The new framework begins to address those concerns and helps ensure NRO-contracted commercial imagery providers are aware of -- and can plan for -- threats within a more congested and contested space environment. It also facilitates communication about potential threats between the government entities and commercial providers.
Overall, the framework defines the roles and responsibilities of NGA, NRO and USSPACECOM in three critical areas -- threat information sharing, anomaly investigation and response and collection strategies:
- Threat information sharing between the U.S. government and the commercial sector creates a better understanding of the space domain in general and the threats to collection assets specifically.
- Anomaly reporting, investigation and response are needed to inform appropriate and timely actions in the face of current and emerging threats.
- Commercial imagery collection strategies may need to be adjusted if threats require a change to commercial collection postures.
“This cornerstone agreement advances U.S. Space Command’s space domain awareness through additional, non-traditional sources of information,” said Mr. Victor Vigliotti, Chief of Commercial Integration Branch at U.S. Space Command. “The lessons learned from implementing this historic framework will enhance the U.S. government’s ability to bi-laterally share time-sensitive threat information with commercial providers, enabling the rapid dissemination of threat information across the commercial space enterprise.”
U.S. Space Command will lead threat information sharing with NRO-contracted commercial imagery providers and the NRO Operations Center for space events, counterspace attack and USSPACECOM warning problems. The command will also lead investigations into anomalies reported by commercial imagery providers, in coordination with NGA, NRO and other organizations as appropriate.
By delineating roles and responsibilities in these areas, NGA, NRO and USSPACECOM ensure their organizations effectively identify, assess and adapt to threats against commercial imagery collection. This framework also helps ensure NRO-contracted commercial imagery providers are properly informed of emergent and imminent threats to their space assets, enabling providers to make informed decisions to best support collection operations and benefit them in their support of U.S. government and non-governmental customers.
Over the next six months, NGA, NRO and USSPACECOM will jointly complete concepts of operations and standard operating procedures for implementing the framework and improving commercial satellite protection going forward.