very good job of assigning these responsibilities! While it mentions cybersecurity fifteen times, it never really makes anyone accountable for it or directs any new efforts towards attaining it. This is unfortunate.
The Space Policy pushes for expanding areas of international cooperation on all types of space activities. Specifically, it directs the Secretary of State to push forward on agreements with “like minded International Partners” (aka: our Allies) and to give more consideration to proposals and concepts for arms control measures between nations. This is really helpful, since the State Department controls the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and the ITAR is usually up-front-and-center as a barrier to many great space-coalition efforts.
The Policy continues to reinforce that U. S. Space Force is the primary branch of the Department of Defense responsible to organize, train and equip forces that can project power in, from and to space. The Policy directs DoD to protect “freedom of navigation and preserve the lines of communication in the space domain”. It also encourages the use of commercial launch capabilities, but tasks DoD to develop “rapid launch options to reinforce or reconstitute” critical space assets in time of crisis.
Dominant in each of the above is the White House’s strong assertion that we will not tolerate any purposeful interference upon our (or our allies) space systems. There will be consequences. The Department of Defense is tasked with ensuring we have the advanced space power needed to defense our use of space. Go Guardians!
Space will clearly be an area of continued focus and interest and we will continue to report on what business and government leaders need to know about this subject.
For additional insights, OODA members should see:
Pentagon Unveils New Defense Space Strategy
the Pentagon unveiled a new Defense Space Strategy that aims to ensure the US maintains military superiority over advanced adversaries such as China and Russia. The new plan signifies the critical moment in space exploration that we are currently in. The US military is also increasingly shifting
Is Space Critical Infrastructure?
The establishment of the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) was announced earlier this year with the mission to enhance the space community’s ability to prepare for and respond to cyber vulnerabilities, incidents, and threats. Although the Space ISAC won’t be fully up and running until early 2020, the industry group is already pursuing a hefty agenda item: lobby the federal government to designate commercial space systems as critical infrastructure (CI). While a partnership with federal agencies provides undeniable value, I do not believe the establishment of a new CI sector will result in the prioritized government action that industry is seeking.
Mitigating Threats to Commercial Space Satellites
The space domain is transforming into an increasingly contested and congested environment. The President has referred to it as a critical warfighting domain and in response, the Department of Defense has recently established U.S. Space Command as a unified combatant command to employ space capabilities and lead space operations. In the private sector, we have seen investments in commercial space grow exponentially as advances in technology have sparked a renewed global interest in the final frontier. In the last decade alone an estimated 500 venture capital firms have invested in space, with approximately 20% making their first investments in 2018. A recent report by Morgan Stanley also cites, “the revenue generated by the global space industry may increase to more than $1 trillion by 2040.”
OODA Special Report: The Executive’s Guide To Innovation In Space
OODA is pleased to announce the next in our series of special reports on innovation topics for executive decision-makers. This one focuses on innovation in space.
The Executive’s Guide to Commercial Use of Space
The rapid pace of innovation in space is producing real capabilities which can be leveraged for businesses in every sector of the economy. There is a growing excitement over the many developments in the space industry, giving rise to many questions about how these developments will impact markets overall. This
What Business Needs To Know About Security In Space
The last decade has seen an incredible increase in the commercial use of space. Businesses and individual consumers now leverage space solutions that are so integrated into our systems that they seem invisible. Some of these services include: Communications, including very high-speed low latency communications to distant and mobile users
The Cyber Threat To NASA’s Artemis Program
NASA is enabling another giant leap for humanity. With the Artemis program, humans will return to the Moon in a way that will enable establishment of gateways to further exploration of not just the Moon but eventually the entire solar system. The initial expenses of the program will return significant.
Technology Risk Executive and former NASA CISO and CIO Jerry Davis
Jerry Davis has spent decades succeeding in hard jobs supporting critically important missions. He is a decorated combat Veteran who served in he US Marines for 11 years including in Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield. He also served in the Central Intelligence Agency in service to world wide missions including leveraging technology in denied areas against high profile targets. Jerry would later become the first CISO at the US Department of Education, then the CISO for NASA and later the CISO for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He returned to NASA as the CIO for the Ames Research Center, a position he held till 2018.