The General of the Space Force Has Heard Your Jokes

The U.S. Space Force—the sixth military service branch, which turns two years old next month—provides resources to protect and defend America’s satellites from the likes of the Chinese and the Russians. Space Force members also operate the Global Positioning System satellite constellation, providing G.P.S. services, for free, to everyone on the planet. All extremely important stuff. Yet the Space Force is considered something of a joke—the subject of late-night gibes and Internet memes. Critics have derided it as a vanity project of President Trump, a campaign-rally applause line somehow made real. Last year, when Trump unveiled the Space Force logo, which bears a striking resemblance to “Star Trek” ’s Starfleet insignia, Twitter lit up. (“Ahem,” tweeted the original “Star Trek” cast member George Takei. “We are expecting some royalties from this . . .”) Also undercutting the serious nature of the service: the Netflix comedy series “Space Force,” which stars Steve Carell as the branch’s bullheaded leader.

If any of this bothers General John W. (Jay) Raymond, the inaugural head of the Space Force, he doesn’t let on. The memeification of the force? “To me, it means that there’s a lot of excitement about space,” he said recently, sitting in a meeting room in Columbia University’s International Affairs Building. The four-star general, who is based at the Pentagon, was visiting between rounds of the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge, a largely virtual competition in which thirty-two student teams from across the globe made policy recommendations in reaction to a hypothetical cyber-warfare scenario. (This one began with a breach made in “U.S. space sector ground stations’ systems,” an attack apparently undertaken by “Chinese state-sponsored actors.”) The event at Columbia, a partnership with a think tank called the Atlantic Council, was organized by the Digital and Cyber Group, which is run by graduate students at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

Raymond, who is fifty-nine, with a head shaved bald, pointed to a space-operations badge pinned to his jacket. He noted that the delta symbol at its center had been…


EU to Force IoT, Wireless Device Makers to Improve Security

The European Union is poised to place more demands on manufacturers to design greater security into their wireless and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

In an amendment to the EU’s 2014 Radio Equipment Directive (RED), the European Commission noted that as wireless devices, from mobile phones to fitness trackers to smart watches, become increasingly embedded into everyday consumer and business life, they also become a greater security risk.

The goal of the amendment – called a “delegated act” – is to ensure that all wireless devices are safe before they are sold in the EU. Manufacturers will be required to adhere to the new cybersecurity safeguards when designing and producing these products. In addition, the amendment also will ensure greater privacy of personal data, prevent financial fraud, and improve resilience in European communications networks, according to EU officials.

“Cyberthreats evolve fast,” Thierry Breton, commissioner for the Internal Market, said in a statement. “They are increasingly complex and adaptable. With the requirements we are introducing today, we will greatly improve the security of a broad range of products, and strengthen our resilience against cyberthreats, in line with our digital ambitions in Europe.”

The U.S. has made some strides on IoT security at the federal level; it remains to be seen if the EU initiative will spur the U.S. to greater action or result in a general improvement in device security.

Common EU Security Standards

It’s also part of a larger EU effort to create a comprehensive set of common cybersecurity standards for products and services that come into the European market, Breton said.

That said, it will take a while for the market to see the results of the amendment, which was announced in late October. It will need the approval of the European Council and European Parliament and then undergo a two-month period of review and scrutiny. Once in place, manufacturers will have 30 months to begin meeting the new legal requirements, giving them until mid-2024 to bring the devices into compliance.

The amendment addresses the ongoing concern about security at a time when the use of wireless devices and the IoT…


Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Directorate on boarded into the ISR and Cyber Effects Operations staff > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

Headquarters Air Force staff officially transferred the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) Superiority Directorate from strategy, integration and requirements directorate to the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and cyber effects operations directorate Oct. 1.

In conjunction with the directorate move, the EMS Superiority Directorate also absorbed the Air Force Spectrum Management Office (AFSMO) as its fourth division. This move consolidates Electromagnetic Spectrum Operation functions under a single staff – focused on Information Warfare integration efforts across the conflict continuum and is the latest milestone within the Air Force – streamlining oversight, policy and guidance to foster greater collaboration of efforts across various competitive and increasingly dynamic domains.

“It is vital that we leverage, defend and compete across the entire electromagnetic spectrum in order to deliver effects in and through the information environment now and into the future,” said Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, deputy chief of staff for ISR and cyber effects operations (A2/6).

Since its inception in 2019, current EMS Superiority Director, Brig. Gen. Tad Clark and his team have been working to ensure the Department of the Air Force is able to “maintain the advantage in the electromagnetic spectrum to stay one step ahead of the strategic competition and maintain freedom of action.”

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. highlighted their work during the Fall 2021 Air Force Association Air, Space and Cyber Conference stating, “I am glad to see the directorate developing the next generation of Airmen and making the changes needed to ensure dominance.”

The Department of Defense published an Electromagnetic Spectrum Strategy (EMSS) in 2020 providing direction and highlighting the importance of EMS superiority in future warfare. Subsequently, the Air Force published its own Electromagnetic Spectrum Superiority Strategy in Apr. 2021.

Following the establishment of the EMSS and the development of the electromagnetic spectrum implementation strategy, Air Combat Command stood up the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing in June of 2021 to implement EMS…


97th cyber warriors perform first MDT exercise > Altus Air Force Base > News


The 97th Communications Squadron used its recently built cyber-training range for their Mission Defense Team to participate in its first cyber defense exercise on Sept. 30, 2021. This exercise was in partnership with the U.S. Air National Guard’s 229th Cyberspace Operation Squadron from Vermont. The 229th COS runs a Multi-Application Practical Learning Environment Range, which runs the server for the exercise.   

The objective of the exercise was to detect and block unauthorized or malicious network traffic, while maintaining legitimate traffic and services on the network. Simulated attackers from the 229th COS MAPLE range provided accurate, simulated cyber threats. This was all made possible by the local finished range, which is comprised of five high-performance computer stations capable of running multiple cyber defense scripts at once. The range was built after nine months of waiting for equipment and parts to assist the MDT by providing a centralized location for proper team communication and cyber defense execution.

“At some point, we might get (cyber defense) tasking’s from our headquarters. If we don’t have mission-ready personnel on the base, the base would never really be able to get those taskings,” said Christopher McMall, 97th CS MDT special missions flight director. “This exercise is important for items like the KC-46 (Pegasus) if they have some kind of cyber threat coming against it. This also allows us to integrate into an actual comm exercise a little bit easier.”

Throughout the scheduled range time, members of the 229th COS members monitored the range and provided support to the participants. This training environment helps cyber operators develop some of the hands-on skills they will need as members of MDT and Cyber Protection Teams.

“To give a little background information on the 229th COS, our primary mission since 2003 has been training members of the Total Force,” said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Huntington, 229th COS cyber warfare operations flight chief. “Since our inception, we have offered several informational and cyberspace operations courses, many of which have been pre-requisites for…