A planning document depicted 12-man and 40-man stations, both with self-defense capability. It described the 40-man, Y-shaped station as a “spaceborne command post” in synchronous orbit. The key requirement was “post attack survivability”, the station would be capable of “Strategic/tactical decision making” during a general war.
Strangely enough the MOL astronauts only knew of the cover story that the program would be a space laboratory for military experiments and did not learn of the reconnaissance role until after selection.
NASA feasibility studies determined that a research space laboratory could be placed in orbit by 1967. However, to fund such a project it had to be justified by achieving a national goal, or an important science goal, or test of technology.