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Survey: DOD Personnel Say Future Fight to Require Space-Based Networking Capabilities

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A Viasat study has found that 77 percent of Department of Defense employees said they believe that space-based networks and commercial platforms are needed for future fight to meet mission and operational needs.

The Government Business Council surveyed 312 defense personnel from August 2021 to January 2022 for the annual study State of Military Communications and found that 68 percent of respondents said they believe near-peer adversaries will exceed or match U.S. military communications capabilities within five years.

According to the survey, only 19 percent said their organization was making investments in advanced satellite communications systems to support modern warfighter requirements.

The report showed that 73 percent of respondents think U.S. defense communication platforms are falling behind or on par with the technologies used by adversaries and 83 percent said they believe agencies should make enhancements to defense communications a top priority.

The respondents cited artificial intelligence, 5G and cloud computing as the top technologies needed to accelerate defense communications capabilities.

“Government is recognizing the need to modernize defense communications and the value of commercial capabilities,” said Craig Miller, president of Viasat Government Systems. “But cultural change is often more difficult than technological change. DoD personnel see adversaries closing the capabilities gap and know new approaches are needed if the U.S. is going to maintain an advantage.”

Nearly 60 percent of respondents noted that ramping up the use of commercial platforms is key to advancing the Joint All-Domain Command and Control and other joint warfighting initiatives.

“Multi-domain communications and data transport is not only vital to missions, but it will likely be a deciding factor in future conflicts,” noted Miller.

The study also found that 40 percent of DOD personnel said they think their agencies are adequately prepared in the event of a cyberattack on defense communications infrastructure.