In July, as wildfires spread across the American West, President Biden met with the region’s governors to find better ways to fight the fire. California Governor Gavin News urged the use of military satellites designed to warn of missile strikes, and called the orbital fleet “a game changer” and fought fires.
Mr Biden promised to help. “When this meeting is over,” he said, “I’ll be on the phone with the Department of Defense.”
His call was not the first – or the 50th.
The use of secret military equipment to assist civilian firefighters was raised 35 years ago. The White House, the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, and other federal agencies have sought to establish a national system that warns of unplanned wildfires and catastrophic fires.
Pentagon tests and a short-term prototype approved. But the system was never permanent. The army, eager to protect its privileges and fleet of orbits, was always happy to close the pipeline. As a result, officials like Governor News now have to lobby for emergency use.
But record-setting fires could worsen and bring about deadly new dangers that guarantee an emergency response, according to supporters of deeper cooperation between firefighters and military spacecraft operators. The nation can no longer tolerate endless jungle wars and bureaucratic footsteps. They said it was a matter of public safety.
“It’s like fighting a disaster. If you don’t have enough precautions, you suffer.”
The parts of the United States that are destroyed by fire every year have more than doubled in two decades. And California fires have grown rapidly in size recently. Death and disease are not only associated with burning fires, but also with toxic fumes.
Nevertheless, proponents of the use of defense satellites should note that the military does not have an established program that issues fire warnings to local, state, and federal authorities. They also point out that the Pentagon’s spacecraft, when deployed against civilian and merchant ships, have repeatedly proven themselves to be the best at igniting spots.
In an interview, Jeffrey K. Harris, former director of the National Intelligence Office, which manages the country’s fleet of spy satellites, “called for the expansion of civilian use of attack-alert craft as soon as possible.” Scientists have seen fires intensify, he noted, “so why don’t we let firefighters take full advantage of technology?”
California, Mr. Harris added, “One of the largest economies in the world. And we will not put out these fires in the bud? “Military craft,” he insisted, “can save lives.”
In 2018, the U.S. Forest Service used the spacecraft as a test in California, quickly seeing four flare-ups. “I believe we’re just beginning to unlock the possibilities,” said Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, chief of the Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center, about the firefighting test. The Forest Service has called for a nationwide military operation.
Satellite-sharing advocates often refer to the military’s global positioning system as a role model. This fleet of satellites began life in 1978 as a highly classified system for transmitting precise location information to the U.S. Armed Forces. 1 Civilians gained access in the 1980s. Today, commercial uses include tracking vehicles and sending location data to millions of smartphones.
In an interview, California Democrat Rep. Adam B. Schiff, who heads the House Intelligence Committee, said American society should reconsider the overall role of the military in protecting and decide to cut their budgets or expand its domestic responsibilities. He added that the new role should include permanent sharing of attack-warning satellites with civilian authorities.
“A strong part of America has a strong infrastructure that protects our citizens not just from foreign invasions, but from natural disasters,” Mr. Schiff said. “We need to protect people from the growing intensity of this fire.”
Mr. Sch Schiff mentioned a personal meeting. In 2009, wildfires in California reached the largest size in the modern history of Los Angeles County, killing two firefighters, destroying many homes and turning hundreds of square miles of greenery black.
“I remember stepping out of my house one night,” Mr. Schiff said. “It looked like lava was flowing through the canyon – like a scene from a surreal horror movie.”
The main participant in the fire test is the revived debate center on the first generation of attack-warning satellites known as the Defense Support Program. First In 1970, the spacecraft was launched into orbit 22,300 miles above the equator in coordination with the Earth’s rotation. Fixed relative hanging on the ground allows them to peer in the same area without obstruction.
A satellite can see about one-third of the Earth’s surface, and can fully scan three planets. Their specialty is the burning marks of missile attack. But their infrared sensors – sensitive to invisible rays of heat – can see much more. Once, a spacecraft was able to detect where an Air Force C-141 transport jet had exploded over the South Atlantic.
The military has picked up 23 crafts over the decades at an estimated cost of 15 15 billion. Their current numbers and orbital positions are classified mysteries. By Washington standards, their operating costs are relatively low. The military contractor was recently awarded a renewal contract for দশ 223 million over ten years, or .3 22.3 million a year.
Military craft in geo-synchronous orbit The lower coast has an edge over civilian satellites that move steadily over the Earth’s surface. Spacecraft in lower orbits often see specific sites, often blinding them to new fires, suddenly catching fire and changing flames. Pictures of NASA’s firefighting program are up to five hours old. In contrast, military craft scans the earth every 10 seconds.
During the fire season, interesting images from the space fleet of satellite companies and civilian agencies are often released, but those spacecraft can usually catch fire only after they are too large.
In the mid-1900s, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Dr. Hard learned that attack-warning satellites could see fires. Discussed with each other. After the Cold War, the White House hired the country’s intelligence agencies and satellites for new tasks of environmental destruction, and the CIA funded several pioneering fire studies.
In 1993 and 1 In, Dr. Hard held a test fire event across the United States to see how well the military satellites did. The fuel included brushes, trees and grass. Experiments have shown that spacecraft can easily catch fire, even when the fire is relatively small and easily suppressed.
In July 1996, the CIA director gave a public speech stating that his agency had recently helped the U.S. Forest Service fight the devastating wildfires in Alaska.
Increased support for permanent management in the Clinton administration and in Congress. Leads the National Reconnaissance Office. The three federal agencies that operate the three types of satellites – for land use, antagonism and weather monitoring – help set the prototype. This was known as the Hazard Support System.
The warning center came alive in 1999 but died almost immediately due to lack of funds. Mourning his death, Hawaii Democrat Senator Daniel K. Akaka called it “a small program with a huge return.” Congressional investigators have blamed poor interracial management.
Nevertheless, the idea of military assistance for firefighters continues to gain support. In 2000, the Aerospace Corporation, which conducted research for the Pentagon, published a detailed study showing that the spacecraft could easily intentionally track grass fires in more than one million square miles of African savannah.
In 2010, an editorial in Space News, an industrial publication, called on the military to establish a national fire alert.
Experts questioned whether civilian satellites – which have an increasing number of sensors that detect not only visible light but also heat rays – could be better or even better than military craft.
In 2012, the CIA’s environmental force, Media, compared the two methods in a global experiment. The target was Brazil and its vast forests, which farmers often set on fire to clear land. Military strike-warning satellites have surfaced. Their geological location gives them a continuous view, where civilian satellites in low orbit move and move for hours on end, often leaving them unable to detect new combustion.
California started using military spacecraft on a temporary basis in 2018. ”
The main problem was limited access. Most recently, the use of military resources was supposed to end on September 30, the end of the federal government’s fiscal year. So, in the summer, the state of California began a lobbying campaign.
In late July, Governor News presented his speech to President Biden. “It’s hard,” said Mr. Newsom said about the approval process. “Every year, we fight for a one-year extension.” Mr. A state congressional delegation led by Schiff and Senator Diane Feinstein sent a follow-up letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin.
When the request was approved, Mr. Schiff made a statement that the California delegation “will continue to push for the program to be sustained.”
In an interview, Linda Jal, a former CIA officer who has led the agency’s fire and environmental research for decades, said it was a “traverse” that civilian officials faced so much resistance to a common move that promised to significantly increase public safety.
Civilian authorities may soon find better alternatives. Start-ups in Australia and Germany are planning to elevate fire-marked satellites to serve a rapidly growing international market. And Planet, a U.S. company that has built a fleet of about 200 imaging satellites, recently joined a start-up to assess forest fire risk.
But militarily the situation could get worse. The Department of Defense is now facing budget pressure that could shut down the defense assistance program and its firefighting assistance. The problem stems from a new defensive strategy that the Pentagon is running to establish.
Beginning in 2011, the Defense Assistance Program’s satellites were succeeded by a new generation, valued at $ 1.7 billion per spacecraft. Six geosynchronous were scheduled for launch into orbit. However, by 2015, such a huge craft was beginning to be considered vulnerable to enemy attacks. China in particular was seen at the speed of a wide range of anti-satellite weapons.
Today, in response, the Pentagon is rushing to create smaller, cheaper, and countless more crafts. This shows a huge number, greatly reducing the risk of an attack that destroys a significant U.S. capability. It wants to put about 10,000 satellites into orbit by 20226, to warn of multiple attacks. The issue is considered so urgent that in 2019 the Pentagon formed a new force, the Space Development Agency, to implement the sweeping plan.
Experts warn that the response to the relocation and its budget could make the elderly spacecraft the main goal of the defense assistance program.
A viable solution is to transfer satellites from the Pentagon to a civilian agency, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which operates the country’s weather satellites. Or a civilian organization can only take on the operating costs of the military.
Mr Harris, a former director of the National Reconnaissance Office, proposed a more ambitious plan. He said the U.S. military has developed a declared classification system that, if implemented, would allow information from all its attack-warning satellites হোক whether old, new, or medieval দ্রুত to be quickly shared with firefighters.
He said it was a moment to expand military support.
Harris said the fire situation was “going to get worse before it gets better.” As for the issue of public security, which is in line with the growing threat, he added, now is the time to “move the bureaucracy, to say what’s important. Let’s take advantage of this highly capable resource.”