The Saturn Arch program is an airborne geospatial intelligence program intended for use conducting theater-wide improvised explosive device neutralizing missions.
The Saturn Arch Program began in 2010 under the direction of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), with an effort to implement intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities to identify and assist in removing IEDs from the battlefield in Afghanistan. By the end of 2012, the program boasted a wide network of aircraft and capabilities to expand the valuable service even further across the combat zone in Afghanistan. Saturn Arch had been conducted in partnership with the United Kingdom and Australia.
On 1 March 2013, a ceremony was held at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan to commemorate the transfer of mission for the Saturn Arch program from the NGA to the US Army Intelligence and Security Command. The transfer marked the first full transfer of a mission from a national-level intelligence agency to the conventional Army. The ceremony followed a transition beginning several months earlier by elements from the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, the Army Geospatial Intelligence Battalion, and Task Force Observe, Detect, Identify, and Neutralize - Enhanced (Task Force ODIN-E). The transfer of the Saturn Arch mission from NGA into INSCOM was part of a larger effort to bring highly effective programs such as Saturn Arch into the US Army as an enduring program. The intent was to facilitate the migration of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability collection tasking, processing, exploitation, dissemination and feedback into reach back operations at sanctuary locations in the US in order to better meet future worldwide intelligence needs for the US Army.
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