The Global Positioning System is one of the signature technological successes of this generation. Google Maps, Uber and your smart phone couldn’t work without it. But GPS satellites don’t operate on autopilot. They must be monitored and managed continuously by Air Force personnel on the ground. In 2010, the Air Force awarded Raytheon the contract to develop the ground control segment for GPS III, a new generation of navigation satellites that would have greater accuracy, availability and resilience. The OCX contract, as it was called, included the most demanding cybersecurity requirements ever imposed on a space system. It took some time for Raytheon to figure out how those standards should be implemented, but the Air Force recently signaled that the company has succeeded in fashioning a very robust defense against cyber attacks. Raytheon’s OCX architecture is a breakthrough in cyber protection, both for the military and for the broader culture. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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