U.S. Air Force, Spy Agency Team up for Space Protection

COLORADOSPRINGS, Colo. - U.S. Air Force Space Command and the National ReconnaissanceOffice (NRO) have joined together to create a new program to advise themilitary and intelligence community on how to protect space assets.

Gen. RobertKehler, commander of Air Force Space Command, said in a Tuesday interview atPeterson Air Force Base that the Space Protection Program will report to himand Scott Large, NRO director, and will help identify a wide range of possibleoptions to safeguardspace capabilities.

"Itisn't that we didn't have anybody thinking about this before," Kehlersaid. However, the military lacked a single venue to focus the discussion onthe matter, he said.

The program,launched March 31, will bring together officials from both organizations inplaces like Los Angeles, Colorado Springs and Chantilly, Va., who currentlyaddress this mission, Kehler said. The program ultimately will have aheadquarters, but that the top priority at the moment is the development of acongressionally mandated space protectionstrategy that is due in July, he added.

The programcould recommend options including development of new hardware, or changes intactics and procedures, Kehler said. He and Large will weigh recommendationsand then pass their decisions on to the appropriate places within theirorganizations for execution, he added.

Kehler saidhe and Large have made it clear they do not want the program to constrainitself to one particular area of solutions for space protection.

"Whatwe don't want is if you're a hammer, every problem looks like a nail," hesaid. "We don't want every problem to look like a nail. What we reallywant them to do is to come in and say 'here are your options. Here are somethings to think about. Here are some alternatives. Here is a strategic wayforward. Here are some engineering solutions that you might want to apply now.You - meaning me and Scott - need to go think through this and make decisionson what it is you want to do and how you want to address this and what prioritythis falls in,' etc. etc."


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Contributing Writer

Jeremy Singer is a former journalist who specialized in stories about technology, including cybersecurity, medical devices, big data, drones, aerospace and defense. He now works as head of communications at Morse Corp, a company that creates  algorithm development, software development and system integration services to solve issues in the aerospace industry.