recommended reading

How the U.S. Is Vulnerable to Terrorism in Space

NASA

Space terrorism is a growing threat to U.S. national security, according to a new report.

And an attack on a U.S. satellite—or damage to one from another country's debris—could have astronomical effects on national security, says the report from the Council on Foreign Relations.

The U.S. is more reliant on space than any other nation to carry out critical national security functions, such as precision attacks on suspected terrorists and image analysis of nuclear-weapons programs, according to the report.

But countries like China, North Korea, and Iran are developing their military space capabilities, increasing the risk of a dangerous situation for the U.S, says the report.

For example, if one of these hostile countries acquires advanced space capabilities, they could feasibly attack a U.S. satellite to gain an upper hand in negotiations, hold off potential hostile acts, or as an act of defense, says Micah Zenko, the Douglas Dillon fellow in the Center for Preventive Action at the CFR and the report's author.

But, according to Zenko's report, terrorists take a back seat to another space threat: accidents.

Space is cluttered with trash, like old satellites and parts of rockets, making navigation very tricky. China's haphazard testing of its antisatellite weapons is making the mess worse, according to the report, and a random collision with Chinese debris could quickly escalate into an crisis between the U.S. and China.

Given the high stakes, the U.S. needs to make haste in developing its capabilities, both technical and political, to reduce the risk of an attack or collision, Zenko says, lest it risk ceding control of shaping global space policy.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.