Taking Advantage of What’s There

The Air Force is capable of ensuring continuity of space-based global communications in a contested environment for which “you don’t have to go out and buy new things, you just have to take advantage of what’s there,” Air Force Space Command boss Gen. John Hyten said. That capability “is the existence of the commercial communications marketplace,” which carries between 70 percent and 80 percent of military communications, Hyten told reporters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The growing number of commercial communications satellites provides “an amazingly resilient model” of protection through disaggregation, or dispersing your assets, Hyten said. “We have multiple satellites, multiple frequencies, and you have military users around the world … that operate on multiple frequencies.” By knowing where the users and the satellites are and what frequencies are available, “if one satellite is jammed, you can quickly move,” he explained. That ability “to adjust to how you operate is inherent in the architecture that we built. I’d like to say we built with forethought, but [it] just kind of turned out to exist … It’s the perfect example of disaggregation. What people don’t understand is that we already have a disaggregated satcom architecture. We just don’t take advantage of it.”