New Report Asks: Could Your Phone Compromise National Security?

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., August 8, 2019 (Aerospace Corporation PR) – Imagine a world in which realtime Earth observations from satellites and related analytics are available globally on the handheld device of an average citizen.

This scenario is called the GEOINT Singularity, and, thanks to artificial intelligence analysis and large satellite constellations with a range of imaging capabilities, it is a possible future. A new report by The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS), The Future of Ubiquitous, Realtime Intelligence: A GEOINT Singularity, examines the ramifications of the GEOINT Singularity for the U.S. military. What would the availability of ubiquitous, realtime intelligence mean for the military operator and warfighter? 

“The opportunities presented by a GEOINT Singularity seem immense, but we need to consider what the availability of all of this information would mean for national security,” said Dr. Josef Koller, author of the CSPS report. “To date, the U.S. approach to commercial remote sensing has been to regulate and limit the imagery that can be taken from space, but we need a more sustainable answer to the possibility of such a singularity.”

U.S. remote sensing regulation only applies to the domestic commercial sector, meaning that the country cannot regulate increasingly savvy foreign entities. Given advancements in artificial intelligence, global connectivity, and satellite imagery, the report offers an approach focusing on denial, deception, and misinformation to help U.S. military actors maintain the element of surprise when operating in a future GEOINT Singularity environment.

“Traditionally, the national security community has attempted to shield information by limiting commercial space-based imaging through regulation,” said Dave Eccles, deputy director of CSPS. “However, that approach has ignored developments that are not under U.S. regulatory control — like foreign commercial imaging companies or advancements in foreign military capabilities. Military operators should be working now to mitigate the implications of the public having access to ubiquitous intelligence in realtime.”

To learn more, download the CSPS report at aerospace.org/paper/geoint-singularity-paper.

About the Center for Space Policy and Strategy

The Center for Space Policy and Strategy is dedicated to shaping the future by providing nonpartisan research and strategic analysis to decisionmakers. The Center is part of The Aerospace Corporation, a nonprofit organization that advises the government on complex space enterprise and systems engineering problems.

About The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation is a national nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center and has approximately 4,000 employees. With major locations in El Segundo, Calif., Albuquerque, N.M., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Washington, D.C., Aerospace addresses complex problems with agility, innovation, and objective technical leadership across the space enterprise and other areas of national significance. For more information, visit www.aerospace.org. Follow us on Twitter: @AerospaceCorp.