The unified combatant command overseeing the military’s joint operations in space is working to stand up a Joint Cyber Center, its commander told senators Tuesday.
U.S. military branches are directing resources to the cyber center, which will look to ensure the cybersecurity of satellites and space-based communications, said Gen. James Dickinson, the Army general in charge of Space Command. Dickinson said the center will be a critical part of the command’s mission and act as a central unit that can help it integrate with other cyber-focused commands, like U.S. Cyber Command.
“We are in competition each day, both in space and cyber,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on the fiscal 2022 defense budget request.
While the larger command is focused on space operations, it already has three general officers focused on cyberspace, Dickinson said. He repeatedly responded to questions about the security of satellite-based communications saying he has plenty of cyber capabilities to protect them but it is important to integrate operations across the military. The joint center will serve as a key part of that integration.
Dickinson said he has the support of Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command. The 16th Air Force — the Air Force’s cyber and information warfare center — is also assisting the center along with service members from the Navy and Marine Corps already stationed at the command.
Gen. Dickinson also said a critical part of defending space-based communications is building constellations of mesh networks that can ensure the resilience of the overall system in the event one part of the network is attacked.
“I have got the resources that I need right now and I am confident in our ability to protect,” he said.