Use of commercial imagery capabilities in support of maritime domain awareness
Ochs, Adam J.
Scott, Alan D.
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Maritime domain awareness (MDA) is a concern for all maritime countries. To know when ships are approaching their shores and what threats and hazards are forthcoming, MDA is imperative for protecting the homeland and its citizens. As technology has improved in the world of commercial satellite imagery, those who perform MDA have realized they can utilize these capabilities to improve their common operational picture. As satellites continue to improve, it is more feasible to utilize their products within operations centers at the operational and even tactical level. With the added benefit that this imagery is unclassified and sharable, and with the United States’ desire for coalitions and sharing with partners, commercial satellite imagery is moving into the forethought of many decision makers. This research focuses on current operating procedures for MDA, the capabilities and limitations of today’s commercial imaging satellites, and what ground stations are available to assist in the use of combatant commander-controlled tasking. Two major demonstrations of the use of commercial satellite imagery for MDA in this thesis provide lessons learned to be applied to future architectures and ways forward.
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