50th Anniversary Archive

In the 1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved reconnaissance systems that included high-altitude balloons, airplanes, and satellites to gain strategic intelligence on the Soviet Union, China, and other potential threats to the United States. On August 31, 1960, Secretary of the Air Force Dudley C. Sharp established the Office of Missile and Satellite Systems to direct the Air Force satellite reconnaissance program. On September 6, 1961, Acting Director of Central Intelligence General Charles P. Cabell and Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell L. Gilpatric officially established management arrangements for the National Reconnaissance Program. These arrangements consolidated many of America’s national space and aerial reconnaissance projects under a covert, highly compartmented National Reconnaissance Office.    



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