DEL 6 commander on AI and cyberspace

  • Published
  • By Keefer Patterson
  • Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs

U.S. Space Force Col. Christopher A. Kennedy, Space Delta 6 - Space Access and Cyberspace Operations commander, recently participated in the Outer Space to Cyber Space luncheon panel at the 39th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs Tuesday.

The panel, consisting of members of the USSF and NASA, focused on the benefits and challenges associated with emerging technologies as they relate to space and cyberspace operations — key among them being artificial intelligence.

“What industry has done in terms of groundbreaking and how quickly it has implemented [AI] offers tremendous things for us to learn,” Kennedy said. “I’d like to see more focus on data and how it can allow us to run differentials against large datasets and reduce how long it takes to track down an issue. In the future, we’ll need more AI-based cyber defense efforts. But we’ll really need to get it right to set us up for that future.” 

In 2023, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall made it clear that the Air Force and Space Force are fully committed to developing and deploying AI as a key element in meeting security challenges. 

“The critical parameter on the battlefield is time,” Kendall said during a Dec. 2, 2023, Reagan National Defense Forum. “AI will be able to do much more complicated things much more accurately and much faster than human beings can… the difference in how long it takes a person to do something and how long it takes the AI to do something is the key difference.”

Investing in emerging technologies such as AI will broaden defense opportunities and expand the U.S. Space Force’s capabilities to build the 21st-century industrial base. However, this investment will require deeper involvement with commercial partners.

“While recognizing Congress’s direction that the military may not rely solely on commercial systems for certain operational requirements wherever possible, the USSF will leverage the use of commercial space solutions and integrate them into its architectures and force offerings to ensure the Joint Force maintains an advantage over strategic competitors,” according to the U.S. Space Force Commercial Space Strategy.

These deeper-rooted commercial partnerships will further leverage innovative capabilities, scalable productions and rapid technology refresh rates — strengthening the resilience of national security space infrastructure. 

“People generally want to come to work with us,” Kennedy said. “On the cyber defense side, I think we need to partner more on data engineering and data science.”

One of the main priorities for the DoD is the focus on how AI activities will aim to augment, not eliminate, human intelligence. There will always be human oversight.

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