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Encyclopedia > JARIC

JARIC - The National Imagery Exploitation Centre




Following a series of successful covert air reconnaissance operations run by the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) prior to World War II, the Photographic Development Unit (PDU) was established on 19th January 1940. The interpretation section of PDU was officially renamed Photographic Development Unit - Interpretation and Intelligence (PDUI) on 12th June 1940.

Both units then became the Photographic Interpretation Unit (PIU) by 11th July 1940 and through a series of War Ministry reorganisations later became the Central Interpretation Unit (CIU) on 7th January 1941 and changed again to the Joint Air Photographic Intelligence centre (UK) JAPIC[UK] in August 1947. On 17th December 1953 the unit was finally given the name of Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre [UK] - JARIC[UK].

The JARIC Photographic Wing moved to Brampton near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire from locations at Medmenham, Wyton and Wembley in 1956 where they were joined by the Joint School of Photographic Interpretation (JSPI) in December.

In 1980 the (UK) was dropped from the name to reflect the closing of the Cyprus based JARIC(NE) in April 1975.

On 19th April 1996 the unit ceased to fall under operational control of the Royal Air Force and became an agency under the operational control of the Director General Intelligence and Geographic Requirements (now Director General Intelligence Collection), taking a more centralised government role within the Ministry of Defence.

On 1st April 2000 the unit stopped functioning as an independent agency and merged with Military Survey into the Defence Geographic and Imagery Intelligence Agency (DGIA).

On the 10th October 2005 the JARIC name ceased to be an acronym to reflect the fact that its sources of imagery had shifted away from those provided by UK Air Reconnaissance platforms to be predominantly satellite imagery based. The descriptor ‘The National Imagery Exploitation Centre’ was also added to the name to better explain the role that JARIC now provides not just within the Ministry of Defence but within the wider UK intelligence community.

On 10th June 2006, DGI (as it became after de-agencification) was renamed the Intelligence Collection Group (ICG) comprising the Defence Geographic Centre (DGC) based at Feltham, Middlesex, The Joint Signals Support Organisation (JSSO), based at Digby, the Joint Aeronautical and Geographic Organisation (JAGO) based at Hermitage and JARIC-The National Imagery Exploitation Centre based at Brampton.

Current Organisation

JARIC currently comprises around the same number of staff that it did when first established in 1953 (around 500) and is the UK’s prime provider of imagery intelligence, both to meet the demands of the Ministry of Defence and to meet the requirements of the wider intelligence community. Its role has evolved from the more traditional photographic analysis to encompass more technical intelligence disciplines such as MASINT (Measurement and Signatures Intelligence) and also GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence). MASINT, short for Measurement and Signature Intelligence, refers to intelligence gathering activities that bring together disparate elements that do not fit within the definitions of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT), Imagery Intelligence (IMINT), or Human Intelligence (HUMINT). ... GEOINT stands for GEOspatial INTelligence, which is intelligence-gathering by exploitation (analysis) of imagery and mapping data, whether collected by commercial satelite, government satelite or by other means. ...

History of the JARIC Crest

The Origins of the JARIC crest date back to 1940 when Captain Gerald Lacoste, Royal Artillary, designed an informal badge for the Photographic Interpretation Unit at Wembley. To fully understand the reasons for the selection of the Lynx as the centrepoint of the badge, one has to first understand the nature and origins of the Lynx itself. In classical Greek Mythology and the story of Jason and the Argonauts, the Pilot of Jason's ship, the Argo was named Lynceus and was reknowned for his keen eyesight. It was said in The Odyssey that Lynceus could ‘see into the hearts of the darkest forests and to the depths of the deepest oceans‘. When the Lynx was first discovered it was noted that it was a tremendous nocturnal predator and hunted its prey of small rodents, hares, deer and foxes, not through chase but through stealth and surprise attack. It was thought to have gifted nocturnal vision and so was named the Lynx after Lynceus. The Argo, by Lorenzo Costa In Greek mythology, the Argonauts (ancient Greek:Αργοναύται) were a band of heroes who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest for the Golden Fleece. ... Lynceus is the name of two people from Greek mythology. ... Odysseus and Nausicaä - by Charles Gleyre For other uses, see Odyssey (disambiguation). ...

One of the other quotes from Homer about Lynceus was that ‘He saw the cities of a thousand men and knew their minds‘ and so the symbol of the Lynx became a natural choice for a fledgling Imagery Intelligence unit designed for spying on other nations through the gifted use of imagery.

Nowadays it is commonly known that the Lynx has questionable eyesight and tracks its prey through a miriad of other sensors to augment its visual accuity. Its sense of smell can track a rat at 75m and its hearing is able to differentiate sounds from a half a kilometer away

Additional Links

NGA seal The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a United States government agency responsible for the tasking (collection), exploitation (analysis), and dissemination (distribution) of Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT). ... The Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) is a Australian government agency responsible for the tasking (collection), exploitation (analysis), and dissemination (distribution) of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). ... The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is a British intelligence agency responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance. ... Current MI5 headquarters in Thames House, London The Security Service, usually called MI5, is the British counter-intelligence and security agency. ... The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), more commonly known as MI6 (originally Military Intelligence Section 6), or the Secret Service or simply Six, is the United Kingdoms external security agency. ...



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