Eye Spy: The Utility of Strategic Satellite Reconnaissance
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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This paper discusses the utility of strategic satellite reconnaissance in terms of its capability to satisfy our intelligence requirements in Europe. Although the context is present day Europe, it is not tied to ongoing Conventional Forces in Europe CFE discussions. This paper argues that, although the satellite has great capability to provide intelligence, it has faults. The study first examines the historical development of the reconnaissance satellite. It traces our aerial intelligence collection efforts targeted against the Soviets. Current satellite capabilities are then addressed. Next, reconnaissance satellite capabilities are analyzed in terms of vulnerabilities and limitations. This analysis provides a determination of utility of strategic satellite reconnaissance in a European setting today. The future direction of satellite technology is then reviewed. This discussion provides insight into what strategic intelligence collection capabilities will be available on future battlefields. The author concludes that reconnaissance satellites can satisfy many but not all of our intelligence needs. Their use must be balanced with other intelligence collection resources.
- Military Intelligence
- Unmanned Spacecraft