Episode 16: 21st Century Security - Ensuring Protection and Prosperity

Season Two | Episode 16 

21st Century Security: Ensuring Protection and Prosperity

As humankind pioneers a future “off Earth,” how are we approaching the challenges–and the exciting new possibilities of this new space age–to ensure protection and prosperity for all? 

Thank you to our guest on this episode of Lockheed Martin Space Makers for his time and expertise:

Michelle Waychoff from Lockheed Martin

Episode Notes

To dig deeper into some of the topics referenced in today’s episode, please follow these links:

Mastering the Connected Battlespace

From Discovery to Defense: How Space is Unlocking the Power of the Digital Thread

Smart and Fast: Embracing Risk to Advance National Security

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Host: Welcome to Lockheed Martin Space Makers, the podcast that takes you out of this world for an inside look at some of our most challenging and innovative missions. My name is Ben, and I'll be your host.

[00:00:14] In season two, we explore Lockheed Martin's bold new vision of a future we call "Space 2050." We partnered with our Advanced Technology Center to bring you an inside look at the innovations and technologies we are developing to make that future a reality. Because getting there is just the beginning.

[00:00:35] Ships patrolling the seas, battalions headquartered on the ground, squadrons of bombers, constellations of satellites, and cybersecurity measures -- are some of the many diverse elements of the 21st-century battlespace being connected and defended. Lockheed Martin is working hard to keep us safe today and secure from the threats of tomorrow. My colleague Natalya Oleksik takes a closer look.

[00:00:58] Natalya: I'm sitting here today with Michelle Waychoff to talk about the future of the new battle space. Michelle, thank you so much for joining us.

[00:01:05] Michelle Waychoff: Hi there. My name is Michelle Waychoff and I am the customer engagement lead for the mission solutions line of business within Lockheed Martin Space.

[00:01:14] Natalya: In what you do, Michelle, you touch all aspects of space in so many ways, but one of the, the critical things that you work on with your team is imagining the future for defense and security in space. What are some of the key challenges that are posed by putting all of that up in space?

[00:01:31] Michelle Waychoff: Oh, that's a fantastic question. It's actually a really difficult. I think space systems are currently still very dependent upon the direction from the ground to do their mission in normal times, let alone a period of conflict. I think that modern warfare systems are really going to depend on a communications infrastructure that's going to be able to perform optimally despite the environment so that all the decision makers, no matter where they're located are going to be able to make those decisions.

[00:02:00] I also think logistics is going to be an enormous challenge. If you think about fueling, for example, space based assets and how we're going to get that fuel and energy to those space based assets to maintain them. So fuel is just one aspect, but then what if you have a space based asset that breaks down, how can you quickly repair it? So I think the logistics of having space based assets is going to become more and more challenging as we go towards the future.

[00:02:31] As the demand increases for those resources, the supply will also naturally increase. When you're dealing with space, you're in a completely different atmosphere. When you're in an Earth based warfare environment, you're dealing with the ocean or the sea water, or you're dealing with land and roadblocks, if you will. So what kind of roadblocks are we going to encounter when we're trying to get resources into space and support that avenue of warfare?

[00:03:00] We're already seeing an increase on being able to physically get items out into space. I think that's going to continue to grow, but we're also dealing with space debris. So how is that going to impact the logistics of space based assets? How is that going to get in the way? Is that going to be like trying to go over a mountain to deliver something? If you compare it to the mountains of Afghanistan, trying to get supplies throughout Afghanistan and dealing with the terrain there. What is the terrain of space going to look like? I think it's going to be rather interesting.

[00:03:31] Natalya: Are there people working on that problem already?

[00:03:33] Michelle Waychoff: There are. You can look in the news any day and see all kinds of innovative ideas that are coming out from all types of companies on how we can get things into space faster and more quickly and how can we get after this space debris challenge, which I think is going to become more and more of a problem as we go into the future.

[00:03:51] Natalya: Tell us a little bit about that challenge. Why is that one of the first things you've mentioned to us today?

[00:03:55] Michelle Waychoff: Space debris. So if you think about space debris, if something is destroyed in space, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and that becomes, if you will, garbage in space, that garbage doesn't care, whether or not it has a US satellite next to it or an adversary satellite next to it. That debris is going to go wherever that debris is going to go. So how do we, not only we, but our adversaries account for that as we're trying to protect our assets and move things around in space.

[00:04:26] Natalya: When you talk about this, we are assuming that space will be not just crowded, but also conflicted. And in order to be conflicted, historically, there needs to be a defined high ground, there needs to be a defined objective. How do you approach that in space when you don't even really know what that might look like?

[00:04:47] Michelle Waychoff: It's going to be a challenge. A group of us got together and we're talking about this very problem. And you think about how do conflicts on Earth occur and why do they occur? And if you look at the conflicts that currently exist and have existed over history, a good portion of them had to do with control of resources, whether those resources are water, land, money, whatever those resources may be.

[00:05:11] I think it's pretty obvious that there's some valuable resources out in space, whether those resources are on asteroids, on the moon, on Mars. As we move into the future, and we're trying to protect the resources here on Earth, everyone is fighting to find a way to access the resources that are beyond Earth. So as they're trying to access those resources, I think we are going to see some natural conflict over who's going to control those resources.

[00:05:43] So how is that going to be managed? I think as creatures of habit, we are going to have to, as a community, as a space community, take a really hard look at treaties, space treaties and establishing a way to manage how folks are going to access resources in space. We have NATO in the world today. So I envision that we're going to move in a direction where we have something similar to that, but for space.

[00:06:14] Natalya: It's interesting, you mentioned all this at the beginning of your interview. This is how we left our interview with Eric Brown. And already in motion, are huge efforts to put new treaties in place, new expectations globally that will deescalate conflict and make space manageable. Let's talk about when that doesn't happen. How do Lockheed Martin technologies and how do our allies technologies stack up against our adversaries in addressing these challenges of maintaining the high ground in space?

[00:06:47] Michelle Waychoff: I think that capabilities regardless whether or not they're Lockheed Martin or if they're another industry or another adversary, no matter who they're coming from, they're advancing on every single front for everyone in ways that we can't even anticipate. The current and projected challenges from our adversaries, definitely present a really tall order, but it's one that's a key focus for not only our organization, but organizations like the Space Force and the US Space Command. And, of course, our company, I think we have a challenge, but I think that we as a democratic society are up for that challenge.

[00:07:25] Natalya: Can you talk to us a little bit about the advancements we've made for space based defense things from remote sensing to NGI and artificial intelligence and how those enable our efforts?

[00:07:37] Michelle Waychoff: Yeah. I'd like to start off by mentioning that our advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning is really going to be valuable and key as we move forward in this race to space, if you will. We're using and developing ways right now to use AI/ML to improve both detection and sense making and to rapidly build pictures of patterns of behavior and future steps. I think that's going to be a huge advocate, something that Lockheed Martin is working really hard on. I think our use of fusion and big data analytic techniques to maintain a complete situational awareness picture is going to be huge. We're working on some pretty heavy efforts right now on how to paint that battle space for the Space Force and help them get after that problem.

[00:08:25] And then you mentioned remote sensing. I think we've done a fantastic job at expanding our sensing capabilities across all the spectrums. And as we advance forward, I really do think that we're going to need to look across spectrums and make sure we're addressing all the sensing capabilities across all of them.

[00:08:41] Natalya: Everything that you just mentioned brings up the question of security. How do we keep the information that we gather in space and disseminate for our fighting forces secure?

[00:08:51] Michelle Waychoff: A couple things. I think zero trust type security architectures are going to be critically important to protecting that data. I know Lockheed Martin is working heavily on cyber protections on data and systems, and we are infusing cyber capabilities right from the very start of the development of system all the way down to the chip level, ensuring that we've got protections in place so that we can secure that information.

[00:09:15] And I'll be honest. I really think that if we go into a space based warfare, it's not going to necessarily be as much of a kinetic type warfare as it is going to be non-kinetic. And that non-kinetic warfare is going to come based on all of that data that's either accessible or not accessible and what people do with that data.

[00:09:34] Natalya: From my role here and for all of our listeners, can you explain a little bit more about non-kinetic warfare, just a little lesson in that for us, if you don't mind?

[00:09:43] Michelle Waychoff: Sure. From a war fighter perspective, I will say when you're talking about kinetic warfare, we like to refer to it as missile on target, if you will. That is where you are physically destroying something. Non-kinetic warfare is warfare that you can't necessarily see so easily. So it's the disruption of information, it's the disruption of data architectures, it is cyber breaches. So you feel them and you affect them, but you're not necessarily physically destroying anything. We've seen how some of our adversaries have affected oil lines and banking infrastructures. You can go to CNN and you can find stories about adversaries, non-actors and even I'll say kids, so somebody who isn't necessarily representing anyone hacking into electrical infrastructure. So we're seeing it every day in the news. And I definitely think that's the direction when we talk about space based warfare. I think that's what we're talking about here.

[00:10:43] Natalya: It'll just be a scaled up version of that?

[00:10:45] Michelle Waychoff: Yes, absolutely.

[00:10:46] Natalya: And so talking, speaking about scaling up, let's talk about JADO for a minute, Joint All-Domain Operations. Can you tell us a little bit more about JADO, what that means for the future of space, what that means for the future of contested space, and then that loops right back to? It sounds like this means an even more connected space, and how does that make us even more vulnerable to these types of non-kinetic attack?

[00:11:12] Michelle Waychoff: Joint All-Domain Operations has become a tricky term for everyone. Everyone says, what exactly does that mean? And so, I've done quite a bit of research and discussions with lots of folks about how to have a JADO architecture. And it really is getting the right data at the right time to the right people that need it. To me that's what JADO is. And so that takes a lot of things. You need to have interconnected space assets, you need to make sure that those space assets are talking to the correct ground assets, you need to make sure the war fighter on the battlefield is quickly getting the information they need just as fast and just as accurate as the president of the United States is getting information as he sits at the White House in Washington DC. So how do we make that happen? And Joint All-Domain Operations and our efforts there are really getting after that.

[00:12:01] And I have to applaud the Space Defense Agency. You can see in the news that they're doing quite a bit there. Their SDA transport layer is a recent example of how we are trying to establish and maintain that connectivity.

[00:12:14] Natalya: So you're talking about the right data at the right time to the right people, and that is Joint All-Domain Operations, something that we here at Lockheed Martin are working intellectually and with our innovations and technology to put forward into this world. But isn't JADO still only as strong as the security around the information itself? And is that an area of concern or do we feel like we're developing technologies quickly enough? Like you had mentioned that will truly ensure security of something like this.

[00:12:46] Michelle Waychoff: I know that as we are developing systems, we are taking into consideration that there will be non-actors trying to access those systems once we get them online. So that is a consideration that is taken in the development of every single system or as we develop solutions that will integrate multiple systems to a JADO architecture. So I do believe we're getting after that. And I do agree with your statement that the architecture is only as good as the protection of that architecture.

[00:13:19] One of the things that I know is really important, and we, this is getting after the resiliency pillar, if you will, of a space architecture. So there's multiple ways that you can instill that resiliency. You can instill protections like we were talking about cyber based protections, but you can also design an architecture so that if one asset is removed, there's a replacement asset in place to still route that information. I think we're taking a really close look at that and trying to help several agencies address how we're going to get after that resiliency.

[00:13:54] Natalya: So good old fashioned redundancy. Is that correct?

[00:13:56] Michelle Waychoff: That's correct. Yeah.

[00:13:57] Natalya: So we've been talking about JADO, but what about the element of surprise historically in warfare that has been one of the most disruptive things that's been employed to great advantage by adversaries? Is that something that we are concerned about here at Lockheed?

[00:14:09] Michelle Waychoff: Oh, I definitely think it's something that's at the top of our mind as we're developing things. And Lockheed Martin is developing systems that are built specifically for rapid adaptation, standard buses like the LM 400 is one example of how we're helping that. Standardizing the buses definitely makes it easier to replace something quickly. Model-based systems engineering and digital twins are helping us accelerate the development of new capabilities and new ways of making use of our existing capabilities.

[00:14:39] And I'll say probably the most important thing that Lockheed Martin is doing is making sure we have a talented workforce. You know, you talked about the human element in the beginning and bringing the human element to things. And I think the way that we are going to get after the, these threats by our adversaries is having a talented workforce and ensuring that they have an environment where they are empowered for their creativity, they are empowered to have a growth mindset and they're not afraid to implement digital transformation into all of their ideas. And I think that's critical to us doing this.

[00:15:16] Natalya: You yourself have experience in the battlefield. And can you tell us, first of all, a little bit about your background there? And I have a few questions about how that would compare to the future warrior.

[00:15:27] Michelle Waychoff: Sure, absolutely. I retired from the Army as a First Sergeant in October of 2018. And while I was in the Army, I was a member, most of my time spent as a member of United States Space and Missile Defense Command, which is one of the Army's only space organizations. And so I'm one of the few US Army space soldiers. So that's my space background. And during my time, I had the opportunity to have two tours in the Middle East. And the most recent being in 2016, I supported the first space brigade in Iraq. Definitely have had experiences being that war fighter on the ground, utilizing the technology that we here at Lockheed Martin, as well as other companies are developing and have developed.

[00:16:13] Natalya: And from that experience, can you give us a sense of what you would envision for boots on the ground to look like in the future? We know Space Force has taken on a new and outsized role in the future, even though it is the newest and currently smallest branch of our services, but just can you tell us a little bit about what they might be looking at for challenges and what their roles will look like in the future?

[00:16:35] Michelle Waychoff: Yeah. So we talked a little bit earlier about access to data. And I think the technology that is going to give war fighters the access to that data is so crucial and important as we continue to protect our interests here on Earth and as we move forward to protect our interests in space. I can tell you from my experience, I really struggled and my soldiers struggled with utilizing the equipment that we were provided and the technology that we were provided in a wartime environment. And so how do you get after that? And I think that the Space Force is doing a fantastic job of pushing this, let's have the operators talk to the engineers that are developing the technology and developing the systems and let's work together to make sure that as they are defining requirements, that they're defining them in such a way that will meet what that war fighter's true need is. That's one good thing that I think is happening right now.

[00:17:32] I think the challenge is going to be, as new companies come to industry with their fantastic ideas and technology, how do you integrate all of those systems and applications together and get them to work together in a manner that will truly help the war fighter and help our Department of Defense and intelligence community?

[00:17:58] Natalya: The war fighter of the future comes into where to do what?

[00:18:03] Michelle Waychoff: It depends on when in the future you're talking. I think COVID has given us some interesting insight to that. We have Department of Defense members, Army, Air Force, Space Force, Marine Corps, and Navy folks, as well as our intelligence community that we're doing their jobs sitting from their living rooms, protecting people and assets from their house. What is that...

[00:18:28] Natalya: [Crosstalk] Who knew? Right?

[00:18:29] Michelle Waychoff: Yeah. Who knew, right? Who knew that I would be able to log into my computer and check a concept of operations and determine if something needed a change so that people can get information differently? Who knew that we would be doing that? So where are we going to go from here? I think that we are going to continue to see an increase of remote type work, whatever that's going to be called going forward, where we don't have in, industry workers, or even what I have referred to as war fighters, working from traditional locations, right? So...

[00:19:03] Natalya: [Affirmative] mm-hmm.

[00:19:04] Michelle Waychoff: ...a war fighter on the ground may actually be a war fighter sitting in an office in Omaha, Nebraska working on a computer. We already know they're doing that. That's what we're doing with drones, right? As technology improves and we advance our artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, as well as our autonomous capabilities, you're going to find that people do not have to necessarily go into harm's way, physical harm's way to actually protect the United States interests.

[00:19:39] Natalya: Does it take another level of mental agility to be this type of war fighter and less physical ability?

[00:19:45] Michelle Waychoff: Oh, absolutely. You know, we talk about how we are becoming more agile. And I like to think that we are not just becoming more agile in our technology, but we are becoming more mentally agile and we are figuring things out faster. And I know Lockheed Martin has given us an environment to be able to do that. And I know that the Space Force is working exceptionally hard to make sure that their folks have the right environment to be able to mentally execute what they need to do.

[00:20:15] I would say 20 years ago, I was a really young soldier in the military. And when we talked about space in the Army, it was simply something we talked about in terms of communication. And then over my 20 year career, I saw the Army really take the bull by the horns, if you will, and advance space capabilities throughout all of their battalions and all of their brigades. So I think as we continue to move forward, you're going to see transition of the mission like that. I think you're going to see the Army and the Air Force and all the rest of the branches of the military are going to modify their talent.

[00:20:56] Natalya: And transform to meet the challenges?

[00:20:57] Michelle Waychoff: That's correct.

[00:20:58] Natalya: Is this the biggest watershed ever though moving conflict from Earth to space?

[00:21:04] Michelle Waychoff: I don't think it's the biggest one ever. It's just another big one. You know, when we moved from sea to land or land to sea or sea to air, we moved into a primarily air based warfare, that was huge leap for us when we did that.

[00:21:18] Natalya: World War I, right?

[00:21:19] Michelle Waychoff: Correct. So I think we've made leaps like this before. It's just the next step. It's just another leap. I think as the threats and battle space become more and more sophisticated and there's a greater moving of parts, you're going to see that our future space warriors have a combination of technical acumen, mission understanding and critical thinking, analytical skills to be able to absorb all the information. And I think you're going to find is a force of information holding and information processing. And I think it's going to be, it's going to be interesting times.

[00:21:54] Natalya: What do you foresee as the biggest challenge for that force? Is it training into that or changing mindsets? What?

[00:22:02] Michelle Waychoff: I think the biggest challenge right now is getting people to learn the information quick enough. So technology is moving faster and faster every day. How do we find the people that are knowledgeable on that technology and continue moving at the pace that the technology is moving? I think, I think that's one of the toughest challenges right now.

[00:22:25] Natalya: What do you think we bring to the table as a company and also as a country that makes you optimistic we can do this?

[00:22:33] Michelle Waychoff: I think as our company, our stance on an encouraging a growth mindset and what we like to call a one Lockheed Martin mindset, where we all work together across lines of business and across business areas to share technology and share ideas is something we do really well at Lockheed Martin and it's critical for us advancing those technologies, given the talent that we have.

[00:22:53] I think as a society, our college programs are advancing to really help get after this problem. One of the critical things that the military has right now is called Training with Industry. And it's a fantastic program where military members can come and sit with industry, learn about the tough problems that they have and provide input and insight. And it gives those uniformed individuals an opportunity to work and share information despite being a member of the military that they can work with industry to get after that.

[00:23:27] Natalya: We're in a revolutionary time for space. And you've just walked us through elements of what conflict will look like in space, could look like over the next 20, 30, 50 years. What kind of headlines do you see coming out of that?

[00:23:43] Michelle Waychoff: So I think when you look far out into space, you can start to envision how the space domain battle, space of Earth's orbit today may follow what our exploration into the solar system looked like. And I think if there's valuable resources to be found and leveraged in the asteroid belt, which we believe there are or elsewhere, I think it's inevitable that security and protection of all of those is going to be needed, whether that protection is from nation states or interplanetary terrorist attacks.

[00:24:15] So I think that some of our future headlines are going to involve just that. I think we're going to see headlines about our nation's autonomous mining platforms encroaching on the claims of others in the asteroid belt of perhaps driving the deployment of protection systems. I think we may hear about the availability of direct communications between 8G devices on Earth and on the moon and on Mars. I think we're going to hear about new international agreements that limit the proliferation of some types of offensive weapon technology in Earth orbit. And finally, I would like to think, we may hear about how in an international consortium has been developed and been able to successfully clean up debris in LEO. Uh...

[00:25:02] Natalya: That, that is absolutely fascinating. I have been speaking with Michelle Waychoff about the future of the new battle space. And just want to thank you so much for joining us today, Michelle.

[00:25:13] Michelle Waychoff: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:25:17] Natalya: Lockheed Martin's motto, 'Your mission is ours,' isn't mere words. We are partners working with America and its allies across governments and industries to develop future coalition architectures and capabilities to preserve the global security of the future.

[00:25:32] And this will become more critical as more countries enter the dawn of their new space age. In our next episode, we discuss how Lockheed Martin is partnering with the United Kingdom to see its exciting vision of Space become a reality.

[00:25:49] Host: You've been listening to Michelle Waychoff who is a space maker. Whether you're a software engineer, systems, engineer, finance, or HR professional, we need space makers like you to make the seemingly impossible missions a reality. Please visit this episode’s show notes to learn more about what you just heard in this episode or the careers available at Lockheed Martin. If you enjoyed this show, please like and subscribe so others can find us and follow along for more out of this world stories. To learn more about our missions, products and people, follow our new Twitter handle @LMSpace and visit lockheedmartin.com/space. Join us on the next episode as we introduce you to more space makers.

[00:26:36] Space Makers is a production of Lockheed Martin Space.

[00:26:39] It's executive produced by Pavan Desai.

[00:26:42] Senior producer is Natalya Oleksik.

[00:26:44] Senior producer, writer, and host is Ben Dinsmore.

[00:26:47] Editor is Adam Mattivi.

[00:26:48] Sound design and audio mastered by Julian Giraldo.

[00:26:51] Graphic design by Tim Roesch.

[00:26:53] Marketing and recruiting by Joe Portnoy, Shannon Myers, Mallory Richardson, and Stephanie Dixon.

[00:26:58] A huge thanks to all the communication professionals at Lockheed Martin who helped make these stories possible.

[00:27:05] Thanks for joining us and see you next time.