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Research Question

  1. What are the advantages of using the resilience assessment framework to assess mission performance and mission resilience of various systems?

Over the past few years, commercial space services have significantly increased in capability and capacity in many missions of interest to the U.S. Space Force (USSF). As the USSF considers incorporating such commercial space services into its missions, it needs a principled and flexible assessment framework for evaluating how commercial contributions affect the performance and resilience of various USSF missions.

This report describes the resilience assessment framework that RAND Project AIR FORCE developed to assess the potential impact of select commercial services on USSF space mission performance. The framework includes four components to help analysts consider the additional mission performance and mission resilience that a proposed commercial service could provide.

The prospect of incorporating commercial capabilities into defense missions also raises the question of trustworthiness and information assurance. The assessment framework includes a subframework focused on grading information contributions from commercial services for trustworthiness.

To demonstrate how the framework can be tailored to diverse missions by specifying the relevant mission assets or infrastructure, the commercial services available, and the mission performance measures, the authors apply the framework to two example missions: tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and data transmit and receive network. They then discuss their findings and propose several recommendations for the USSF to fully leverage the benefits of evaluating commercial capabilities with the resilience assessment framework.

Key Findings

As demonstrated by the case-study analyses, the framework is robust enough to derive mission-relevant insights and provides many benefits

  • The framework significantly reduces the needed number of physics-based modeling runs.
  • It uses a post-processing tool to degrade the expected nominal performance for assessing resilience; thus, a large number of architectural degradations are quickly assessed.
  • Multiple types of degradation can be applied, i.e., time based, satellite based, location based.
  • Resilience measures are directly linked to key operational measures, i.e., measures of performance.
  • Framework-generated information supports joint warfighter analysis.

Recommendations

  • Extend the framework to simulate responses to adversarial targeted degradation.
  • Further develop and implement the trust assessment subframework.
  • Use improved representations of USSF mission systems in resilience analyses.
  • Operationalize an appropriately tailored resilience assessment framework for USSF missions.
  • Explore applications of the framework to other missions.
  • Assess what modifications to the overall USSF concept of operations are required to effectively leverage commercial capabilities.

Research conducted by

The research reported here was commissioned by the U.S. Space Force (USSF) and conducted within the Force Modernization and Employment Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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