Cybersecurity is particularly critical for the space domain, says Space Force official

The United States must be prepared to defend itself in cyberspace against the computer capabilities of Russia and China, a US Space Force official warned last week.

Colonel John Smail, who advises the chief of space operations on the US Space Force’s cyber communications, spectrum and warfare policy, strategy and operations, said cyber operations are “critical” to US Space Force and to secure American space power.

Among the domains of warfare, space is particularly linked to cyber, he said. In a November 4 speech to CyberSatGovSmail highlighted the seven Space Power Disciplines defined by Space Force in the inaugural publication of spatial synthesis “Spacepower— orbital warfare, space electromagnetic warfare, space battle management, space access and sustainment, military intelligence, cyber operations and engineering/acquisitions. These disciplines cannot be exercised without cyber operations, he argued.

“Space is unique in the area where it is really dependent on cyber. Other combat domains are not in cyberspace all the time,” Smail said. “You don’t have space power without cyberpower.”

As part of efforts to secure cyberspace for the Space Force, Smail spoke about the US Space Force initiative called Cyber-Enabled Space Operations, in which cyber squadrons are embedded in space deltas. Space Force deltas are comparable to Air Force wings. According to Space Forcethese cyber squadrons will work alongside space operators and intelligence experts, providing cyber capabilities for operational missions.

Delta commanders will have cyber squadrons attached to their delta, he said. “[For a] Cyber ​​Squadron Commander, although ultimately defending systems, their primary focus is to ensure the Delta Commander’s mission.

These cyber squadrons will also run vulnerability management programs, an area of ​​increasing importance.

“I think we’re entering an era where vulnerability management isn’t just a cybersecurity issue, it’s moving into a domain of operations, if it isn’t already. We have to keep closing that OODA loop,” Smail said, referring to the four-step decision-making process of observe, direct, decide, act.

“If we get into a conflict and nation states deploy advanced capabilities, we can’t just sit there and talk about – ‘We’ll get to that in the next big Block release’ – that’s not going to work,” a- He continued, “We need to exercise these processes now. It means agile development, agile processing. It means changing the culture and bringing acquisitions and operations ever closer together.”

The United States is the latest nation to want to see conflict in space, Smail said. “We are trying to build a force to deter conflict in space. But if it falls on us, we will be ready to defend its capabilities.

This story was first published by Defense Daily’s sister publication, Via Satellite.