The United States Department of Defense (DoD) wants to declassify more space programs in order to boost the nation's military edge in space.
As the world's superpowers continue to invest in the militarization of space, some leaders at the Pentagon believe it's time to declassify some of the secretive space programs in the United States' portfolio. To that end, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks recently approved a new policy that will reduce the classification level of some highly secret space programs and technologies.
The policies that have prohibited sharing this information are outdated and are holding back the U.S. when it comes to superiority in space, according to DoD Assistant Secretary for Space Policy John Plumb. "What the classification memo does, generally, is it overwrites — it really completely rewrites — a legacy document that had its roots 20 years ago, and it's just no longer applicable to the current environment that involves national security space," Plumb said last week, according to Breaking Defense.
The policy does not mean that these programs and technologies will now be fully unclassified and revealed to the public; instead, it will lower their classification levels in order to share some technologies and programs with private industry and international allies to help the U.S. build an "asymmetric advantage and force multiplier that neither China nor Russia could ever hope to match," Plumb said in a DoD statement.
The move would allow each branch of the U.S. armed services to decide their own classification levels, rather than spread a blanket DoD policy over all military space programs and technologies.
One of the key issues driving this policy change is the use of what are known as Special Access Programs (SAPs), security protocols that severely restrict the sharing of highly sensitive and classified information. Some of these SAPs are acknowledged, meaning their existence is known to the public but their details haven't been revealed. Others, however, are unacknowledged, meaning their mere existence is even a secret.
Plumb argued that the new policy will remove SAP status from some of the Pentagon's most valuable space programs, giving the U.S. military an edge in what the Department of Defense now considers the "most essential domain" in terms of national security.
"Anything we can bring from a SAP level to a Top Secret level for example, brings massive value to the warfighter, massive value to the department, and frankly, my hope is over time [it] will also allow us to share more information with allies and partners that they might not currently be able to share," Plumb said.
Some officials at the Pentagon have been calling for such a new classification policy for years, arguing that excessive classification has prevented advanced military capabilities from deterring attacks from adversaries, which is one of the main reasons they were created to begin with.
In a rare show of disclosure, the U.S. Space Force and National Reconnaissance Office revealed a set of general capabilities of the Silent Barker "watchdog" satellite launched by United Launch Alliance in September 2023.
Before the launch, NRO and Space Force officials told the public that Silent Barker was designed to keep an eye on satellites and spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit (GEO). The disclosure was designed to help deter attacks on U.S. satellites, Space Force Lt. General Michael Guetlein, commander of Space Systems Command, said at the time.
"Not only are we going to maintain custody and the ability to detect what's going on in GEO, but we'll have the indications and warnings to know there's something out of the normal occurring, and that goes a long way towards deterrence," Guetlein said.
The exact capabilities and specifications of many of the U.S. military's and intelligence community's satellites remain unknown.
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Brett is curious about emerging aerospace technologies, alternative launch concepts, military space developments and uncrewed aircraft systems. Brett's work has appeared on Scientific American, The War Zone, Popular Science, the History Channel, Science Discovery and more. Brett has English degrees from Clemson University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In his free time, Brett enjoys skywatching throughout the dark skies of the Appalachian mountains.
That is not smart.Reply
Nothing is being declassified such that it is available to the general public. They are lowering some classifications a notch so we can share information with allies, thus bolstering their forces, which helps protect us.Reply
Alfred Thayer Mahan, author of 'The Influence of Sea Power Upon History', said that far flung colonies and other military-civilian bases across the seas were, throughout history, the best backing homelands had for the defense of homelands. It translates to the high seas, the high frontier, the surface of outer space. Governments and militaries can't do it. They can't expand to space frontier on their own any more than they could expand across sea frontiers on their own. The cost of trying to do it, trying for expansion alone, becomes infinite! The U. S. government, among other governments, has already approached infinitizing the cost of any reach to outer space in playing keep away from the general population of the world in order to make space the impossible model for an impossible World Utopia.Reply
But what if nations that are not our allies get a hold of it??Reply
They shouldn't be able to. The declassification being described here is to lower levels of classification. They are still classified and not available outside of a need to know basis.yaduff said:But what if nations that are not our allies get a hold of it??
Okay, Thanks for clearing that up!;)Reply
Practically all of these companies are international now and operate globally throughout the world, including the deep states of our enemies . . . deep state to deep state information (data transfer) wormholes! The instant we have it, develop it, we've given it away (we've internetted (sic) it away (cyberspaced and cybercrimed it away)). The human element . . . well, the robotic element, too . . . has not a clue who it is working for.COLGeek said:They shouldn't be able to. The declassification being described here is to lower levels of classification. They are still classified and not available outside of a need to know basis.
We keep trying to fix that problem with secure networks but can't get around the problem of the multi-faces and personalities (the two-faced-ness forked-tongue speaking) of the multinational companies themselves. Classification?! What classifications?! They're open books! Only the honest of the homeland pay attention . . . and are the losers for their honor and honesty. A Civilization in "Decline and Fall".
Having spent more than a few years working with those companies, this is not necessarily true (definitely not in a general sense). It has happened with less sensitive data far more often than with more sensitive data.Atlan0001 said:Practically all of these companies are international now and operate globally throughout the world, including the deep states of our enemies . . . deep state to deep state information (data transfer) wormholes! The instant we have it, develop it, we've given it away (we've internetted (sic) it away (cyberspaced and cybercrimed it away)).
Where most of this happens is on the unclassified side of things.
Our own intelligence agencies practice breaking the system, and they break it . . . it breaks. That has been on the news quite a few times, the secure system being cracked open, even from within, and thieved from.COLGeek said:Having spent more than a few years working with those companies, this is not necessarily true (definitely not in a general sense). It has happened with less sensitive data far more often than with more sensitive data.
Where most of this happens is on the unclassified side of things.
There are many different levels of secure systems. Some more secure than others. Many completely inaccessible from external sources.Atlan0001 said:Our own intelligence agencies practice breaking the system, and they break it . . . it breaks. That has been on the news quite a few times, the secure system being cracked open, even from within, and thieved from.
What you are saying is true, but the context and extent are more nuanced than a general statement can cover.