The little known US agency as a useful tool in the new Cold War
“Compiled and introduced by Archive senior fellow Dr. Jeffrey T. Richelson, the DEFSMAC documents describe the origins and functions of this important intelligence entity 'little known to the public' that provided alerts on missile launches ranging from Chinese ICBMs to Iraqi short-range ballistic missiles during the first Gulf War.”
“In contrast to the other missile and space intelligence centers, DEFSMAC's mission was more oriented toward alerting and reporting rather than producing detailed finished intelligence reports on foreign missile and space activities. Among recent launches that would have attracted DEFSMAC's attention were two Chinese ICBM tests conducted in late July 2014, as well as the Russian test of a Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile in September.”
“The April 27, 1964, directive specified that DEFSMAC would be responsible for '(a) twenty-four-hour surveillance of foreign missile and space activity; (b) tasking and technical control of DoD collection activities against foreign missile and space activity; (c) providing technical support, including tip-off, to all DoD missile and space collection activities; and (d) current analysis and reporting of foreign missile and space events based on data collected and received by DEFSMAC up to seventy-two hours after an event.'”
“One released DEFSMAC product is its February 27, 1991, listing of Iraqi short-range ballistic missile launches, specifying launch dates and target areas. Other examples are contained in 1980 reports by the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center (subsequently absorbed into the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) concerning Soviet and Chinese missile facilities and tests. DEFMSAC products used in preparing the August 1980 report on the Soviet Balaklava Missile Test Center included New SLBM Launched from Nenonska on 28 January 1980 and Two SS-N-02C Naval Cruise Missiles Launched in the Black Sea Area on [redacted]. A December 1980 report on a missile test launched from China's Shuangchengzi test center relied, in part, on three DEFSMAC reports - PRC Launches CSS-X-4 to South Pacific; Second PRC ICBM Probable In-Flight Failure; and PRC Announces Reopening of the Pacific Ocean Closure Area.”
“... the focus of DEFSMAC operations has broadened considerably. In the 1970s, the 'primary emphasis was on Soviet missile and space-earth satellite vehicles (ESVs) and deep-space probes.' Then, as a variety of nations including China, India, Israel, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, and South Africa developed and tested a variety of missiles of increasing range DEFSMAC's alerting and reporting functions widened.”
These materials are reproduced from www.nsarchive.org with the permission of the National Security Archive.