Official designation of the space sector as one of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) designated “critical infrastructure” sectors is a “hot topic of conversation” at the agency, according to Tina Won Sherman, director of the Government Accountability Office (DHS). GAO) Homeland Security and Justice Team.
Over the past two decades, the DHS has had 16 critical infrastructure sectors for the US, including banking, information technology, energy, and other sectors.
Adding the space sector to that list has recently become a topic of discussion at both DHS and GAO, Sherman said at an Aug. 4 event organized by Nextgov.
“We know this is a hot topic,” Sherman said. “Efforts are being made in the department to look at whether or not that would be an extra, maybe 17th [critical infrastructure] sector,” she said.
The profile of the space sector has increased in recent years, as evidenced by the creation of the US Space Force in 2019 along with increasing reliance on satellite-based communications.
Late last year, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance — a trade group for intelligence and national security communities — argued in a new white paper that the federal government should classify United States space systems as critical infrastructure. INSA said that “space systems have become critical to US national and economic security, although space-related assets were not considered one of 16 designated critical infrastructure sectors” in 2013.