FSB Raises Veil Over Russian Space, Military Programs

On September 28, 2021, the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation (RF) ordered increased operational security measures to be enacted throughout Russia's defense and space industries. Also impacted by the order is the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and the Rosgvardia, known in western circles as the National Guard of Russia. According to open source information, defying this new measure carries the risk of being identified by the Russian Government as a "foreign agent." The measure came into full force on October 11, less than two weeks after its announcement.


Defense & Space Sectors

In the September 28 order, the FSB focused a great deal of attention on the space and defense industries, as the Russian Government understands these field to be vital to the strategic success of the Russian Federation.


In the defense sector, Russian citizens, reporters, and foreign actors have been barred from collecting information on the, "development of military-political circumstances." The disclosure of information regarding military procurement contracts, purchases, and imports of dual-use items has been strictly prohibited. Any data collection on weapon platforms or delivery systems without the expressed authority of a government authority has been deemed a breach of Russian national security.


The space sector, another operationally and strategically important area for the Russian Government, has effectively been shrouded in secret. Specifically, the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, Russia's main space body, has been shielded from the eyes of outside individuals. Unauthorized disclosure of information pertaining to finances, budgets, and orbital weaponization projects will be treated as a breach of Russian national security.


The shielding of the space sector is of particular importance for the Russian Federation. In recent years, Roscosmos has struggled to compete with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), not only in the quality of space based platforms and space ground systems (SGS) it products, but also in the area of financial health. The head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, has made the financial plight of Russia's space industry time and time again, most recently saying on twitter his agency has not received the support it requires, "I hope that someday our billionaire oligarchs will start spending their money not on regular yachts and vanity fairs, but on the development of space technologies and knowledge about space." Thus, if Moscow wants to claim it can rival US, European Union (EU), and various asian space programs, it must keep secret the financial issues that plague Russian adventures like Roscosmos.


Assessment

As The Intelligence Ledger first observed in American Interstellar Strategy 2035, space has become inextricability attached to modern warfare. The First Persian Gulf War, for example, was also the first space war. With only 3,000 GPS devices available for its entire force of heavy armor, light armor, and artillery units, American armored formations were able to cut across 200 kilometers of an uncharted and seeming unnavigable desert in less than 48 hours to encircle and defeat the Iraqi Army and Revolutionary Guard Corps.


Operation Desert Storm showed that the military's use of the final frontier allows ground units to preform historically unfathomable feats, including constant collection of military intelligence and the maintenance of secure lines of communication. According to the United States Space Force's Capstone Doctrine, these key advantages offer the nations that utilize and invest in space the opportunity to deny adversaries the option of surprising their own forces and policymakers tactically or strategically, much as the Imperial Japanese Navy did infamously on December 7, 1941. Although space dominance cannot ensure success in every conflict, the absence of power in space undoubtedly ensures defeat.


In an era of renewed strategic power competition, the Russian Federation will take steps to shield its defense and space sectors from the eyes of opposing intelligence agencies and citizens alike. The importance of these two fields cannot be understated, especially in regards to space, and thus the FSB will secure them with increasing vim and vigor.