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back to article Red faces as Pentagon leases Chinese satellite

US lawmakers are up in arms after it emerged that the Pentagon has leased a Chinese commercial satellite to support non-classified communications with its African bases. The details of the one-year, $10m contract were revealed at a House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill last week. The Apstar-7 satellite is owned and …

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Thats alright then, as long as theres no Huawei kit in it!

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Devil

Hmmm...

Wonder why they didn't notice the "Made in China" label on it.

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Anonymous Coward

"Republican Mike Rogers, ... expressed deep concern at how the Pentagon deal had been done without any political input."

Sitting on the select committee for intelligence clearly hasn't endowed him with any.

Mr Rogers is an ex-FBI agent so I'd be prepared to listen to him on criminal justice matters but he has no experience in national security or satellite communications technology ... so in this specific instance he's just another windbag politician.

Big +1 to the Pentagon for doing their job as they saw fit.

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Of course it's nothing at all to do with Michigan having loads of aerospace suppliers :) Nor anything at all to do with the campaign contributions from defense \ aerospace \ telecoms companies he gets.

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Unhappy

"Of course it's nothing at all to do with Michigan having loads of aerospace suppliers :) Nor anything at all to do with the campaign contributions from defense \ aerospace \ telecoms companies he gets."

When I pay my dog to bark, I expect him to bark.

This looks like one of those situations where some of that "responsive space" the Pentagon has been talking about for the last decade or so might have come in handy. The idea of smallish short lived satellites to provide services over specific areas for short periods while the DoD was on tour.

Seems like all that produces was a load of Power Points.

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Anonymous Coward

@Nicho

"Sitting on the select committee for intelligence clearly hasn't endowed him with any."

Nor does your comment show any sign of intelligence..

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They SHOULD have some capacity/someone they can bump other than China, that's the real problem.

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China was likely cheapest. This is for non sensitive data so theres not a huge issue about it being China. If they went and provisioned their own bird or rented capacity that cost more they would be shouted at for that. Some people are just going to shout. Mike 'for hire' Rogers is always going to defend the interests of the companies who write the checks that get him reelected, but his party would be screaming blue murder if they paid more for capacity from a more friendly country (whilst usually advocating a raise in military spending, because never let hypocrisy get in the way of trying to score political points).

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Re: Trojan Horse Satellite

Which bit of "to support non-classified communications" did you not understand?

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Re: Trojan Horse Satellite

It's Eadon :-) He's just bitter it isn't running XP so he can rant about MS.

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FAIL

Re: Trojan Horse Satellite

"The Trojan Satellite makes a good metaphor as to why a security-conscious nation should not allow a CLOSED SOURCE operating system onto its computers. If a Satellite can spy, so can an operating system."

Snigger: do you REALLY think the US Govt. doesn't have access to the source code for any Microsoft product it wishes?!

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Unhappy

Actually the simple ability to shut it off remotely is just as potentially effective.

When someone else provides your infrastructure you're not in full control.

Ever

"But their prices were so good," that's the CEO Nurenberg defense IIRC.

Fine. Just hope they don't get a call from Beijing telling them to pull the plug.

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“the most threatening actor in cyberspace”

Worse than Keanu Reeves ?

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Joke

"APT Satellite Holdings"

Could you think of a worse name for a Chinese company?! When "Advanced Persistent Threats" are such a buzz in security circles (and normally taken as a euphemism for Chinese state hackers) do you really want to call your communications company "APT"?

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Re: "APT Satellite Holdings"

Foreshadowing!!

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Devil

If only the US had their own satellites they could launch, we could ask Russia the launch it for us. //sarcasm

But really, if the demand is there, why is there no local source bidding on providing the needed comms. If that is the way capitalism works, then why are they buying time on a communist bird?

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WTF?

Isn't that the point of Capitalism - buy from the cheapest provider to maximise profits? So they rent a Chinese satellite - big deal if it does the job required.

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Facepalm

Because "the military" is "capitalism" that "maximises profits"?

Uh. Okay.

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

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Anonymous Coward

@Destroy All Monsters

"I don't want to live on this planet anymore."

You're not the only one who doesn't want you to live on this planet anymore.

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Pint

There's a ship loading for Alpha Centauri, departing in about 20 years... be on it...

That's wine in that glass... I can't get El Reg to add a wine glass for me...

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Black Helicopters

Why are people trying to second-guess the reasons for this decision with nothing but a media headline to inform them. Maybe throwing some meaningless but encrypted comms through a Chinese satellite is an excercise in misdirection. Or, an attempt to understand their decryption capabilities. Maybe the satellite access gives the US something that it does not report as the purpose for the deal. Or; the deal is a cover for something else, such as a comms channel to coordinate any joint US/Chinese operations, like those we are about to see in North Korea...

Assuming this is some sort of schoolboy error would be foolish.

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Big Brother

Congressmen, please keep it to d*ck-sucking, m'kay?

Retarded how "lawmakers" seem to be expert in anything, now telling military on how to do their job.

I thought their role was to fund the military-industrial complex with money they don't have to push stuff the armed forces don't need and be absent due to a BBQ when the president starts yet another war?

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Anonymous Coward

@Destroy All Monsters

"Retarded how "lawmakers" seem to be expert in anything, now telling military on how to do their job."

Retarded, how some people think that the military shouldn't be subject to civilian oversight.

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Pint

Re: Congressmen, please keep it to d*ck-sucking, m'kay?

Well, since most RepubliCLOWN lawmakers are chicken hawks who never served in the military themselves, they feel they're FULLY qualified to pass judgement on what the military needs... like more Abrams M-1 tanks when the majority of the 3,400 tanks the Army has are less than three years old...

I need a drink... put some WINE in that glass, El Reg... a good Cabernet Sauvignon will be fine...

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Re: Congressmen, please keep it to d*ck-sucking, m'kay?

"Well, since most RepubliCLOWN lawmakers are chicken hawks who never served in the military themselves, they feel they're FULLY qualified to pass judgement on what the military needs..."

And where are you sources comparing to the number of Republicans and Democrats who served in the military? Here's mine: http://www.whoserved.com/congress.asp where we see that 21% of the members of Congress have served in the military, and that two-thirds of them are Republicans.

So you support the Democrats because they have even less personal military experience that the Republicans and you hope that they are simply going to rubber-stamp whatever proposals the Pentagon puts forth?

Also, at such times as we have a President who is not a armed forces veteran, who do you want as Commander-in-Chief? LeMay and Patton are dead, after all. And so is Custer, I regret to have to inform you.

And I know about a guy who served, with distinction, in the trenches, in the military and later, as a political leader, considered himself to be a gifted strategist. He wasn't. You can see some pictures of the results of his military insight and the effect that they had on his country by googling "Berlin 1945".

In short, the idea that having served in the military necessarily gives someone any real insight in military affairs is simply stupid. And that should enable us to see who the real "clown" is: it's not the Republicans, it's you.

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Re: @Destroy All Monsters

@ac 01:30 - Not to turn this into a civics lesson but you appear to be confusing civilian oversight with congressional approval. The US military is and always has been subject not only to civilian oversight but civilian control. That's the role of the Commander In Chief - You know, the civilian in the White House ?

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tjdawson

It's becoming more and more obvious that any software/digital service which orginates from or is controlled by our chinese friends comes with a data/intelligence gathering program embedded in it. Using any thing provided by them may not be wise.

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