DoD weapons testers to evaluate cybersecurity of GPS satellites, floor system and consumer tools

WASHINGTON — The Protection Division’s weapons testing workplace will assess the efficiency and cybersecurity of the U.S. World Positioning System as an “enterprise” that features the GPS constellation in orbit but additionally the bottom management system and the units used to obtain GPS knowledge.

DoD’s workplace of operational testing and analysis in its newest annual report launched Jan. 27 mentioned it plans to start a cyber evaluation of the GPS floor management system often called OCX in late 2022, adopted by the preliminary operational testing of the GPS enterprise in 2023.

Rising threats to U.S. house techniques “warrant an sufficient cyber evaluation of the GPS enterprise, to incorporate GPS autos previous to launch,” mentioned the report, written Nickolas Guertin, the Protection Division’s director of operational take a look at and analysis.

Tips on how to correctly take a look at GPS towards potential threats has been a long-time concern of the DoD testing workplace. DoD testers have identified in earlier experiences that the GPS satellites, the bottom management system and the consumer receivers must be examined as an built-in enterprise relatively than as separate parts. They famous that when army forces deploy in fight, they want all segments of GPS to carry out as an built-in system. 

The report mentioned the U.S. House Power’s GPS program workplace “continues to develop an area risk plan to adequately consider the survivability of all the GPS enterprise in a contested house surroundings that features kinetic engagements, cyber, electromagnetic spectrum fires, nuclear, and directed vitality weapons.”

The GPS constellation of 31 satellites orbits the Earth at an altitude of 20,000 kilometers and is operated by the U.S. House Power like a world utility, broadcasting positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) alerts which can be crucial to the each day functioning of the civilian economic system and important to each aspect of army operations. The newer GPS 3 satellites broadcast a stronger sign known as M-code, quick for army code.

Guertin within the report famous that “full management of modernized civil and M-code alerts and navigation warfare features, in addition to improved cybersecurity, proceed to be delayed as a result of ongoing growth and deployment delays of the subsequent era operational management system (OCX), together with delays within the fielding of M-code succesful receivers to be used by the U.S. and allied warfighters.”

Due to the complicated nature and variety of anti-satellite threats, DoD might want to put money into extra superior testing infrastructure, Guertin wrote. 

“Vital DoD house belongings are doubtlessly topic to a spread of adversarial assaults, together with directed vitality weapons, kinetic threats, cyberattacks, electromagnetic spectrum fires, and nuclear weapons. To adequately consider the survivability of U.S. house techniques towards such engagements and mitigate any recognized vulnerabilities, the Division requires house vary infrastructure, instrumentation, and excessive fidelity-threat surrogates.”

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