Mission Possible: Secure Space-based Communications
“Military intelligence is the key to war; without it, you cannot win.”
Space-based ISR: Are we there yet?
What was true 2500 years ago when Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War is true today. While the premise isn’t new, the ways we go about doing it have changed drastically. From human intelligence to hilltop surveillance to the ultimate high ground of space, we continually pursue new tactics to outsmart the enemy with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) since the 5th century BC.
While modern ISR is increasingly space- and satellite-based, there are some drawbacks with current technology. Fortunately, the Air Force, Space Force and other military branches are finding some attractive emerging technology solutions as alternatives.
Modern satellite communications has its limits.
According to Air & Space Forces Magazine, “Gathering intelligence about adversaries has been central to military strategy since the advent of war. Knowing your adversaries’ capabilities, order of battle, and intent can spell the difference between victory and defeat.”
Traditional satellite-based ISR has ruled that realm for decades now, but it does have its risks. Here are just a few of the things that could go wrong:
- Natural disruption from solar flares and winds
- Technical failure from collisions with debris in space
- Human disruption from attacks, data interception, malware, jamming, etc.
In the advent of an actual threat, any one of these possibilities could result in mission failure.
New technologies are in the works to improve space-based ISR.
There is a scramble among commercial and government entities to find solutions that improve on traditional satellite-based ISR. The following is just a partial list of the exciting developments we are watching:
- Low-earth orbit satellites (LEOs). The Army has experimented with small satellites in low-earth orbit, enabling real-time images of battlegrounds to be downlinked to warfighters immediately. More work needs to be done on this tactic and more LEOs are needed to provide adequate coverage.
- Space Force/NRO partnership. The Space Force has teamed with the National Reconnaissance Office to develop a new, classified space-based payload for tracking moving targets on the ground. They are also working together to define the warfighter’s tactical ISR requirements and close the space-based intelligence gap.
- Commercial innovations. The private sector is developing many new and next generation innovations to help with ISR, including improved visible sensors, space-based radar, infrared and hyperspectral imaging, space drones, multi-phenomenology services, space-based electronics and SIGINT and RF signatures.
Moving forward with secure space-based communications.
As the landscape evolves, CIS Secure stands ready to provide the ISR community with the C5ISR communications devices and solutions they need to maintain secure communication wherever, whenever. In fact, we are constantly evaluating ways to improve security across our numerous solutions, while adhering to the policies and application-specific nuances our clients expect.
With our diverse array of purpose-built devices, we have already established leadership in secure communications. We look forward to seeing how things unfold and push the boundaries of design and innovation to secure the most sensitive collaborative and tactical communications into the future. Take a look at our secure communications product suite and see how our customized solutions can streamline your mission, giving you the tactical advantage!