In my first blog post, I noted that at the recent DoD Commercial SATCOM Workshop panel sessions, top military leaders discussed how Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AISR) and protected SATCOM require new approaches. In this second post I will now focus on Protected SATCOM and how ongoing government/industry partnership, risk sharing and shared investments can deliver the benefits of assured access for mission success.
The satellite environment in which we collectively operate is far from benign. Space is a warfighting domain. There is a common response: resilience, speed and agility. Again, the DoD Commercial SATCOM Workshop’s panelists called for less government-based stovepipes and more industry collaboration here, acknowledging how COMSATCOM effectively meets requirements for protected SATCOM.
Today’s adversaries are able to jam satellites or shoot them down with ground-launched missiles, building urgency for optimal resilience in space, through diversity, distribution and protection. In addressing this, given the unique, geographically based military challenges of the modern age – users seek Protected Tactical Waveforms (PTW). Private industry continues to invest in new innovative capabilities built to augment MILSATCOM with broader protection and more anti-jam (A/J) resistance.
Inmarsat systems are designed to support highly mobile users. That is why the Global Xpress spot beam architecture allows for superior jam resistance, as spot beams can be directed to respond to a jamming, denial of service environment or to expand capacity in surge spots. For example, Global Xpress military Ka-band affords the largest swath of bandwidth (greater than WGS and other commercial satellite systems) channels in which to spread the variety of PTWs. Successfully tested over-the-air on the Global Xpress network, it delivers broader protection and more A/J resistance, enhancing diversity, resiliency and protection.
For Inmarsat, resilience, redundancy and reliability are paramount. We build cybersecurity into our end-to-end robust systems – from the satellites to the ground segment, to the terrestrial fiber, which connects the different ground segments. We continue to invest ahead of the need with technology advancements, enhanced capabilities and encryption, and users benefit from continuous system advancements.
As panelists noted, all of this ultimately comes down to assured access. “Assured,” meaning that there is never any doubt about anywhere/anytime availability, maximum capabilities, absolute flexibility, industry-leading security and unquestioned resiliency. The technology exists today. And we are constantly innovating to make it better. Through our ongoing partnership and collaboration with government leaders, risk sharing and shared investments, we can keep foremost in mind that the mission is everything, and the ultimate measure is mission success.
About the author
Rebecca M. Cowen-Hirsch is Inmarsat Senior Vice President for Government Strategy and Policy in the United States Government (USG) Business Unit, based in Washington. Ms. Cowen-Hirsch brings 25 years of defense, aerospace, and executive leadership experience to Inmarsat. As a decorated member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) in the U.S. Department of Defense, she served as the Program Executive Officer for SATCOM, Teleport and Services at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and in several key SES executive positions including the first Vice Component Acquisition Executive for DISA, with executive management responsibility for the acquisition oversight and horizontal integration of DISA’s products, services, and programs. Ms Cowen-Hirsch established the Defense Spectrum Office, serving as its first Director where her responsibilities included the development of national security spectrum strategic plans and policy, and national and international negotiation of defense spectrum issues. Her broad defense career ranged from systems engineering, experimental flight test, program management, spectrum management, and a wide range of executive leadership positions. Ms. Cowen-Hirsch was a rated experimental flight test engineer; was the first female civilian Mission Commander for the Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft (ARIA) mission, and was the recipient of an Exemplary Service Medal for her years of selfless service to the Department of Defense. Ms Cowen-Hirsch has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, conducted post-graduate studies in Engineering Management, and is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Space Institute Experimental Flight Test Program; the DoD’s Acquisition Management Program; and the Cambridge Senior Executive Leadership Program.