Eye Spy: The Utility of Strategic Satellite Reconnaissance   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the thesis abstract: "This monograph 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 Europe discussions. This paper will argue that although the satellite has great capability to provide intelligence, it has faults. The monograph examines the historical development of the reconnaissance satellite. The primary historical emphasis begins immediately after World War II and extends to the present day. It traces our aerial intelligence collection efforts targeted against the Soviets. Current satellite capabilities are then addressed. The purpose is to develop a common understanding so that the discussion of future trends is more meaningful. Next, reconnaissance satellites are analyzed in terms of vulnerabilities and limitations. This analysis provides a determination of the utility of strategic satellite reconnaissance in a European setting today and answers the research question. The future direction of satellite technology will then be reviewed. This discussion will provide insight into what strategic intelligence collection capabilities will be available on future battlefields. The monograph concludes that reconnaissance satellites can satisfy many but not all of our intelligence needs. Its use must be balanced with other intelligence collection resources."

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