The Air Force, having been prodded and pushed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to provide much more surveillance capability for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, reacted quickly and strongly to the report that Gorgon Stare is troubled and unfit for deployment.
The Air Force says in a statement that three of the seven problems cited in the testing memo have been fixed and that it will not field the system until theater commanders say they will accept it because Gorgon Stare will not be fielded until the theater commander accepts it. The service takes it responsibilities for developing the system very seriously, because, as the statement says, " lives depend on the quality of the intelligence products that are produced."
Here is the full statement from Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Vician, head of the service's media operations:
"This system is being fielded to meet a Combatant Command requirement for a persistent, wide-area surveillance capability that allows multiple users to access the data from one platform.
"This is a very advanced technology the Air Force is developing rapidly to meet warfighter requirements.
"Gorgon Stare is in the first increment of a multi-increment program, and the second increment will increase the warfighter’s capabilities by range and resolution.
"The document leaked was a draft memo that was later revised in January.
"The January memo includes three issues that we have identified and have fixes in place. The first was addressing critical Technical Order shortfalls; the second was Gorgon Stare Ground Station image and grid coordinate generation; and the third was Remote Video Terminal compatibility. We're working all three issues and do not believe they will affect the deployment schedule.
"Air Force leadership understands the importance of providing quick, timely and actionable ISR for the field. Gorgon Stare will not be fielded until the theater commander accepts it.
"The Air Force takes its responsibility seriously because lives depend on the quality of the intelligence products that are produced."