Technical intelligence collection technology since the end of World War II expanded to meet national policy makers’ needs in a growing, more diverse geopolitical environment.
Airborne Signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection is a growing means to close intelligence gaps that fulfill policymaker’s needs. Since the 1960s, the United States (US) and Britain were the primary governments with such capability (Streetly 2010). Today many nations in Asia maintain an airborne SIGINT collection capability. In broad terms, the following will discuss SIGINT airborne collection platforms in use by countries in Asia. Specifically, however, this writing will briefly discuss current and ...view middle of the document...
According to Kotani, Tokyo was able to break British, French, Chinese and US diplomatic cables as early as 1940 (Kotani 2005). The small cryptographic office of 200 personnel focus was Chinese troop and air movements. In addition, Japan also sought indications of both British and American intentions, which successfully exploited British low and medium diplomatic cables as early as 1938. Notwithstanding, US and British high-grade cipher systems went unbroken. The Japanese also collected SIGINT against Russia. With much aid from Finland, Japan broke more than 60 Soviet military and police cipher systems (Alvarez 1999). After a proven record of cryptanalytic exploits, Germany, Finland and Japan collaborated extensively on Soviet and British military and diplomatic communications (Kotani 2005).
SIGINT and Japan Today
After the Allies' victory, Japan concentrated on rebuilding its economy. With a pacifist constitution, drafted by the US, Japan would largely avoid national security policy. Rather, Japan would rely on the US-Japan Security Alliance for military protection. However, after 1990 and especially post-911, Japan made many revisions to their military doctrine as well as a number of Emergency Legislative moves that altered its defense capabilities (Hughes 2004). According to Oros, “two types of institutions are involved” (Oros 2002). Of relevance here, is the Defense Intelligence Headquarters (DIH), which is Japan’s intelligence agency. 1,200 military and 400 Japanese civilian employees analyze SIGINT, which is under the DIH’s signal branch with 215 different departments (Oros 2002). As stated above, airborne SIGINT collection platforms are a focus for US-Japan SIGINT cooperation in intelligence collection. In addition to manned platforms, the two countries will also develop under a Joint Research and Development program, according to Jane’s Defense Weekly, “… high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aircraft” (Hardy 2013).
The above mentioned, condensed, review of SIGINT...