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Transforming Space Systems Operations

Space Agencies Tackle New Threats and Challenges

Agencies must modernize space operations to fulfill Department of Defense (DOD) goals. Some of the key elements include:

Space cyber defense is a top priority. “We can no longer assume we will be able to operate without competition or threat in space,” says Ron Bitten, who leads Booz Allen’s innovation for multiple space clients. And challenges go beyond near-peer adversaries: “A large number of other countries are also now spacefaring nations,” he explains. Adaptive cybersecurity for satellites on-orbit, the associated terrestrial segments as well as new concepts in developing space/counterspace technology is essential for space operations.

Data is the driver of modern warfare. The military role of satellites magnifies the importance of the space domain. A satellite communications backbone is critical to access, process, and correlate data to support JADO decision making and JADC2—and fulfill the U.S. goal of decision dominance. 

Modernizing space operations requires coordinated efforts. The U.S. Space Force, the leading provider of service-related combat capabilities to U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM), incorporates innovation from multiple organizations: Space Systems Command, the service’s main acquisition arm; the Space Rapid Capabilities Office (SpaceRCO), tasked with accelerated development; and other organizations such as DOD’s Space Development Agency. All are exploring commercial and non-traditional solutions as part of future architectures.

Focus on the Mission

“Everything the U.S. does in space revolves around the ability to command and control resources on orbit, to bring down the data in a usable format in a timely manner, and be able to interpret it and apply it to the mission objective,” says Ron. Booz Allen helps stakeholders develop initiatives that play an essential role in that framework. 

“We start by asking, what does the end-user need to do their job—that captain on the ops floor in the middle of the night, for example. Second, we identify the gaps in technology, and data access in particular, to perform the mission. And third, we focus on delivering an operationally relevant solution that closes that gap or improves data access, integration, and usability. Then we know we’re hitting a home run,” Ron explains. 

Our team applies a mission-focused, model-based systems engineering (MBSE) approach, and leverages modern technologies for the digital battlespace, integrating capabilities such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), advanced data and networking solutions, and advanced software development. 

Accelerating Decisions with Digital Innovation

“There are a number of mission-needs common across the combatant commands (COCOM) and services that potentially could be repurposed in support of multiple COCOM-specific needs. How do you connect the dots between the COCOMs with improved data sharing for situational awareness and decision making to support command and control (C2)? How do you evaluate the different threats, identify which high-value assets are threatened, and quickly identify the best mitigation response options while considering multiple geographic and functional COCOMs? And then can we quickly execute them and execute C2 efficiently and effectively?” asks Ron. To address those questions, Booz Allen applies analytics and digital tools to explore a myriad of hypothetical scenarios. 

Modeling and Simulation 

“For example, in one space security program, we’re creating a process to digitize space and counterspace command and control processes,” Ron adds. “That will lay the foundation for analysts to apply intelligence data to an operational problem, creating sophisticated simulations to choose a threat response.”

“This way, they can quickly run through very complicated planning processes and data integration to understand evolving threats, see what potential response options might look like, and make decisions from a campaign-planning perspective,” Ron says. This process helps leaders assess the best way to coordinate those response options and helps combatant commands rapidly evaluate the effectiveness of the ability to mitigate the threat. 

Prototyping

Threats are continually changing as competitor nations apply technological advances to continually probe defenses. Booz Allen is handling rapid prototyping of space and counterspace capabilities to respond to the joint force’s urgent and emerging operational needs. Our integrated expertise across engineeringdigital solutionsadvanced analytics, and cyber allows us to create a seamless product from design through operational delivery.  

Rapid Software Development

We’re providing rapid software development using open, resilient space data platforms that assist in integrating data across military and intelligence communities. We also understand the complexities inherent in processing classified data for varied access levels, with the associated data governance, cultural, and technical issues of interoperable networking. 

We integrate these vigorous DevSecOps frameworks to ensure that security is built in while development is accelerated, with processes tailored for each client’s need. As the nation’s largest cybersecurity provider, we understand the complexities of offensive and defensive cyber.

For example, we establish a digital thread as the single source of truth to provide custom tools that enable the Kobayashi Maru software factory to identify and overcome gaps, overlaps, and dependencies in mission applications for Space Command and Control.

Joint Operations

To enable combined space domain awareness, and further joint operations, we’re directly supporting the ability to perform near real-time operation with commercial and allied mission partners.

Transformed Processes

People and culture are critical to the mission. Providing efficient workforce processes, navigating cultural change, and leveraging existing technologies for the greatest efficiency is essential to create a lean approach. We’re working to help the Space Force rapidly shape its digital-first culture. 

Space and Counterspace Training

Along with the establishment of the new Space Force comes a need for training in new processes and procedures. Intelligence analysts come from diverse backgrounds: some from organizations such as U.S. Strategic Command and the former Air Force Major Command, Air Force Space Command; some from civilian backgrounds; and military operators who are new to the defense environment but are digital natives and therefore can easily adapt to new technologies.

With knowledge of previous Air Force space operations and a diverse team that creates applications for defense teams using immersive training options like augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality, we have the perspective to explore cost-effective training that can help operators learn anytime, anywhere.

Evolving Tech for the Evolving Mission

As space challenges continue to evolve, new technologies do too. We conduct tech scouting to spot emerging trends and enable partnerships with innovators across defense and industry. We’re here to help the digital-first Space Force leverage the newest ideas with speed and efficiency. 

Learn more about our space solutions – Explore now.

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