Mark Collins – 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: US Imagery via NGA

The US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the ultimate successor to the CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC), publishes a summary with pictures–one below, then more from the CIA itself and on the U-2:

How a nuclear ‘crisis’ was averted using imagery analysis
A look at the Cuban Missile Crisis through the eyes of National Photographic Interpretation Center analysts


DAY 11: Oct. 25, 1962

NPIC imagery consistently demonstrated for Kennedy the extensive progress made by the Soviets since Oct. 17. This image shows all the elements necessary to launch a missile with a 1,100 nautical mile range. Analysts could tell by the tracks in the ground leading to one of the missile shelter tents that a weapon in a high state of readiness was present. The image also demonstrated the Soviets extensive use of canvas to camouflage its weapons components and, therefore, its intentions…

Earlier on the NGA (it tweets @NGA_GEOINT):

The Increasingly Important US Intelligence Agency Most Have Never Heard Of

Plus at the CIA:

A Look Back … Remembering the Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis began on Oct. 16, 1962 — the first of the “Thirteen Days of October.” On that day, President John F. Kennedy was informed that a U-2 mission flown over western Cuba two days before had taken photographs of Soviet nuclear missile sites. The event was a watershed for the Intelligence Community (IC) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in particular. It demonstrated that the technological collection capabilities so painstakingly constructed to monitor the Soviet Union had matured to give the IC an unmatched ability to provide policymakers with sophisticated warning and situational awareness…

More here on the CIA and the U-2still flying after all those years


Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


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