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Third annual AFRL Cyber, Space Summit draws increased participation in New Mexico

  • Published
  • By Jessie Perkins
  • Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL) — The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, hosted its third annual New Mexico Cyber and Space Summit in Albuquerque last fall. Attendees included military and professionals from the Department of Defense, private and commercial industries, the intelligence community and academia. The summit aimed to initiate the expansion of space cyber topics in New Mexico, anticipating technology growth in the coming decades. 
“New Mexico is strategically set up to meet the growing technology needs of space, cyber and space cyber,” said Joseph “Dan” Trujillo, the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate’s space cyber resiliency lead and technical lead for the summit. “It is a huge money growth opportunity that the state needs to invest in the coming years.” 

This year’s summit was opened up to the public with the goal of informing local state government officials and a general audience of the threats and problems to be solved for space cyber, Trujillo said.  

“Labs across the state are working to solve and secure our space assets from cyber-attack and we want to engage with the public and get them on board to help or partner with us to solve those problems,” Trujillo added.  

Day one of the summit featured an unclassified forum for local experts, followed by a classified internal forum on day two. Brian Engberg, Space Control Technology branch chief, commended the increased awareness and collaboration among government, academia and industry in addressing critical space systems' cyber threats. 

"I am very proud of the AFRL team for organizing and executing this year’s Space Cyber Summit," Engberg said. "For the first time, the workshop included participation from state and local government and had a more technical focus on the challenging issues we face in protecting critical space systems from cyber threats.” 

This increased awareness and collaboration between government, academia and industry serves to build relationships, focus expertise and identify effective solutions, Engberg added. 
"AFRL has identified significant and growing cyber threats to space systems,” said Philip Blong, AFRL Deputy Control mission lead. “This pivotal annual summit advances space cyber expertise and technologies and fosters community-wide collaboration to meet and defeat these threats." 
Over the three-day summit, leading experts in cybersecurity and space engaged in panel discussions on space capabilities and cutting-edge cyber. State officials also participated in a panel to address space cyber challenges, covering topics such as threats, protection and services/response, and exploring ways the state can contribute to the growth of space cyber. 
Senator Michael Padilla, District 14, Bernalillo County; State Representative Meredith Dixon, District 20, Bernalillo County; State Representative Dayan Hochman-Vigil, District 15, Bernalillo County; and State Representative Jason C. Harper, District 57, Sandoval County, also participated in the panel discussions, to gain insights into cutting edge cyber work, network with the community and strengthen collaboration with AFRL.  

Jeff Hall, new program coordinator for the Office of Strategy, Science and Technology, discussed paving the way for opportunities in space cyber. 

“Attending and presenting at the Oct. 11-13, 2023, AFRL Space Cyber Summit has been a fantastic experience for the Space Dynamics Laboratory,” said Jason Lambert, Utah State University student. “We can gain insights into cutting-edge cyber work, network with the community and strengthen our mission-driven work with AFRL.”  

AFRL will continue to plan these space cyber summits into the future based on the growing need for collaboration in New Mexico and for the nation, Trujillo said.  

The following academic institutions, government organizations and national labs partnered with AFRL on the cyber summit: 

  • Central New Mexico Community College 


  • Idaho National Labs 

  • Institute for Complex Additive Systems Analysis at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 

  • Los Alamos National Labs 

  • MIT Lincoln Labs, Battelle 

  • New Mexico State government 

  • New Mexico State University 

  • Proof Labs Inc. 

  • Sandia National Labs 

  • Space Dynamics Laboratory 

  • Space Operations Command 

  • University of New Mexico 

  • VERSUS Research  

About AFRL 

The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 12,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit