Aerial Photography and Imagery Intelligence

D - Z


Defense Intelligence Journal. "Imagery Intelligence (IMINT)." 8, no. 1 (Summer 1999): Entire issue.

Click for the individual articles in this issue.

Diamond, John M. "Re-examining Problems and Prospects in U.S. Imagery Intelligence." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 14, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 1-24.

The focus here is on space-based imagery intelligence. The discussion flows out of five "key points" identified by the author:

"1. The U.S. space imagery community has yet to clearly lay out a path forward that is unanimously supported within the intelligence community and by congressional overseers.

"2. The current space imagery intelligence architecture has yet to demonstrate an ability to contribute decisively in one of the nation's most important national security areas: terrorism and weapons proliferation.

"3. The primary mission of imagery intelligence is trending away from the national strategic mission of the Cold War and toward a real-time battlefield information role....

"4. Despite a major transformation of the major national security challenges facing the United States, the imagery intelligence system in use today is essentially the same as that used during the Cold War.

"5. Among sophisticated adversaries, development of the skills involved in denying and deceiving observation from space appears to be outpacing advancement in satellite intelligence collection."

Fulghum, David A. "U.S. Urges European Spending While Neglecting Own Forces." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 10 Jan. 2000, 41-43.

"Even as Defense Secretary William Cohen berated his NATO allies for spending too little on defense -- particularly for sophisticated intelligence-gathering that permits precise, low-collateral-damage air strikes -- the Pentagon is starving those very same surveillance and reconnaissance technologies in U.S. forces."

Gasser, William R. "Aerial Photography for Agriculture." Studies in Intelligence 11, no. 4 (Fall 1967): 31-36.

This article looks at the development of overhead reconnaissance techniques to produce crop estimates for Communist countries.

Goddard, George W., with DeWitt S. Copp. Overview: A Life-Long Adventure in Aerial Photography. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1969.

Haakon, Christopher P. "Commercial Space Imagery for National Defense." Defense Intelligence Journal 8, no. 1 (Summer 1999): 24-32.

"Soon, commercial satellites will deliver great volumes of high quality imagery at incrementally decreasing prices." To keep its existing edge, the U.S. Intelligence Community "should continually invest in the latest technology -- especially unique or experimental programs, because these are harder for opposition forces to replicate -- exploiting the best technology for handling gigantic data masses."

Heiman, Grover. Aerial Photography: The Story of Aerial Mapping and Reconnaissance. New York: Macmillan, 1972.

Herken, Gregg. Cardinal Choices: Presidential Science Advising from the Atomic Bomb to SDI. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Infield, Glenn B. Unarmed and Unafraid: The First Complete History of the Men, Missions, Training, and Techniques of Aerial Reconnaissance. New York: Macmillan, 1970.

Jackson, Robert. High Cold War: Strategic Air Reconnaissance and the Electronic Intelligence War. Somerset, UK: Patrick Stevens Limited, 1998.

Lindgren, David T. Trust But Verify: Imagery Analysis in the Cold War. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2000.

For Seamon, Proceedings 126.11 (Nov. 2000), "[t]he steady development and improvement of aerial intelligence gathering is spelled out here in admirable detail.... Lindgren ... also recalls U.S. politics and diplomacy of the Cold War years and the impact made on policy by imagery analysis. In the absence of most of the parochial bickering among the military services that marred intelligence gathering in World War II, analysts working under civilian control 'provided a series of American presidents with the strategic intelligence they required.'"

Peake, Studies 48.1, notes that author "makes clear he does not agree with th[e] decision," made under DCI John Deutch, to remove CIA from its role in the U.S. satellite programs.

Marshall, Mark G. Round Peg, Square Holes: The Nature of Imagery Analysis. Washington, DC: Joint Military Intelligence College, 1997.

Mead, Peter [Brig.]. The Eye in the Air: History of Air Observation and Reconnaissance for the Army, 1785-1945. London: HMSO, 1983.

Newhall, Beaumont. Airborne Camera: The World from the Air and Outer Space. New York: Hastings House, 1969.

Pearse, Ralph S. "What Size Is It?" Studies in Intelligence 15, no. 1 (Winter 1971): 53-65.

"The evolution of photogrammetry within CIA."

Polmar, Norman. "'Here's Looking at You, Boris.'" U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 121, no. 12 (Dec. 1995): 87-88.

Richelson, Jeffrey. Eyes on the Bomb: U-2, CORONA, and KH-7 Imagery of Foreign Nuclear Installations. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 186. []

This "posting includes 15 photographs and five photographic interpretation reports from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The images were obtained by U-2 spy planes and CORONA and KH-7 reconnaissance satellites. The interpretation reports were produced by the CIA's Photographic Intelligence Center as well as its Imagery Analysis Division and the National Photographic Interpretation Center."

Richelson, Jeffrey T. "Intelligence: The Imagery Dimension." In Strategic Intelligence, Vol. 2: The Intelligence Cycle: The Flow of Secret Information from Overseas to the Highest Councils of Government, ed. Loch K. Johnson, 61-74. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007.

Taubman, Philip. Secret Empire: Eisenhower, the CIA, and the Hidden Story of America's Space Espionage. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.

Umansky, Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2003, comments that the story of how scientists broke through the barriers to reconnaissance from space "could make for a fascinating tale. But Secret Empire isn't it. Taubman ... is not a lively writer. And ... the book's characters blend into one -- an overachieving, patriotic man who loves flying.... [T]he book is mostly small-bore, resolutely sticking to a step-by-tiny-step history of the program. Frequently, the only obvious point seems to be to get it all down.... The result ... is often something only a satellite buff, or perhaps a product manager, could love."

The reviewer for Publishers Weekly, 17 Feb. 2003, has a different view, calling Taubman's work an "exciting, meticulously researched spy story.... [It] functions marvelously as a history of science, detailing the research, engineering and policy decisions behind the U2 and Corona, but it's also an excellent social history of the Cold War in the 1950s and early '60s. It's a page-turner as well."

Freedman, FA 82.3 (May-Jun. 2003), finds that "Taubman provides a wealth of detail..., based on many interviews and copious research. He weaves together complex strategic, organizational, and engineering issues, managing to convey the drama and excitement of a race to find some way of getting consistent and reliable intelligence on Soviet nuclear missiles at a time when the United States was widely assumed to be falling behind."

For Mahnken, NWCR 57.1, this "history of the strategic issues, politics, personalities, and technologies that drove the development of America's extraordinary space reconnaissance capability ... does a splendid job of interpreting the significance of the technical problems encountered and the brilliant ingenuity of the solutions." The author is "attuned to the importance of the enabling technologies and brings their role and impact to the reader’s understanding."

Day, IJI&C 17.4 (Winter 2004-2005), finds that this work is "[r]eadable and [provides] a decent overview of the subject.... But it is not original. It contains no information that could not be found in books written several years ago.... [In addition,] the book does not advance a more knowledgeable person's understanding of what happened during this period."

To Robarge, Studies 48.1, the author "has filled the 'if you read only one book on the subject, this is it' category. Secret Empire is an accessible, thorough (but not definitive) synthesis for the general reader." Bath, NIPQ 19.3, "strongly" recommends this work "to layman and specialist alike." Although the work "adds little new or startling to reconnaissance history," it pulls together "the many strands of the story into one coherent and highly readable volume."

Taylor, John W. R., and David Mondey. Spies in the Sky. New York: Scribner's, 1972. London: Ian Allen, 1972.

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