WASHINGTON – A new House bill would classify the space as critical infrastructure and require the federal government to set guidelines to protect it.
The Space Infrastructure Act, which will be introduced on June 4 by Representatives Ted Lieu (California) and Ken Calvert (California), would add space systems to the 16 sectors currently classified as critical infrastructure by the Department of Homeland Security. The bill would direct the department and other agencies to develop guidelines on how to protect it.
According to the bill, space infrastructure would include spacecraft and launch vehicles, space-related ground systems and launch infrastructures, related production facilities, and information technology systems.
“Space is infrastructure,” Lieu said in a statement, citing its role in providing communications and navigation services. “As a result, we need to make sure we protect these critical systems by directing the right minds and resources toward them.”
“U.S. assets in space play a vital role in our economic and national security,” Calvert said in the statement. “Therefore, officially designating the space as a critical infrastructure sector is a logical step and I am proud to work with Representative Lieu on this bill.”
The Department of Homeland Security lists 16 critical infrastructure sectors, from the chemical industries to health and financial services. Critical infrastructure is defined as, if damaged or destroyed in any way, “would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national health or public safety, or any combination thereof,” according to the Security and Cybersecurity Agency.
The space, in many cases, lies between the gaps in these sectors. The transportation sector includes aviation but not space. However, communications mention satellites among other systems, and the critical manufacturing sector includes the manufacture of aerospace products and parts.
The lack of a formal identification of space as a critical infrastructure arose in last year’s discussions on Space Policy Directive 5, which set out cybersecurity best practices for space systems. The space received special attention on cybersecurity, said then those responsible for the administration, because the space, although not considered a critical infrastructure, supports several more.
Lieu said the recent series of cybersecurity incidents, such as ransomware attacks, was another reason to classify the space as critical infrastructure. “Rep. Calvert and I know firsthand how important it is to step up efforts to secure space-based assets,” he said. The two co-chair the California Aerospace Caucus in the house. “All recent piracy incidents underscore that we need to think ahead about how to safeguard critical infrastructure. “