DOD Heightens Importance of Cybersecurity in Future Ground Systems
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) wants to make sure its future ground system for government satellites, known as the Enterprise Ground Segment (EGS), makes cybersecurity a much bigger priority compared to the approach taken with ground systems currently in use. Today, DOD ground systems for military satellite programs all run separate from each other. EGS will seek to unify ground segment operations onto a single comprehensive system, but DOD does not want to make that system into a jackpot hack for intruders who could see it as an opportunity to get into every military satellite system at once.
Speaking Sept. 22 at a Mitchell Institute event, Colonel Brian Bracey, chief architect at the Advanced Systems and Development Directorate of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), said all of today’s DOD programs of record have the same problems in regard to cyber, and that the current defense strategy relies heavily on what DOD perceives to be the system’s greatness weakness: dissimilarity.
“The best term I’ve heard right now, is that right now we have resilience through diversity, which means that everyone of the systems is different, but every one of those is exposed,” he said.
The military desires to move away from siloed, or “stovepiped” ground segments for different satellite systems, finding this approach to be costly and cumbersome. The goal of EGS is to unite these disparate operations into one single system. DOD is aware, however, of the lure that could create for potential hackers.
“If you aggregate all the satellites onto one network, you just created a great big target,” said Colonel John Anttonen, director of the Advanced Systems and Development Directorate and commander of Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Detachment 1. “So what are you going to do about it? When we look at cyber defense and the way we approach those today, we have to change what we do.”