Image: US Department of Defense

Blog Editor’s Note: An interesting interview by Steve Forbes with Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett. 

In the interview Secreatary Barrett discusses the importance of GPS and says, quite correctly:

“And I would put forward the GPS system as the system that has had a bigger impact in a shorter time on all of mankind than any other invention in mankind’s time. I mean, think of fire, or the wheel, or the printing press — what would compete with the GPS system that has been fully operational just 25 years and is used by so many people around the world with so few people managing it? It’s a remarkable reality of our time.”

Unfortunatley, when it comes to protecting GPS she confines herself to new, better satellites and the role of Space Force preventing attacks in space. 

Most analysts agree that (1) GPS signals, not the satellites, most in need of protection, and (2) providing a terrestrial alternate/backup capability will do more than any other measure to protect GPS signals and satellites by making them much less tempting targets. Why go after GPS if users will not be that affected?

The print version of the interview is really a short teaser. On the same web page you can listen to the entiere 52 minute interview.  BTW – if you don’t have a subscription to Forbes, you can visit their site and access content four times for free.

The Space Force: A Conversation With United States Secretary Of The Air Force Barbara Barrett

Steve Forbes (Posted week of 16 Nov 2020)

Almost a year ago, Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett oversaw the launch of a new branch of our military, the U.S. Space Force, the first new service since the creation of the Air Force itself in 1947.

In this sobering, eye-opening segment of What’s Ahead, Barrett persuasively explains the crucial need for a service totally focused on our needs in space. Like it or not, space has become a cockpit of power politics, a far cry from the peaceful area it was when we landed a man on the moon over 50 years ago. China and Russia have become aggressive. Beijing, for instance, used a missile to blow up one of its satellites to show what it could do to the thousands of satellites that now populate space. Barrett describes two hair-raising, space-based incidents that occurred with Russia.

We are vulnerable. For example, the U.S. and the global economy are totally dependent on satellites, most especially the GPS, which is operated by the Space Force.