The massive slowdown in Russian arms development and production is being watched carefully. Among the “watchers” are intelligence specialists who analyze satellite photos at the National Photographic Interpretation Center at the Washington Navy Yard and at the nearby headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Defense Intelligence Agency.
Those photos and other information derived from U.S. spy satellites are the principal means of keeping track of Russian military activities. There certainly are other sources of military-industrial intelligence, but satellites tend to produce what are in many ways the most tangible intelligence—photographs.
Full details of the first U.S. spy satellite, which overflew the Soviet Union from 1960 to 1972, were revealed recently by the CIA.1 Known by the code name Corona, the system has been succeeded by even more effective satellites.