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Remarks by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Department of Homeland Security Space Cybersecurity Symposium


Good morning, everyone!

Welcome to the Space Cybersecurity Symposium, it’s great to be here with you.

Thank you, Dianne, for that kind introduction.

I’d also like to thank our expert speakers in advance for taking the time to share your insights.  

We scheduled this event for October because it’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and a time to focus on addressing one of the defining challenges of our time.

This symposium is part of an event series organized by the Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security.

The first event took a broad look at the need for space cybersecurity and the high-level guidance in Space Policy Directive-5.

Building on that, today’s event will focus on cyber standards and how they apply to space systems.

Standards are an essential component of business, which is why the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, is part of the Commerce Department.

This morning you’ll be briefed on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, which provides a common language and process for organizations to communicate their IT security requirements and capabilities with each other.

The commercial space industry is a key driver of innovation.

It creates new markets and jobs, and with the recent success of three commercial space tourism flights, it also inspires Americans to pursue STEM careers.

Our Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that in 2018, the U.S. space economy accounted for $177.5 billion of gross output and about $109 billion of GDP, supporting more than 356,000 jobs.

Investment in space commerce is surging, with $5.7 billion in private equity invested in just the first quarter of 2021.

The number of commercial satellites placed in space is growing rapidly, from 140 satellites launched in 2012 to 1,283 launched in 2020.

As the economic value of space grows, so does the risk that malicious actors will seek to attack our space systems for financial or other reasons.

As discussed at the last symposium, cyber-attacks are one of the easiest ways to disrupt or manipulate satellites in space.

Which is why we encourage all space operators to manage their cyber risk posture by evaluating their systems with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

Designing systems with both cybersecurity and resilience in mind at the outset will allow us to respond and contain the effects of disruptions more quickly.

I know many of you are already working hard to protect space systems from cyberattacks, but there are still gaps we must address.

And the best way to do that is by making sure the cybersecurity standards are consistent across the government and the private sector.

We need to work together on this. Public-private partnership here is absolutely vital.

Over the next couple of hours, you’ll hear from experts about why standards are essential to ensuring safe and secure space operations.

The DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency will talk about the free cybersecurity tools and services they can offer your organization.

Our panelists will walk through the cybersecurity requirements for space acquisition and regulation.

 NIST will discuss how different standards fit into the cybersecurity framework.

And in the afternoon, we have an interactive demonstration where we’ll apply the cybersecurity framework to a hypothetical space company.

We hope you find these discussions informative, practical, and helpful.

Our outreach to industry will continue long after this symposium concludes, so please stay in touch with us at the Commerce Department.

We know how important it is to be able to innovate in a safe and secure ecosystem – and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Innovation − and the economic opportunities that come with it − is critical to our recovery from the pandemic, and vital to American space leadership in the 21st century.

I encourage you to reach out to us at the Department of Commerce, DHS CISA after this event to discuss how we can help you improve your cybersecurity.

The more we work together, the more resilient all of our systems will be.

Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the symposium!