Saturday, 7 September 2013
The limiting factor in the art of IMINT is resolution. Technically speaking, resolution refers to the representation of spatial units as image units; thus in a one-meter resolution, one meter is rep- resented by one pixel. Anything smaller does not show up, for it can- not be imaged. Resolutions as high as ten centimeters are possible today but not commercially viable, and with these one can already distinguish different makes of automobile. But with the increasing perfection of seamless photo reconnaissance, which can see under clouds and beneath the earth, defenses against it are being perfected too. An increasingly important field of military research and development is the techniques of camouflage and image disruption against reconnaissance from space. The total view of the earth has intrinsic gaps, both small and large, which could become a determining factor of blindness. The gap that today is probably the most important, besides resolution, is the window of time between the recording of an image and its analysis. In a crisis, only brand new images immediately analyzed by experts are of any use, and the most high-powered research today is devoted to closing this window through improved reproduction technologies and more effi- cient organization.31 Just as resolution places a limit on the visualiza- tion of space, transmission is the limit for the timeliness of intelligence; its “military usefulness” fades quickly until highly relevant material becomes merely historical.
Knowing the Enemy: The Epistemology of Secret Intelligence EVA HORN