Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
ItemNo Preview AvailableThe corporatisation of Pine GapBall, D ; Robinson, B ; Dorling, P ; TANTER, R (Nautilus Institute, 2015-06-24)The Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, located just outside the town of Alice Springs in Central Australia and managed by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), is one of the largest U.S. technical intelligence collection facilities in the world. The corporate presence at Pine Gap has expanded substantially in terms of both the number of companies involved and the total number of civilian contract personnel, and has changed significantly in functional terms, since the 1990s. It includes some of the major US aerospace and defence companies, such as Raytheon, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, as well as major computer companies, such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard. It also includes an increasing number of ‘pure play’ companies, who focus almost entirely on contracts from the National Reconnaissance Office, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA), such as Scitor Corporation, SAIC and Leidos.
ItemNo Preview AvailableThe Militarisation of Pine Gap: Organisations and PersonnelBall, D ; Robinson, B ; TANTER, R (Nautilus Institute, 2015-08-13)Many Australians associate Pine Gap with the Central Intelligence Agency, and it probably remains the CIA’s most important technical intelligence collection station in the world. Yet Pine Gap is much more thoroughly militarised than in the past, with units of all four branches of the US armed forces now present, with close involvement in operations of the US military worldwide, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US military personnel now comprise about 66 per cent of the US Government employees (not counting contractor personnel) at Pine Gap. US military Service elements form a Combined Support Group (CSG). Through the 1990s, the growing Service presence supported Pine Gap’s primary (and during that period its sole) role, that of controlling and processing and analysing SIGINT collected by the NRO/CIA geosynchronous SIGINT satellites. Since then, the larger proportion of the CSG personnel have evidently been engaged in FORNSAT/COMSAT (Foreign Satellite/Communications Satellite) collection. Officially, they are engaged in Information Operations, Cyber Warfare and the achievement of Information Dominance. In practice, this involves monitoring Internet activities being transmitted via communications satellites, scouring e-mails, Web-sites and Chat Rooms for intelligence to support military operations, and particularly those involving Special Operations Forces, in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are undoubtedly key participants in NSA’s X-Keyscore program at Pine Gap.
ItemNo Preview AvailableThe SIGINT Satellites of Pine Gap: Conception, Development and in OrbitBall, D ; Robinson, B ; TANTER, R (Nautilus Institute, 2015-10-15)Pine Gap’s initial and still principal importance to the United States lies in its role as a ground control and processing station for geosynchronous signals intelligence satellites. Nine geosynchronous SIGINT (signals intelligence) satellites have been operated by Pine Gap over the past 45 years. That role has grown as the satellites and their associated ground systems have developed in size, capacity and range of applications far beyond what was envisaged half a century ago – or understood by the host government that accepted the base at that time. During the ground station site selection process in 1966, one of the main criteria was that the horizon angle from the floor of the selected location and over the surrounding hills ‘should not exceed six degrees’. From Pine Gap’s latitude of 23.80° S and longitude of 133.74° E, this would allow connectivity (for both command and control and for data reception) with satellites stationed as far west as 60° E (or as far east as 153° W if ever required). The stations of the current three Orion SIGINT satellites controlled by Pine Gap make possible the collection of a wide range of signals across more than half the surface of the planet outside the polar regions – every continent except the Americas and Antarctica, and every significant region of contemporary US military concern. There is now just one US highly integrated geosynchronous signals intelligence satellite system, with comparable satellites operated by Pine Gap and Menwith Hill, with much greater capacities and much more focussed military roles than their Cold War equivalents.
ItemNo Preview AvailableThe Higher Management of Pine GapBall, D ; Robinson, B ; TANTER, R (Nautilus Institute, 2015-08-17)The higher management of Pine Gap is and has always been an entirely American affair. To understand Pine Gap today, it is necessary to understand the organisations of the US intelligence community and military concerned with the acquisition of technical intelligence, and their politics over the past five decades. For the first two decades, responsibility for operation of the ground control station at Pine Gap resided with the Ground Systems Division of the Office of ELINT within the CIA’s Directorate for Science and Technology. However, by the early 1990s control passed to the Systems Acquisition and Operations Directorate of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). In the mid-2000s the NRO itself underwent a profound change towards new organisational structures for integrating the imagery and SIGINT operations and making the whole system more responsive to users. The latest phase of these changes in the NRO stresses the role of ground systems, including Pine Gap, in creating ‘a single networked information collection and distribution system’ worldwide. The fundamental transformation of the higher management structure is more than an organisational matter. Along with the militarisation of the facility, it has important implications for Australia's involvement in the project. It warrants serious public discussion, which requires, in turn, greater transparency by the Australian authorities. As a 'joint' facility, its management structures are just as much of interest to Australians as to the US contractors to whom the NRO largely speaks.