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Pentagon Will Buy More Spy Satellites

Pentagon Will Buy More Spy Satellites

AP
July 1, 2008


The Pentagon will buy and operate one or two commercial imagery satellites and plans to design and build another with more sophisticated spying capabilities, according to government and private industry officials.

The satellites could spy on enemy troop movements, spot construction at suspected nuclear sites and alert commanders to new militant training camps.

The Broad Area Surveillance Intelligence Capability (BASIC) satellite system will cost between $2 billion and $4 billion. It would add to the secret constellation of satellites that now circle the Earth, producing still images that are pieced together into one large mosaic.

A single satellite can visit one spot on Earth twice every day. BASIC’s additional satellites will allow the photos to be updated more often, alerting U.S. government users to potential trouble, humanitarian crises or natural disasters like floods.

The announcement of the BASIC program, expected this week, has been delayed for months, with Pentagon, Air Force, and National Reconnaissance Office officials fighting over who should be in charge of buying, building and operating the satellites. They have also debated whose needs the system will cater to: senior military commanders or policymakers in Washington, D.C.

At stake was not just money but power: billion-dollar budgets are up for grabs, and the agencies’ traditional missions and way of doing business have been hanging in the balance.

The National Reconnaissance Office ultimately won the right to buy and operate the satellites, besting the Air Force. And military commanders’ needs trumped the White House. They will, for the first time, have the power to dictate what satellites will photograph when they pass overhead. The concept is known as “assured tasking.”

Read Full Article Here

U.S. Uses Satellites To Spy On Iraqi Army
http://www.latimes.com/news/..02%2C0%2C1040691.story

 


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