Classified info complicates mission of satellite defense

Military Tech

MYSTERY WIRE — U.S. Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond knows what he needs, but he can’t tell you. Don’t take it personally — he can’t tell almost anyone else, either.

And that presents a problem for Raymond, who has been leading the brand-new U.S. Space Command for three months. Raymond is charged with overseeing military operations in space, and there’s so much classified information involved that it’s going to be difficult to hire contractors to build defense systems and weapons.

In a Monday conversation at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Raymond said:

One of my friends told me – all my old friends have all retired from the military and they’ve all told me, you don’t understand just how hard industry tries to understand what’s in your head. And I said, well, they don’t need to try; I’ll just tell them. I’ll tell them. I don’t want you to spend a dime trying to figure out what I’m thinking. I need you to help me – help us get to where we need to go. And so we have a concept of operations on how we’re going to operate. And I invited industry to come in and say, OK, we’re going to give it to you. The problem was, it was so classified that very few could come in. And so we’re working very hard to reduce the classification on issues that allow a – more conversation back and forth. I think if you look at the requirements going forward, it’s not – it’s not good enough just to be able to get a satellite in orbit and have an exquisite satellite that provides exquisite capability. You also have to be able to protect and defend it. And it has to be defendable. And so balancing that – the mission cost and being able to defend it are all things that we’re looking at in our requirements.

Gen. Jay Raymond, U.S. Space Command

Listen to the full conversation here.

In an interview with Defense One, Raymond described the advantages of streamlining some American space operations and his view that creating a “Space Force” advocated by President Donald Trump would build on that.

Satellite technology could be in for a revolution as Pentagon officials look for ways to defend the expensive investments. For enemies, satellites are sitting ducks. For communications and industry, they are critical components.

Raymond indicated that strategy is forming to achieve new defense systems. But challenges remain in the deploying technology that many companies don’t have clearance to know about.

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