Subject: US: Builder of Battlestar Galacticas... From: [email protected] (Allen Thomson) Date: 1996/03/20 Message-Id: <[email protected]> Newsgroups: sci.space.policy,sci.space.tech,alt.politics.org.cia and mighty fine ones they are. Combest Unveils Radical Plan to Overhaul U.S. Intelligence by Joseph Anselmo Aviation Week and Space Technology, 11 March 1996, p.67 [EXCERPTS] [Harold] Brown [Chairman of the Aspin/Brown Commission] in a briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee, said a "low-end tier" of [intelligence] satellites developed by the U.S. and foreign partners "will provide more satellites of lesser capability but more complete coverage, more reliable coverage." Some congressional aides are puzzled about whether potential partners such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom could significantly contribute to such satellite projects in light of their military funding problems. But Brown said U.S. allies would benefit from "a somewhat less capable system" with U.S. technology because it would be developed cheaper and faster and be more effective. "The reason that allies would offer to accept participation is that they can't afford Battlestar Galacticas," he said. "We can, we will, and we'll build them. If they try to build them independently they won't make it." It's noteworthy that Israel doesn't show up in this story, although it was specifically mentioned in the Aspin/Brown Commission report and, according to very recent reporting, is intending to have eight Ofeq-3-derived imaging satellites up by 2002. A scheme like the Commission is advocating might actually make some sense: a shared US/Israeli/whoever constellation of eight to a dozen smallsats to handle routine and tactical needs, plus several in the barn on Tauruses, Shavits, Cosmoses, etc. in case replacements were needed on short notice. The Battlestar Galacticas of which the US is so proud could do special-purpose very-high-resolution imaging, but wouldn't be needed for day-to-day situation monitoring or be crucial for military operations (for which there is little hope they'll ever be suited, anyway). High resolution and continuous dwell imaging over battlefields would be the provenance of stealthy Dark Starish UAVs. Of course, this scenario is not particularly consistent with the numerous indications over the past two or three years that the US is headed in the direction of fewer Galacticas in higher orbits to cut costs while trying to address the revisit and dwell-time problems encountered during Desert Storm. On the other hand, it wouldn't be hard to back off from the all-Galactica designed-to- be-vulnerable solution to the Commission's more robust and reasonable mixed one. It will be interesting to see if and how this all plays out.