The US Space Force is asking for USD 700 million for cybersecurity

In the budget request of the US Space Forces for 2024, it is proposed to allocate USD 700 million to provide protection against hacker attacks. The reason for the attention in this area is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the imperfection of the ground infrastructure.

General Saltzman. Source: U.S. Air Force photo by Andy Morataya

Cybersecurity in fucus

The head of the US Space Forces, Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, on Tuesday, March 28, during a hearing in the House Appropriations of the US Congress, highlighted the need to finance cybersecurity in the industry for which he was responsible. This has become especially relevant in light of the fact that Russia’s large-scale aggression against Ukraine has marked the beginning of endless hacker attacks.

The total budget request of the US Space Forces for 2024 is USD 30 billion. Of these, 700 million need cybersecurity. According to the US military, this is how much protection is needed from hacker attacks of all networks related to space operations.

“There’s no question that space is going to be central to effective operations in the future,” Saltzman said. According to him, Russia’s electronic and cyber attacks in the first days of the invasion became a wake-up call.

However, he did not tell in detail what exactly the funds would be spent on. According to Saltzman, the Space Forces will invest in software and hardware for training personnel who will work with him.

Problem with the ground infrastructure

How cybersecurity will be improved becomes clear if you listen to what the military says about space systems. For many years, the main problem has been an extremely perfect ground infrastructure.

It includes signal reception stations and terminals used by the military at the places where satellite communications are established. When this system, known as the OCX, was developed, the main funds were invested in its space component — satellites.

And the ground systems were funded on a residual basis. As a result, their software was not only imperfect in relation to the main functions, but also did not provide special means to protect against hacker attacks.

When changing conditions made these needs urgent, programmers added additional protective functions to the system, for which it was not initially ready. As a result, communication indicators dropped significantly, and reliable protection could not be obtained. 

Obviously, USD 700 million is planned to be spent, in particular, to completely redesign the OCX so that it can combine reliable protection with ensuring normal communication and possibly even increase its volume or add functionality for using low-orbit Internet, which private companies will provide to the military.

According to

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