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Public Eye


"They who have put out the people's eyes, reproach them of their blindness."
John Milton, 1642.

September 11, 2002

OPSEC, Force protection, Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception, and the World Wide Web

Since we posted imagery of the Al Udeid Air Base, in August, we have received an overwhelming number of negative comments. We believe this is due to the general public's ignorance of the regulations governing U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing Satellites. U.S. commercial Satellite Companies such as Space Imaging and DigitalGlobe have to comply with a rigorous set of requirements to operate these satellites, and may be told to restrict sales or access to imagery for national security reasons. According to the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 (the Act):

"During periods when national security or international obligations and/or foreign policies may be compromised, as defined by the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State, respectively, the Secretary of Commerce may, after consultation with the appropriate agency(ies), require the licensee to limit data collection and/or distribution by the system to the extent necessitated by the given situation. Decisions to impose such limits only will be made by the Secretary of Commerce in consultation with the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State, as appropriate. Disagreements between Cabinet Secretaries may be appealed to the President. The Secretaries of State, Defense and Commerce shall develop their own internal mechanisms to enable them to carry out their statutory responsibilities."

Regarding Force Protection and CCD, we refer to Field Manual 20-3 Camouflage, Concealment, and Decoys" August 1999. Chapter 6 para 9.

"The location and configuration of most fixed installations are usually well known. CCD techniques that protect against sophisticated surveillance sensor systems, particularly satellite-based systems, can be costly in terms of manpower, materials, and time. Steps can be taken to reduce an enemy's detection of relocatable targets. Fixed installations are difficult to conceal from RSTA sensors due to the relatively long residence time of fixed installations versus relocatable targets. Unless the construction process for a given fixed installation was conducted secretly, defenders can safely assume that enemy RSTA sensors have previously detected and catalogued its location. Defenders can further assume that attacking forces have intelligence data leading them to the general area of the fixed installation. CCD design efforts, therefore, should focus on the multispectral defeat or impairment of the enemy's local target-acquisition process."

In English, what this means is that fixed facilities such as airfields are difficult to camouflage, and defenders should focus on physical security, and roving patrols to maintain security from ground forces, and air defense systems to protect against air or missile attack."

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