Not since the Maginot Line has there been a static, fortified border as prominent as the DMZ. And unlike its gallic predecessor, the DMZ endures as intended, a mutually impenetrable void between two permanently mobilized armies, bounded on each side by the oceans that shape the Korean peninsula. There are ways around the border for diplomats and tourists, guided visits and formal state functions, but for the observer looking to peer into North Korea from beyond the reach of its security services, the best way to study the country is by watching it from above. Far, far above. Space, to be exact, which is one reason the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is partnering with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to create unclassified reports on North Korea.
A press release notes that the partnership will “use available geospatial imagery and data to produce new, timely, and accurate reporting on the North Korean economy, society, infrastructure, and border activities,” and goes on to say that this is in accordance with a drive to increase the transparency of U.S. intelligence community. Given the fundamental opacity of intelligence agencies, both by design and tradition, it’s perhaps best to think of this less as transparency in the traditional sense of making obscure work available for public inspection, and more as a way to let others tell intelligence stories using information that can be found in the open source, or released into the open source.
Read the full article on C4ISRNET