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Intel Satellites Need More 'Dwell Time,' Teets Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2002 – Military and civilian space specialists will seek ways to increase the amount of intelligence gathered by orbiting satellites as part of DoD efforts to integrate national security space capabilities, the Air Force's No. 2 civilian said here today.

Air Force Undersecretary Peter B. Teets told Pentagon reporters he's been tasked "to bring together the military and national elements of space to ensure that we're providing the nation the best national security capabilities while still being good stewards of the American tax dollar."

Teets, who also serves as the director of the National Reconnaissance Office, will integrate recommendations of the Commission to Assess U.S. National Security Space Management and Organization, which Donald Rumsfeld chaired before being appointed secretary of defense. That commission recommended DoD enhance military space technology and study ways to project power from space.

Teets said two new offices would be formed immediately under him as part of a reorganization: the deputy for military space and the deputy director of the National Reconnaissance Office. Other offices would handle acquisition, integration, and military/civilian space issues.

A major goal of the reorganization of space operations is to achieve what Teets termed "universal situational awareness" involving intelligence-gathering satellites.

"I think what we've found is that, moving ahead with this war on terrorism, … it's going to be important for us to have persistent intelligence, universal in terms of time, but also universal in terms of space," Teets said.

He noted that satellite intelligence collection capabilities over Afghanistan have been excellent. However, "We need to add persistence to the equation. You'd like to know all the time what's going on around the face of the globe. You'd like to have more 'long dwell,'" he added. Ways to achieve this more continuous view, Teets suggested, include orbiting more satellites or higher-flying ones that can survey a given area longer.

As NRO director, Teets is responsible for the acquisition and operation of all U.S. space-based reconnaissance and intelligence systems. This includes managing the National Reconnaissance Program, where he reports directly to the secretary of defense and the director of central intelligence.

Other space reorganization goals include: joint warfighting capability, integrated cultures, a cadre of space professionals, and assured access and protection of space assets, Teets noted.

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