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The Role of Space Systems in the U.S. Cybersecurity Strategy


The rising frequency and sophistication of cyber threats from state and non-state actors presents significant risk to U.S. national security and commerce. The National Cybersecurity Strategy, released by the Biden-Harris administration on March 2, 2023, builds upon themes outlined in its last iteration (2018), underscoring the importance of combating ransomware, highlighting the need for collaboration between the public and private sectors as well as across international borders, and doubling down on the importance of securing critical infrastructure.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was established to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. In addition to the 16 critical infrastructure sectors, CISA announced the formation of a Space Systems Critical Infrastructure Working Group (SSCIWG) in 2021, tasked with identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks to critical space systems and developing strategies to mitigate those risks. American space systems are crucial to the functioning of many critical infrastructure sectors, including communications, transportation, energy, and the Defense Industrial Base. The security of space systems must be a continued focus, and the unique requirements inherent in securing space systems require dedicated focus and expertise from both the public and private sectors.

Arete’s cyber advisory team, led by Dr. Bruce Hartley, has deep experience in assessing and securing space systems from the threat of cyberattacks. Members of this team have advised on launch, operations, and mission support for both unclassified and classified space systems in collaboration with the intelligence community, the Department of Defense, and commercial organizations. These experts leverage a comprehensive understanding of space system operations, mission profiles, and technology interfaces to perform targeted risk analysis, threat mitigation, and controls implementation, which help space systems withstand the evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Arete is committed to safeguarding sensitive data and systems, securing critical infrastructure, and maintaining the resilience of our nation’s cybersecurity posture. We look forward to the forthcoming implementation plan from the White House and anticipate seeing space systems security addressed as a key component of critical infrastructure.