First Fall Colloquium Series on Sept. 27th to feature Lt. Col. David Arnold
The Fall 2010 Colloquium Series focuses on the general theme “Space Policy” and features several leading experts in the field.
The first presentation will be presented by Lt. Col. David Arnold, Deputy Chief, Policy and Strategy Division, National Security Space Office at the Pentagon.
Topic: Revolutionary Bureaucrats: The Revolution in Intelligence
Place: Ryan Hall 111
Date: Monday, September 27, 2010
Time: 4:00 PM
About the topic: As Thomas Kuhn pointed out in his seminal work on revolutions in science, new paradigms seem revolutionary only to those whose paradigms they affect. Kuhn's work, especially in the history of science, but more widely as it has been used in the history of technology, is a significant contribution to the concept of revolution and deserves to be considered alongside Michael Roberts and Geoffrey Parker. Kuhn suggested that a new "truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." As Roberts and Parker pointed out, the requirements for a revolution to occur (or to have occurred) are manifold, from technological and organizational changes to social, doctrinal, and political-economic changes. This presentation seeks to meld the Kuhnian impact on history of technology with the Roberts/Parker impact on military history by looking at the concept of revolution in intelligence affairs in order to show that the invention of satellite-based reconnaissance was a revolution in military affairs. Therefore, just as important as the work of Roberts and Parker in military history, Kuhn pointed out those new paradigms--like satellite reconnaissance--seem revolutionary only to those whose paradigms they affect--like airplane-based reconnaissance. In the 1940s and 1950s the air force reconnaissance community was wedded to long-range bombers flying reconnaissance missions: "When you wanted to take pictures of something, you just got in your airplane, went out and turned on your cameras and came back and processed the film." Decision-makers in space program development rightly sensed that the air force--committed to the existing aerial reconnaissance technology--would not nurture a new space-based reconnaissance technology. The mainstream air force rejected space-based reconnaissance as technically crude and economically risky and continued to champion piloted reconnaissance aircraft. President Eisenhower, on the other hand, needed space-based reconnaissance to provide evidence that the Soviets lagged far behind in missile development because reconnaissance aircraft like the RB-29, PB4Y-2, and later even the U-2 could not reach every place in the USSR to search for missiles and bombers. To speed the development process along, a unique, ad hoc arrangement of free agents contributed to the maturity of a system of satellite-based reconnaissance. These independent teams of inventors began their work in the 1950s by simply reading reports others wrote; they finished by creating a space-based reconnaissance capability that revolutionized intelligence gathering.
About the speaker: U.S. Air Force Colonel (select) David C. Arnold is Deputy Chief, Policy and Strategy Division, National Security Space Office, The Pentagon, where he develops policy and strategy on national space issues related to national, international and commercial topics. After teaching history at the US Air Force Academy, he earned a Ph.D. in history at Auburn Univ. in Alabama. In 2005, Texas A&M University Press published his dissertation as Spying from Space: Constructing America's Satellite Command and Control Systems. He has written numerous articles and papers and volunteers as the editor of Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly journal.
Those unable to attend in person may view the live webcast by using one of the links found at
This presentation will be archived at the Colloquium website for later viewing. This site is located at http://www.space.edu/Academic%20Programs/colloquium.aspx