This paper is the first of three papers associated with the military benefits of SWIR imaging. This paper describes the benefits associated with passive daytime operations with comparisons of SWIR, NIR, and VIS bands and sensors. This paper includes quantitative findings from previously published papers, analysis of open source data, summaries of various expert analyses, and calculations of notional system performance. We did not accept anecdotal findings as acceptable benefits. Topics include haze and fog penetration, atmospheric transmission, cloud and smoke penetration, target and background contrasts, spectral discrimination, turbulence degradation, and long range target identification. The second and third papers will address passive night imaging and active night imaging.