Designating Space Systems as New U.S. Critical Infrastructure Sector

Designating Space Systems as New U.S. Critical Infrastructure Sector

Designating Space Systems as New U.S. Critical Infrastructure Sector

ARLINGTON, VA (Nov. 2, 2021)—In a white paper released today, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) calls for the formal designation of U.S. space systems as a new sector of U.S. critical infrastructure.

Developed by INSA’s Cyber Council, the paper, Designating the U.S. Space Sector as Critical Infrastructure, notes that space systems have become vital to U.S. national and economic security even though space-related assets were not considered as one of 16 critical infrastructure sectors designated by the 2013 Presidential Policy Directive on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (PPD-21). Space assets are now integrated into almost all essential sectors and functions, including defense, agriculture, transportation, energy, and telecommunications. Designating the space sector as critical infrastructure, the paper asserts, would enhance the resiliency of space-related assets and thereby make these other critical infrastructure sectors more secure.

“Space-related capabilities have become essential to both national security and economic security, yet countries like Russia and China – which have advanced offensive cyber capabilities and anti-satellite weapons – have the potential to take them offline,” said Larry Hanauer, INSA’s Vice President for Policy. “Designating the space sector as part of the nation’s critical infrastructure would make it easier for government organizations, the military, and commercial space companies to share information on threats and vulnerabilities and thereby enhance the space sector’s resilience.”

The space sector includes mission control, launch facilities, more than 3,300 satellites currently in orbit, and a wide range of companies and universities engaged in advanced research & development and technology deployment.  Some experts predict the value of the space industry will reach almost $1.5 trillion by end of 2030.

The paper finds that designating the space sector as the United States’ 17th critical infrastructure sector would clarify government agencies’ roles and responsibilities in protecting space infrastructure, make clear to U.S. adversaries that the United States is committed to defending its space infrastructure, contribute to the establishment of global norms regarding the safety and security of space systems, and accelerate development of best practices and technologies for ensuring cybersecurity and resilience of space assets.

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Peggy O'Connor

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