Air Force Space Command has been trusting but not verifying contractors’ claims about the safety of parts for important space systems, putting those systems in danger of being compromised by U.S. adversaries, according to a Pentagon inspector general report published Tuesday.
The report centered on the Space Based Infrared System, a group of satellites set up to warn of approaching missiles. The report also found possibilities of compromise in the Global Position System as well as two satellite command and communications systems.
“An adversary has opportunity to infiltrate the Air Force Space Command supply chain and sabotage, maliciously introduce an unwanted function, or otherwise compromise the design or integrity of the critical hardware, software, and firmware,” according to the report.
The Air Force was “unable to provide by name and nationality the developers involved with SBIRS critical software, firmware, or chip design,” according to the report.
Members of Congress could use the report’s findings of inadequate safeguards as a reason to “press harder” for an independent Space Force, reported Breaking Defense. President Donald Trump first floated the idea of Space Force as a sixth, separate branch of the military in March. (RELATED: Majority Of Americans Say It’s ‘Essential’ For US To Be World Space Exploration Leader: Survey)
The report is the second of four that the Pentagon inspector general will publish because of a requirement in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017. The Government Accountability Office had been warning that the Pentagon was relying on contractors’ assessments rather than independent verification of systems parts, reported Roll Call.
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