This week the US Director of National Intelligence informed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are expected to continue their efforts to disrupt GPS signals along with other space assets.  His unclassified report included the following (emphasis added):

“Counterspace Weapons. The global threat of electronic warfare (EW) attacks against space systems will expand in the coming years in both number and types of weapons. Development will very likely focus on jamming capabilities against dedicated military satellite communications (SATCOM), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging satellites, and enhanced capabilities against Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), such as the US Global Positioning System (GPS). Blending of EW and cyber-attack capabilities will likely expand in pursuit of sophisticated means to deny and degrade information networks. Chinese researchers have discussed methods to enhance robust jamming capabilities with new systems to jam commonly used frequencies. Russia intends to modernize its EW forces and field a new generation of EW weapons by 2020. Iran and North Korea are also enhancing their abilities to disrupt military communications and navigation.”

We continue to assert that:

  • If something in space is really important, we need to have a non-space-based ability to do the same thing.  Think reconnaissance aircraft paired with imaging satellites,  terrestrial radio systems paired with communications satellites, and eLoran paired with GPS.
  • The best way to protect assets in space is to reduce their desirability as targets.  And the best way to do that is to have complementary capability on the ground.

Read the DNI’s full report.