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U.S. weighing choices to compensate industrial firms if satellites are attacked


NGA’s Dave Gauthier: ‘We’ve some obligation to consider industrial safety’

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — U.S. protection and intelligence companies that more and more depend on industrial satellites for imagery and different providers are discussing how they could compensate firms if their spacecraft is broken throughout an armed battle, officers stated Sept. 15.

If non-public sector satellites turn out to be a part of a hybrid public-private house structure, “then now we have some obligation to consider industrial safety,” David Gauthier, director of the Nationwide Geospatial Intelligence Company’s Business and Enterprise Operations Group, stated on the Intelligence and Nationwide Safety Summit hosted by AFCEA Worldwide, and the Intelligence and Nationwide Safety Alliance. 

Gauthier is also chair of the Intelligence Group Business House Council, a newly fashioned group that develops coverage suggestions for senior leaders. 

The council met Sept. 13 and the subject of indemnification got here up, stated Gauthier. “We’re partaking with our trade companions to have that dialogue extra totally. And all the things continues to be on the desk.”

Deputy Protection Secretary Kathleen Hicks echoed that sentiment throughout a hearth chat on the symposium.

She stated the prospect of a battle the place satellites can be focused “does require us to consider how we contract successfully, together with points like indemnification,” she stated. It’s one of many choices that’s “completely on the desk.”

Gauthier stated he was happy to listen to that DoD is contemplating indemnification, and he expects the problem to proceed to be mentioned. 

The subject can also be being mentioned on Capitol Hill, stated Frank Garcia, skilled employees member of the Home Everlasting Choose Committee on Intelligence.

He stated he’s “very optimistic” that the DoD and the intelligence group will work collectively and “provide you with a complete method.” 

Gauthier stated industrial imaging satellites are important to the U.S. authorities as a result of they supply unclassified knowledge that may be shared with the general public, and so they add resilience, particularly throughout a battle when an adversary may goal a U.S. asset no matter whether or not it’s non-public or authorities owned.

A current report by the Aerospace Corp. warned that in crises and conflicts, industrial house actors danger getting caught within the crossfire, and an assault may happen both as a result of a industrial system is misidentified as a army system or as a result of that industrial system is working in help of the US. 

Gauthier stated the intelligence group within the runup to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine doubled its procurement of business satellite tv for pc imagery from established suppliers but additionally from new suppliers of artificial aperture radar knowledge.  

“I can’t say sufficient concerning the world class expertise trade on this nation. They’re able to innovate on the fly,” stated Gauthier. 

John Huth, chief of the Protection Intelligence Company’s workplace of house and counterspace, stated on the symposium that China and Russia are fielding a broad vary of anti-satellite weapons, together with lasers and digital jammers, that may very well be geared toward industrial satellites. 

One other main danger is the ever growing presence of house particles objects that fly uncontrolled and may injury satellites in the event that they collide. 

Huth stated DIA is seeking to work extra carefully with industrial house knowledge suppliers to enhance the federal government’s potential to trace threats in orbit. 

Maxar Applied sciences, the federal government’s major provider of electro-optical satellite tv for pc imagery, deploys sensors on its satellites for in-space surveillance, which helps improve security, stated Tony Frazier,  Maxar’s govt vice chairman and common supervisor of public sector Earth intelligence.

“We’re actually excited concerning the potential” of what will be performed with knowledge collected by satellites in orbit and analyzed utilizing synthetic intelligence and machine studying, stated Frazier.



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