WASHINGTON – Space cybersecurity firm SpiderOak on July 12 announced the appointment of former DoD and military officials to its advisory board. 

Joining the company are retired U.S. Air Force general Ellen Pawlikowski and former intelligence official and aerospace executive Frederick Doyle. Pawlikowski, who was a former commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, and Doyle join retired Navy admiral James “Sandy” Winnefeld, retired Army lieutenant general Ken Tovo and former intelligence official Phil Eichensehr, who already serve on SpiderOak’s advisory board. 

“The board will help guide the company in fielding zero-trust products and services to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the most sensitive data in space networks,” the company said in a news release.

​​SpiderOak uses software that encrypts data throughout private blockchain networks and creates cryptographic keys that give various parties access only to the datasets they need to perform their work.

“Rethinking our nation’s space resilience is now a top priority of the Pentagon, and SpiderOak’s blockchain-based products for securing satellites and their networks are a crucial part of building that resiliency,” said Pawlikowski. 

SpiderOak’s executive chairman Charles Beames said the addition of these new members to the company’s space advisory board will “provide us the insight and guidance necessary to match our product development with federal needs.”

Former Pentagon officials like Pawlikowski can help explain to the government what commercial technologies can bring, Beames told SpaceNews. “You kind of have to lead the bureaucracy. You have to get in there, meet with them routinely and explain the advantages.”

China and Russia are stepping up their capabilities to attack U.S. networks, said Beames. 

The Pentagon has to rethink how it articulates its cybersecurity requirements “in such a way that it allows for commercial technologies to more readily be adapted and used,” he said. “That’s what’s going to be necessary to be able to react more quickly to what’s going on on the other side of the security fence.”

The traditional Pentagon processes take five to 10 years to actually deploy a capability and that doesn’t work in the cyber domain, Beames said. “We will be dead in the water if we don’t adopt a commercial approach to addressing the cybersecurity threat.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...