The Defense Department’s office of the Inspector General has identified a series of significant security flaws in the supply chains associated with at least four ongoing military space programs the Pentagon has deemed critical to national defense. The audit, which set out to identify any potential threats in these four programs, found issues across each one of them.
The four programs investigated were the Space Based Infrared System, which scans for and identifies missile launches as an integral part of America’s missile defense apparatus, as well as less extensive reviews of the Air Force satellite control network, beyond-line-of-sight thermal sensors, and the global positioning system (GPS) satellites relied upon for navigation in both defense and civilian applications.
In a redacted report released late last week, auditors identified a series of issues in the Space Command’s supply chain practices, despite having established initiatives that aimed to do so. These initiatives, it seems, were discussed, but the Air Force failed to properly implement them into actual practice. The Inspector General’s report cites a number of failures, including failing to conduct an analysis of programs that identified critical components and their associated supplies so as to prevent any foreign infiltration, failing to conduct thorough threat analysis on suppliers, failing to source components only from trusted suppliers, and failing to thoroughly test and evaluate components to these ends. According to the report, these issues permeated throughout all four programs that were audited.
“As a result, 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,” the report reads.