The U.S. Space Force (USSF), a military service established in 2019 amid widespread recognition that Space is a national security imperative, said it will award a contract later this fiscal year for its Digital Bloodhound program to detect cyber threats.
Digital Bloodhound is focused on cyberattacks against ground facilities such as satellite command and control stations and is slotted in the Space Force’s Defense Cyber Operations–Space (DCO-S) program.
Requests for proposals are expected to be released in the third quarter of the year with a contract award expected the following quarter, according to Breaking Defense, a digital magazine on the strategy, politics and technology of defense.
Meeting Future Cyber Defense Demands
The Digital Bloodhound contract will be the basis for developing and deploying the USSF DCO-S tool suite for the foreseeable future, including the capacity to surge and meet future demands. Additionally, the contract will consist of ground system protection and space vehicle data link protection capability development,” a Space Systems Command (SSC) spokesperson told Breaking Defense.
These tools include the Manticore suite of software tools that identify cyber vulnerabilities and the Kraken software that throws up real-time cyber defenses against ongoing attacks.
The service is seeking $76 million in its fiscal 2024 budget request for the program, up from $28 million in FY23. In addition, the Space Force has asked for an additional $43 million in its FY24 “unfunded priorities” list to top up the DCO-S effort.
Concern Over Satellite Attacks
Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman recently told U.S. House defense appropriations members that the service has budgeted $700 million in fiscal 2024 to guard “networks associated with space operations.”
Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear told the audience at the Sea Air Space conference:
"Common mode failures can take out all your satellites from the ground systems, then you can’t proliferate your way out of that, so that’s a major concern. We have a lot of protections in place, and that’s something that we put a lot of resources on to make sure that we’re hardened against cyber threats.”
In an email to Breaking Defense, a spokesperson for SSC said that the command’s Space Domain and Combat Power Program Executive Office (SSC/SZ), led by Brig. Gen. Tim Sejba, was holding industry days this week in Colorado Springs to discuss plans with interested vendors.
SSC first asked industry for information about capabilities relevant to Digital Bloodhound in July 2022.