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Establishing a Commercial Reserve Imagery Fleet Obtaining Surge Imagery Capacity from Commercial Remote Sensing Satellite Systems During Crisis

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Master's thesis

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Precision-guided weapons employment during and since the Gulf War highlights the critical role space assets, particularly reconnaissance systems, play in modern military operations. This, along with other developments, has led to a proliferation of commercial satellite remote sensing systems. Congress directed the National Reconnaissance Office and National Imagery and Mapping Agency to investigate commercial satellite imaging systems as a supplement to national reconnaissance systems. This paper investigates one of the recommendations in the response to Congress the development of a Commercial Reserve Imagery Fleet CRIF to augment national imagery systems during crises. The CRIF concept is explored in detail using the successful Civil Reserve Air Fleet CRAF model that supplies surge airlift capacity for comparison. The first question that must be answered is why establish a CRIF There are at least three reasons, the principal being money. In the current budgetary and strategic environment, Congress will not continue to fund the development of national imagery systems to meet ever-expanding requirements, particularly surge requirements expected during crises. Congress desires to leverage the investment being made in the commercial remote sensing market to reduce the burden on the taxpayer. Second, the path is historically proven. The development of aviation technology followed a similar course when the CRAF was instituted to reduce government costs while meeting surge airlift requirements. Third, valid requirements for surge imagery capacity exist that can be fulfilled by current commercial imagery systems. The necessary conditions for establishing a CRIF are then examined. The development of the early US aviation industry is reviewed to identify the conditions that led to the formation of the CRAF. This history is compared to currently identify. Finally,and logistical issues that existed during CRAF development. The CRIF concept is the

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Civilian Aircraft

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