The Office of the National Cyber Director (ONCD) and the National Space Council convened government and industry leaders this week to discuss bolstering cybersecurity in the space systems ecosystem, and the White House tasked several Federal agencies with new marching orders to start pushing toward that goal.

According to a March 28 press release, the Space Forum was designed to facilitate robust discussion at the executive level and drive action to motivate critical cybersecurity investments across the U.S. space industry.

Public and private sector space actors – including stakeholders representing the diversity of the space ecosystem – must work together to proactively address cybersecurity challenges, the White House said.

As part of the new to-do list, Federal agencies will oversee several actions to bolster cybersecurity in the space industry:

  • ONCD will convene workshops to understand industry perspectives on current policy for cybersecurity of space systems, and gaps requiring more specific guidance and tangible next steps that the White House could build upon;
  • The Department of Commerce will hold a Space Cybersecurity Symposium with participation from a broad range of public and private space and cybersecurity stakeholders; and
  • This fiscal year, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will finalize its report, “Introduction to Cybersecurity for Commercial Satellite Operations,” providing a method for applying the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to commercial space activities and a set of cybersecurity outcomes, requirements, and suggested controls.

Top Federal cyber leaders from NASA, the National Security Council, the U.S. Space Force, and many other agencies met with ONCD’s Acting Director Kemba Walden and the National Space Council’ Executive Secretary Chirag Parikh on March 28 for a cyber threat briefing and a roundtable discussion on cybersecurity.

According to the White House, the Federal officials emphasized the need to partner closely with the private sector to ensure the resiliency of the U.S. space ecosystem against cyber threats.

Industry participants included reps from satellite communications, launch, imagery, cloud and data, cross-functional defense systems and services, and venture capital elements of the space industry.

“All participants emphasized the importance and urgency of executive-level attention on shoring up the resilience of U.S. space systems through increased investments in cybersecurity,” the White House said.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.