Space Force’s ‘Digital Bloodhound’ project will detect cyber threats

The Space Force Delta 6 insignia. (Breaking Defense graphic; original Earth image via Getty)

WASHINGTON — The Space Force hopes to pick a developer next June for its nascent Digital Bloodhound program, aimed at improving detection of cyber threats against ground-based space systems, according to senior Space Systems Command officials.

Brig. General Tim Sjeba, director general of the SSC program for Space Domain Awareness and Combat Power (SSC/SZ), said on Thursday that the project reflects the fact that cyber defense is a requirement across the architecture. military space force, both in orbit and on the ground.

“If we want to protect and defend architecture, it can’t just be something we do against the threat from space. It has to be against the holistic threat of space and cyber,” he said at the Space Industry Days conference in Los Angeles.

For this reason, he added, “cyber operations and defensive capabilities” are part of the SSC/SZ portfolio “so that we truly protect and defend the entire mission and architecture against threats from both.” .

The two-day conference was co-sponsored by the Los Angeles branch of AFCEA, the Greater Los Angeles Division of the National Defense Industrial Association, the Aerospace Professional Representative of Southern California, and the Schriever Chapter of the ‘Air and Space Force.

Sjeba’s comments come a week after Space Operations Command chief Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting sounded the cybersecurity alarm, saying the Space Force did not have a clear enough picture of the threats it faces. confronted.

Speaking at this week’s conference, Col. Ed Byrne, Deputy SSC/SZ, said the Digital Bloodhound program “includes software development and hardware fielding to support national security critical ground systems.” A request for proposals (RFP) will be issued in January, he said, and a “single award” will be awarded under the One Acquisition for Single Integrated Services (OASIS) small business procurement vehicle operated by the US General Services Administration.

OASIS contracts “are a family of government-wide, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) multi-award contracts that provide flexible and innovative solutions for complex professional services,” according to the GSA website. .

SSC/SZ Cyber ​​Ops issued an Information Request for Digital Bloodhound on July 20. software “product lines”, as well as “the integration of new mission systems and data flows”.
“Work under the Digital Bloodhound project name will continue to expand Manticore’s capabilities and further develop Kraken for fielding,” Byrne explained. Manticore is a suite of software tools that identifies cyber vulnerabilities. Kraken software implements real-time cyber defenses against ongoing attacks.

Space Force has requested a total of $28.1 million in FY23 research, development, test and evaluation funds for a new budget program item called “Defense Cyber ​​Operations – Space (DCO -S)” which includes both Manticore and Kraken.

“Defensive Cyberspace Operations (DCO-S) provides defensive cyber capabilities that protect network enclaves of USSF mission systems, including their associated computer systems, software applications, and sensitive operational information from intrusion, corruption and/or or unauthorized destruction,” the budget justification explains.

“The program emphasizes cyberspace defensive capabilities, computer and network system security, damage assessment and recovery, cyber threat recognition, attribution and mitigation, and response methodologies active in response to evolving threats and changes in the cyber environment”. add the document.

The budget justification specifies that the Manticore and Kraken cyber defense tools are used by Space Delta 6 (Cyber ​​Ops) “to protect the following mission sets: protected communications, missile warning, military strategic communications (MILSATCOM), navigation and synchronization (PNT), Ballistic Missile Command and Control, Space Domain Awareness (SDA), Nuclear Command and Communications (NC3), and Satellite Operations Command and Control (C2 Sat Ops).

There is no specific request for Digital Bloodhound in the FY23 request, but the rationale document clearly states that SSC intends to continuously incorporate improvements to the Manticore and Kraken toolsets, as well as “d ‘increase systems engineering and accreditation support’.

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