Space Resiliency Going Forward

In a panel discussion at AFA’s Pacific Air & Space Symposium in Los Angeles led by Lt. Gen. Ellen Palikowski, Space and Missile System Center commander, participants from the aerospace industry discussed the need to build resilience into US space systems to confront a more dangerous environment on orbit and to cut costs. Jeff Grant, Northrop Grumman’s senior vice president for space systems, said during the Nov. 21 panel the space industrial base has done well over the years in building robust space systems, including the ground elements, to survive everything from backhoes to cyber attacks. “Today, it’s a bit different because you have to consider the aggressiveness and capabilities of the opponent,” he said. The Air Force’s past dominance in space was akin to playing golf, but now the game has shifted to hockey where opponents can violently check the United States. If, at the end of the day, it takes an opponent only an asymmetrical investment of $25,000 in a satellite jammer employed from the opponent’s sanctuary, then there’s not much resilience. Instead, the United States should force opponents out of their sanctuaries and make it a symmetrical contest, said Grant. “If they want to defeat us, they have to come and get us,” he said.