Pentagon research leader says U.S. military forces cannot rely on commercial satellite communications alone

Dec. 20, 2019
Skepticism about the viability of commercial SATCOM for global broadband and Internet services is at odds with enthusiasm at the Air Force and the Army.

WASHINGTON – Communications satellite constellations such as those being launched by SpaceX, OneWeb, Telesat, and Amazon, haven’t proven they can make money so the U.S. military needs to build its own low Earth orbit (LEO) network, says DoD Research & Engineering czar Mike Griffin. Breaking Defense reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

20 Dec. 2019 -- This puts Griffin somewhat at odds with the Air Force and Army, which are going full steam ahead to try to leverage the new LEO satellite communications (SATCOM) systems.

But Griffin says the business case for commercial broadband and Internet mega-constellations in LEO “is a tough one to close. I won’t say that it is permanently un-closable … but it is a tough business case.”

This means there is a need for “a national security communications substructure to any future architecture that we might either buy ourselves or rent from other people ... The national security community has an absolute need for guaranteed communications. It has to be guaranteed in wartime. …It has to be guaranteed in a harsh environment, manmade and natural. It has to be, to the extent we can do so, secure.”

Related: Air Force to capitalize on growing commercial satellite communications infrastructure for tactical internet

Related: Air Force moves forward with path-agnostic communications using space internet for high-speed decision-making

Related: Current military operations may slow SATCOM development

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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