US spooks urged to buy more intel — Analysis

US legislators seek to increase funding for a pilot program to buy satellite images from private companies

US lawmakers have called on the country’s spy satellite agency to accelerate its use of commercially available images “to the extent possible” to close gaps in the Pentagon’s own surveillance capabilities.

House Armed Services’ strategic forces subcommittee oversees US military use space, antiballistic missile defense, nuclear deterrence, and is responsible for including the proposal in amendments to its defense spending bill 2023.

Although the markup document has yet to be approved, it will be reviewed by the entire committee on June 22. It endorses a pilot program for images purchased from commercial satellites that use synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

“The committee recommends the NRO accelerate, to the extent possible, their adoption and integration of proven highly capable U.S. commercial SAR systems”To cover “known intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance gaps of the Department of Defense,”These are the contents of the documents.

SAR imaging is a technique that uses radar antenna movement to increase spatial resolution. This contrasts with a static beaming radar system. This is the “synthetic aperture”In the title, the antenna functions as if it was larger because of the combination of data acquired over time. Similar principles allow astronomers to make use of radio telescopes in various parts to observe distant objects more clearly.

Ukraine keeps US in the dark on military operations – NYT

The NRO awarded five SAR satellite companies contracts in January for their images to be provided to the US military. They were the US division of European giant Airbus, California startup Capella Space, the US branch of the Finnish firm ICEYE’s, Florida-based PredaSAR and California-based Umbra.

In April, the director of the NRO’s Commercial Systems Program Office, Pete Muend, praised the contribution of the five firms in providing intelligence on Ukraine. The NRO was able to share the source material with Ukraine because it is classified as commercial.

“They’re not a NATO nation, right? So we can’t share the good stuff with them,”He spoke at the GEOINT-2022 symposium. “And so that has created this massive opportunity for unclassified American commercial imagery to play a huge role.”

Russia repeatedly stated that US space capability outsourcing to private companies essentially transforms commercial assets into additional US military infrastructure. Starlink satellite internet program SpaceX is one of the most prominent examples.

Elon Musk, the CEO, offered the service to Ukraine. Starlink equipment was purchased by the US for Ukrainian soldiers.

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