Washington: The United States on Wednesday approved plans to acquire new generation electro-optical spy satellites to plug gaps in its coverage of strategic areas around the globe.
Under the new plans, unveiled to upgrade its aging satellite-imagery architecture, also envisages buying more satellite-imagery from commercial providers.
Announcing the plans, director of National Intelligence Dennis C Blair, said: “Imagery is a core component of our national security that supports our troops, foreign policy, homeland security and the needs of our Intelligence Community.”
The new proposal, now to be sent to the Congress, is an integrated, sustainable approach based on cost, feasibility and timeliness that meets the needs of the US and puts in place a system to ensure that the country will not have imagery gaps in the future, he said.
The decisions taken jointly by the director of National Intelligence and the Department of Defence, was based on the results of multiple government studies over the past several years, and on the findings and recommendations of an independent panel of former defense and intelligence experts convened by Blair to assess the US government’s review.
The new policy has three key features. First, the government-owned satellites would be developed, built and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office.
Secondly, the Department of Defence and Intelligence Community would increase the use of imagery available through US commercial providers. This additional capability would provide the government with more flexibility to respond to unforeseen challenges.