Air Force knocking down stovepipes to shore up space cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a growing concern for everyone who relies computers. The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) faces unique challenges, however, because it uses an extensive array of ground systems that in some cases are decades old to communicate with the individual satellites and constellations the U.S. military relies on during peacetime and conflicts. This “stovepipe” architecture is expensive to maintain and so complex people have trouble discovering all the ways the systems could be vulnerable to cyberattack.

The Space Defense Task Force coordinates three ambitious Air Force initiatives designed, in part, to remedy the problem: Enterprise Ground Services (EGS), a program that includes development of a common ground system for military satellites; the Enterprise Battle Management Command and Control System, an effort to provide a secure hardware and network infrastructure, common data standards and applications to enable space operational command and control at multiple locations including the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center and the Joint Space Operations Center; and Enterprise System Engineering, which establishes policies and procedures, defines interfaces and allocates requirements across multiple SMC systems to ensure the enterprise defends U.S. space assets.

The Space Defense Task Force brings those programs together “because they are cross-cutting, horizontal-impacting efforts that affect the entire center and all the weapon systems that SMC produces,” Col. Brian Bracy told SpaceNews correspondent Debra Werner in a recent interview.

Air Force Col. Kevin Massey directs the Air Force Space Defense Task Force. Col. Brian Bracy, serves as its deputy. Bracy was previously the Satellite Operations Branch chief for Air Force Space Command’s Strategic Plans, Programs, Requirements and Analysis Directorate at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.

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