That year, CIA and the fledgling Intelligence Community (IC) beefed up analytic and collection efforts on Soviet missile development. CIA supplemented the Guided Missiles Branch in the Office of Research and Reports (ORR) with an ad hocGuid-ed Missiles Staff, added a Guided Missiles Intelligence Coordinator in the Directorate of Intelligence, and created a Guided Missiles Division in OSI. These units focused on the in-dustrial and economic aspects of the Soviet program. An IC-wide organi-zation to follow Soviet progress, the Guided Missiles Intelligence Com-mittee, began work in January 1956; one of its first statements concerned large gaps in US knowledge of Soviet missiles.23The first finished intelligence product CIA published specifically on the Soviet earth satellite program in 1955 was an item in the Current In-telligence Weekly Summary, a product typically distributed to customers at the NSC and to the president.On 21 April, OSI’s article, “Soviet Research on Earth Satellite,” noted a public announcement of six Soviet scientists on the Permanent Interdepartmen-tal Commission for Interplanetary Communication of the Academy of Science. OSI judged the Soviets had assembled this group to examine “the theoretical problems involved in the establishment of a space station” and noted that “construction of the propulsion device required to place a small object into an orbit around the earth is considered scientifically possible.”24In December, CIA released NIE 11-12-55, Soviet Guided Missile Richard Bissell. Undated CIA file photo
Intelligence Success or Failure?6Studies in Intelligence Vol. 61, No. 3 (Extracts, September 2017)Capabilities and Probable Programs, which included this assessment on earth satellites: “We estimate that the Soviets are attempting to develop such a vehicle at the earliest practica-ble date and could have a relatively uninstrumented vehicle by 1958.”25——1956——In January 1956, CIA desig-nated OSI as the “focal point” for intelligence on the Soviet ESV.26CIA officers were also assisting the Department of Defense (DoD) in its research into Soviet satellites and supplied intelligence to Dr. C. C. Furnas, assistant secretary of defense for research and development. Dulles wrote Furnas personally to advise him that Dr. Herbert Scoville, a noted CIA scientist and the assistant direc-tor of scientific intelligence, would be the CIA’s representative to DoD “on matters relating to the scientific earth satellite program.”27Within a week, CIA had prepared and supplied to DoD’s Furnas a four-page paper, Status of the Soviet Earth Satellite Program, that reviewed what the IC knew in early 1956 about Soviet progress. The article reviewed early Russian and later Soviet interest in space travel and ESVs from 1903.