U.S. Space Force Planning to Hack Targets From Orbit

Two Guardians have been embedded with 16th Air Force, which 'focuses on information warfare in the modern age'


The U.S. Space Force is considering the possibility of using satellites to hack targets on Earth — and recently embedded two Guardians with the Air Force to explore the future of information warfare, according to a report.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, commander of Space Operations Command, revealed the developments during a Wednesday event held by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in Arlington, Va., Defense One reports.

“Today, U.S. Cyber Command has offensive cyber capability. And one of the things they think about is how to leverage offensive cyber, cyber for space purposes in the future," Whiting said.

"Who better to be thinking about that — and being the people executing that — than cyber Guardians?”

Whiting added that there was "still a lot of work to be done to figure out a timeline moving forward, but we're laying the groundwork for starting to figure that out with these first two exchange personnel.”

Lieutenant General Stephen N. Whiting
Space Force Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting (Courtesy of Space Operations Command)

The unidentified Guardians are working with the 16th Air Force, also known as Air Forces Cyber, which is headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, and "focuses on information warfare in the modern age," according to its website.

Whiting also said that the Space Force was looking into using satellites to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance for military ground operations, Air & Space Forces reported.

The U.S. already uses satellites for intelligence gathering but the information usually isn't available quickly enough for the armed forces, according to the site.

“If we look at the other services, which have been around a lot longer than the Space Force, all of them have tactical [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] capability that they retain or they present to a combatant command to execute missions on behalf of tactical warfighters,” Whiting said.

“So as we think about that for the Space Force, it’s no different in the Space Force than the other domains," he continued, "but we need to start by looking at what exists today.”

Start your day with the biggest stories and exclusive reporting from The Messenger Morning, our weekday newsletter.
By signing up, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use.
Sign Up.