Risk and resilience

Risk Analysis

The Space Cross-sectoral Interest Group, which is part of the Trusted Information Sharing Network of Australia’s Critical Infrastructure Advisory Council is undertaking a detailed analysis of the risks and dependencies
faced by Australia’s reliance on space assets (Satellite communications; PNT; and earth observation) in every area of Australia’s critical infrastructure (including but not limited to health, food and agriculture, banking and finance, transport, water services, communications and energy). Critical infrastructure in the Australian context includes not just the tangible assets but also the information supply chains on which they critically rely. This work, by its very nature, marries the space segments with the information supply chains, many of which carry vital spatial
information to end users. Its success will rely on a close working relationship between space and spatial and which will feed into the deliberations of the RoadMap, especially the elements that address Australia’s vulnerabilities and the essential actions to improve our resilience to threats.

The analysis of threats and dependences include an examination of the full supply chain for each of the critical dependencies. The analysis is based on the international risk standard ISO 31,000:2018. A risk matrix is being developed comprising the threat, risk description, the potential impact, the risk owner, the existing controls, the risk rating, the current monitoring strategies, the current risk treatments, and the residual risk rating.

Importantly the analysis will identify principal risks that represent an unacceptably high residual risk. These will be gathered up in a principal risks register that will form the basis of further analysis that will dimension and propose additional treatments and controls. Additional actions required will then be considered for inclusion in the 2030 RoadMap.

As part of the Risk Assessment, an initial focus will be the on the impact of outages on critical infrastructure and services of national significance related to GNSS. A number of international reports are being reviewed to analyse the vulnerabilities inherent with PNT as provided by GNSS. At the core of this initial activity is a plan to document levels of dependence on PNT in a highly constrained scenario, a major metropolitan centre and the impact on a narrow section of the economy. This does not aim to identify threats or economic impact but rather focus on the scale of the problem and the associated dependencies and interdependencies between the identified sector (most likely transport and logistics) and space-based GNSS services.

Note this would be a technology/technical focused study, not an economic study.

Firstly, a Use case study would be carried out to identify critical and significant elements of the integrated transport and logistics sector for a capital city, which currently utilises satellite-based GNSS systems. It would also estimate the high-level impacts on the local, regional and national operations in these sectors, should access to space systems be lost for various periods of time.

Secondly, using the results from the above Case study, a framework would be created that would allow for a deeper dive into what is needed to improve the resilience of critical infrastructure, namely to mitigate the effects and impacts of outages. It is also considered to develop feedback that would be shared with the TISN and other groups responsible for maintaining industrial productivity.

Risks and Hazards

A hazard may be defined as “a situation or thing that has the potential to cause damage or harm”. The international risk standard defines risk as the “effect of uncertainty on objectives – and an effect is a positive or negative deviation from what is expected”. A risk is the probability that exposure to a hazard will result in harm or damage. The table below lists indicative hazards potentially affecting space based systems.

List of Space Hazards