U.S. Rear Adm. Douglas Seeth said Space Operations Command will direct cybersecurity and intelligence experts to work with satellite operators to be prepared to protect U.S. systems from electronic and physical threats. said it does.
“We are ready and posing for battle,” Schies said at the Aviation, Space and Cyber Conference on Sept. 19. Sheath is the deputy commander of the Space Force’s Space Operations Command, which also oversees the Allied component of the U.S. Space Command, Space Force Station Vandenberg, California.
Based in Space Force Peterson, Colorado, Space Operations Command has multiple squadrons of cyber specialists supporting military units operating communications, surveillance, and navigation satellites. Seeth said more will be added over the next year to ensure all satellite units have adequate cyber defenses.
The Space Force follows orders from Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall to protect space systems from cyberattacks attempted by rivals like China during conflicts.
Schiess said one of the most recent actions was to assign a cyber squadron exclusively to work with the operators of the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellites that provide critical early warning of missile launches.
“From day one on the job, I’ve said my priorities are China, China, and China…and the message is starting to resonate,” Kendall said in a keynote address at a conference on Monday. I want to think,” he said.
“They are right there in the same building with our space and missile warning operators,” said Schiess. “We`re going to continue to do that.”
In response to Pentagon concerns about Chinese and Russian anti-satellite weapons, the Space Force also is adding intelligence detachments to satellite operations units to ensure operators get accurate information about possible threats.
“That shortens the amount of time it takes operators to get intelligence from days to minutes,” said Schiess. “Obviously, as you heard from the Secretary and others today, our near peer competitors are continuing to modernize their forces,” he added. “We have to continue to have intel-led operations so that we can make decisions faster to be able to get ahead of those near peer competitors.”
Schiess said a priority going forward is to modernize the Space Force`s training and testing infrastructure so guardians can rehearse missions in a combat-like environment, and the survivability of satellites can be more accurately tested. The Space Force established a separate Space Training and Readiness Command at Peterson to focus on training and testing. “They are planning to establish a national space training and testing center,” Schiess said. “And we at Space Operations Command are probably the biggest supporters of helping them do that.”
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