The days of SAGE are remote history. Their windowless cube-shaped buildings are abandoned or the stuff of tourism. Though the monitoring system which seemed so important in its time appears to be no longer, it has, in actuality, only ascended to its “higher” self.
By 1949, one expert in particular envisioned a team of airborne cameras, which would scout for UFO activity on a 24 hour basis. This expert was Joseph Kaplan. He called this program Detection, Surveillance, and Protection (DSP). It was a vision far ahead of its time, but he knew it was possible. Today we do have a team of satellite “watchmen”, and the program is indeed known as DSP, yet this now stands for Defense Support Program, and is supposedly only there to monitor for ICBM launches.
The military also has a team of super advanced monitoring and communications satellites that communicate via UHF with MAJOR Command activities, and Naval Groups. These satellites are (of all things) known as UFO satellites. The UFO here is supposed to refer to UHF Follow On., since they are the replacements for the aging MILSAT network. They could have picked anything as a title, but they chose UFO.
Although certain UFO historical writings mention the stereo camera experiments done during projects GRUDGE and BLUEBOOK, they are usually referred to as failures. It has been thought that these systems proved unreliable and were abandoned. This could not have been more incorrect, as the early surveillance programs, such as HEXAGON and CORONA (1) used updated forms of these very systems. Obviously, then, they were successes, not failures. Since these early “failures” came as a result of the “Flying Saucer”/UFO problem, why would we then think that the later programs had nothing to do with these same “problems?”
In the earlier days of Air Defense it was the Army who pieced together a point defense system, first known as AJAX/NIKE, which were later abandoned -as they each became outdated.
The position they took -declaring these systems to be useless and outdated- meant that we had no belief that the Soviets would launch any type of low-level attack on the continent of the United States. Since this was the case, only far sighted monitoring would be necessary, in addition to the SAC policy of First Strike, with low flying, high speed bombers. Over time, now declassified documents clearly show us how the Soviets themselves, obviously aware of our plans, began to put more, and more emphasis on shorter range, point defense systems. (2)
This put our plans at risk, that is, the B2 Stealth Bomber program, which was designed to fly at low levels, penetrating Soviet air space for their deep targets. Would this extremely expensive program prove to be a waste?
In our own country, we have seen many incidences which seem to be warning us that it was wrong to abandon our shorter range detection systems. We have only to revisit the Phoenix, Arizona incident to see this is so. There is no doubt something was tracked, and seen over our airspace, and other sightings would seem to indicate the same problem exists elsewhere. Yet we were informed, by experts, that there was no need for such systems, and so they were abandoned.
Maybe it is time to revisit this policy, and rethink our position in this matter?
(1)History of Satellite Reconnaissance VOL IIIA By Robert Perry for the National Reconnaissance Office
(2)National Intelligence Estimate 11-3-67
"Soviet Strategic Air and Missile Defenses" -9 November 1967