Fear grows that US military satellite communications are falling behind: Study

Fear grows that US military satellite communications are falling behind: Study

Learn Sgt. Mike Rosado assessments a multi-band satellite-communications-capable tactical radio employed for safe tactical communications close to Al Asad Air Foundation, Iraq. (U.S. Air Drive photo/Capt. Ken Hall)

WASHINGTON: Irrespective of rising far more dependable, military operators fret that Defense Department satellite communications (SATCOM) abilities are not retaining apace with either escalating desires or adversary issues, in accordance to a new examine.

The extensive greater part of respondents (eight out of 10) from across the services stated that improving US army SATCOM ought to be a higher priority, and a significant greater part (some 77%) pointed to the truth that innovative capabilities would be important to Joint All Area Command and Regulate (JADC2), the Federal government Organization Council’s “State of Navy Communications Technologies” research finds.

However, the study exhibits, only about a third believed that the Pentagon was moving rapidly sufficient to undertake business technology and streamlined acquisition rules to be equipped to make needed updates quickly.

The Federal government Enterprise Council is the analysis arm of Governing administration Government Media Team, and sponsored by business SATCOM company Viasat. This year’s variation of the poll was executed involving August 2021 and January 2022, and was centered on 312 responses from across DoD organizations and the providers, with the major enter from Air Power and Army personnel. The results were being published Might 10.

Similar: Survey suggests: MilCom networks are fragile, out-of-date

Maybe the most significant concern for operators is the belief that adversary SATCOM capabilities are outpacing people of the United States, the analyze notes. This perception persists even even though operators acknowledge that DoD programs have steadily turn out to be much more dependable.

“Year more than yr, the proportion of respondents that had experienced a communications blackout has decreased, especially from 2020 to 2021. From 2019 to 2020, there was a 1 percentage place (pp) decrease in reported communications disruptions, and from 2020 to 2021, there was a 12pp decrease, suggesting growth in communications reliability,” the study report points out.

Even so, the analyze suggests, practically a few-quarters (73%) of respondents in 2021 claimed US “defense conversation systems are on par or driving these of adversaries, a 13pp boost from from 2020. In addition, much more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) say they believe that near-peer adversaries will either match or surpass U.S. armed service communications abilities within just the upcoming five decades.”

Additional, the 2021 examine finds there stays widespread worry about the vulnerability of DoD SATCOM networks to cyber assault.

“40% of respondents sense their company is adequately organized for a cyber-attack on defense communications technological innovation/infrastructure. Whilst this may signal an advancement from 2020, when only 24% of respondents were being incredibly or exceptionally self-confident in their agency’s preparedness for a cyber-assault on defense communications, it is however regarding that nearly three in 10 respondents (28%) don’t imagine their agency is adequately prepared for this kind of a cyber-attack,” the research suggests.

Senior DoD, Space Drive and House Command officers in excess of the previous yr or so have foot-stomped their aid for on-ramping professional SATCOM technologies and business enterprise techniques. (For example, SPACECOM just very last thirty day period unveiled a new approach aimed at much more promptly ingesting commercial tech throughout the board, which includes SATCOM.) And in line with this, the Viasat review finds that “more than 50 % (55%)” of respondents “agree professional conversation abilities have the exact same or improved general performance when compared to DoD purpose-created answers.”

But at the exact time, only 33% of respondents claimed business communications adoption was “very (26%) or extremely (7%) possible to happen” within just the future calendar year. “Similarly, just 35% of respondents said their agency was using edge of new acquisition processes and mechanisms” these types of as Other Transaction Authorities and “as-a-assistance types to support update protection communications technologies,” the examine finds.

People outcomes mirror related and extended-standing issues by sector (echoed by numerous Army leaders) that the wheels of Pentagon forms straightforward are not moving quick enough to just take benefit of the rapid rate of commercial SATCOM, which significantly relies on program that can be routinely and swiftly current without the need of the significant prices connected with overhauling components.