After many years in the reconnaissance business, having had the good fortune to participate both operationally and as a staff person, and now, broadening my perspectives even further by dint of my current role as an all-source intelligence collection manager, I have distilled in my mind that there are four major, consistent underlying factors or elements that control or direct the "fate," so to speak, of most all functional areas such as airborne reconnaissance and the systems or specific assets that compose the "tools" used in that area. I would really rather talk about flying fast in the weeds in an RF-4, but my four main "factors" are, I think, worth reviewing with you. They are: the political factor; the operational factor; the technological factor and the one that I will dwell most on here today -the budget / acquisition factor. The thrust is to try to get our hands around what really does influence which reconnaissance systems we acquire and how many, when we get them and how and where we use them. There are obvious interlinkages between the "factors" that I will discuss, but I will truly try to keep the convolutions and opacity to a minimum.