Pentagon Asks for $5.5 Billion to Outsource Protection of U.S. Satellites and their Networks

Thursday, April 16, 2015
(AP photo)

There is serious money to be made in outer space, where the Department of Defense is planning to spend billions of dollars with private industry to ensure the protection of government satellites and the computer systems that work with them.


Pentagon officials recently told members of Congress that they want to spend $5.5 billion by 2020 on ways to improve the security, presumably both physical and digital, of government satellites, which are primarily defense oriented. The money also will go towards shielding ground stations and computer networks that collect data provided by satellites.


“We’re going to have to find more clever, more resource-friendly ways to do what we used to do,” Doug Loverro, deputy assistant defense secretary for space policy, told Reuters. “And the commercial and international market provide that.”


The program is geared towards defending these systems from attacks by China and other countries, according to Reuters. “Those threats continue to mature and our adversaries are not sitting still—let me assure you—neither are we,” Loverro told lawmakers earlier this year.


The $5 billion expenditure represents a moneymaking opportunity for arms makers, non-traditional suppliers and international firms, Reuters’ Andrea Shalal reported. Longtime defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, as well as newer arrivals such as Space Explorations Technologies, or SpaceX, could benefit from the spending.


Loverro said the government is seeking new technologies for rocket launchers, communications, remote sensing, satellite control, sensors and other systems to expand the Pentagon’s ability to monitor space-related activities.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Officials: Space no Longer a Sanctuary; Sequester a Threat (by Tyrone C. Marshall Jr., Department of Defense)

Pentagon Officials See Business Opportunities in Space Sector (by Andrea Shalal, Reuters)

Military Clashes with U.S. Spies over Outsourcing of Satellite Surveillance (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Pentagon Awards $7.3 Billion Contracts for Outsourced Spy Imagery (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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