The nation has powerful space-based image intelligence (IMINT), signals intelligence (SIGINT), and measurement and signatures intelligence (MASINT) collection systems and is in the process of developing even greater capabilities. It is essential that naval forces have access to data from these capabilities and that they be able to task the capabilities.
National IMINT systems provide photographic coverage over denied territory that, through the science of stereophotogrammetry, enables precise geodetic positioning of targets on the ground. For decades these capabilities have provided the means for precision strike against fixed targets; as the speed of tasking, collection, and processing has increased, the same capabilities have begun to put relocatable targets at risk. New satellite constellations are in progress under the Future Imagery Architecture program of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
SIGINT systems have global coverage and provide geodetic positioning of platforms emitting at radio frequencies. Their product is quickly and widely broadcast to tactical forces afloat and in the field, where it is used for strike targeting and defense avoidance and suppression, among other purposes.
Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites for decades served as sentinels for the early warning of the launch of strategic intercontinental ballistic missiles. In recent years the infrared-based MASINT data from these satellites have been exploited to cue systems defending against shorter-range tactical ballistic missiles. In addition, the DSP ability to estimate launch points enables counterattack against elusive Transportable Erector Launchers (TELs). New, more capable systems denoted Space-Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) High and Low are under development.
Defense Meteorological Support Program (DMSP) satellites and related space, atmospheric, and surface observations are used by the Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Ocean Center (FNMOC) to make now-casts and forecasts of a wide variety of oceanographic and atmospheric variables. Such surface wind and wave forecasts are of the utmost importance in naval operations as well as in planning ISR observations. FNMOC forecasts are especially valuable over ocean areas where other meteorological forecasting services do not provide the information necessary for effective naval air and surface operations.
The Navy and the Department of Defense (DOD) are developing impressive improvements to airborne surveillance capabilities. The new Multimission Maritime Aircraft, Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and Aerial Common Sensor, together with upgrades to the Global Hawk and Predator UAVs and E-2C aircraft, will provide information to enhance sig-