Guetlein: improved space domain awareness essential for national security

Space is now essential to military operations both here in the United States and around the world. Space assets are necessary as well as the capabilities to find, track, and defend against any threats to those assets. General Geutlein emphasized in order to achieve this, we needed to broaden and strengthen relationships with industry, academia, and foreign partners which would mean lowering classification levels.

With more partnerships, cybersecurity strategies need to be more robust and standardized. However, there should be a balance between a resilient cybersecurity strategy and creating so much policy and red tape that it becomes prohibitive for smaller aerospace companies to get involved in creating these capabilities. Also, who is going to be responsible for compensation for private companies to be in compliance with this future secure architecture and the training it will require for their employees? Is the company responsible for taking on all of this on as an overhead cost for working with government contracts? Currently, one of the programs I’m working is part of the Defense Exportability Features (DEF) initiative where costs are shared 50/50 with the contractor and that has allowed for them to complete any required training as well as purchase equipment and bring their information technology back in house rather than outsourcing it.

Another obstacle I see with this is dealing with foreign partners and their classification policies. Just because we lower the classification level on programs, information, and capabilities does not guarantee they will. For example, in the United States, weather data and information is in the public domain and information about capabilities, critical program information, and critical components are usually Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) or Proprietary Information but in dealings with foreign countries, their classifications are sometimes higher for this same information and that is required to be respected to do business. It will be interesting to see how these obstacles are overcome to enhance our capabilities and space domain awareness.