Obama administration approves new spy satellite program

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Very few media outlets picked up last week news of an oral approval by Obama administration officials of a new spy satellite program that will further blur the line between private and US Pentagon satellite imagery provision. The new plan, provisionally called “2-plus-2”, is said to replace the fiasco of Boeing Corporation’s delayed and hugely over-budget Future Imagery Architecture reconnaissance project, which the DoD terminated in 2005. The DoD now appears poised to punish Boeing by awarding 2-plus-2 “to Lockheed without a competitive bidding process”, later this year. Under the new plan, whose initial budget Pentagon officials have refused to reveal, includes building from scratch two state-of-the-art satellites for Pentagon use. It also stipulates increased collaboration between the Pentagon and private satellite imagery providers, such as DigitalGlobe and GeoEye, who currently pocket approximately $25 million a month from the Pentagon. Notably, the new contract has a “guaranteed access” stipulation, which gives the Pentagon “top priority and the ability to direct the satellites if there is a war or another emergency”. The contract is subject to Congressional approval, but intelligence officials have said they are “confident it will pass”.

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