Objectives: Focus AF ISR on winning today, while preparing for tomorrow. The RTF shall pursue research to discover new and innovative ways to increase operational agility and more fully realize multi-domain integration.
More specifically, the ISR Task Force should work toward:
1) Revitalizing integration of ISR at the Squadron Level – Air, Space, and Cyber.
2) Developing ISR Airmen to lead joint operations, to include evolving composition and training of ISR organizations to deploy as a JTF HQ.
3) Reaching Next Generation ISR Dominance through exploitation of Publically Available Information.
4) Mastering ISR command and control in the multi-domain battlespace; and
5) Transforming the ISR Enterprise to perform automation, machine learning, and deep learning.
“The Joint Force should fully integrate ISR into operations, leveraging it as a force multiplier to increase the effectiveness of other military capabilities.” Martin E. Dempsey, CJCS
Description: As one of the Air Force’s five enduring core missions, ISR is integral to Global Vigilance and foundational to Global Reach and Global Power. With the continuing challenges of the 21st Century, it is imperative senior leaders fully leverage the vast array of national capabilities along with those of the Total Force, our sister Services, the Intelligence Community (IC) and our international partners.
Thesis and scope: The course focuses on USAF and joint ISR capabilities at the operational-strategic level by critically examining “what to expect,” and “what not to expect,” from intelligence. Against this backdrop, the course enhances future leader abilities to critically analyze and synthesize ISR capabilities to improve decision making.
The course provides guided study and development of research projects that meet the requirements of this research seminar, supports professional development for Air Command and Staff College and assist larger USAF requirements. The final research product is a 3,000+ word research paper.
Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Research Task Force, Air University, Maxwell AFB, AL
/ Published August 29, 2017
Rodney Brickell, Col, Virginia Air National Guard
The technological capabilities of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs) are converging with the state’s needs for emergency response. The National Guard can utilize RPA’s to support Domestic Operations (DOMOPS). RPA’s, although not optimal for all conditions, are valuable assets and can provide enhanced support to operations. Through an understanding of the legal approval process and their operational capabilities and limitations, a state will be prepared to weigh the costs and benefits of RPA support to any operation. States will need to practice the way they operate in an emergency by including RPAs in future exercises, thereby by improving the level of understanding and confidence in these emerging capabilities. Planning and preparation are key to a state’s improved response options. Disasters are not planned, but responses to them are. RPAs warrant consideration for inclusion and response to DOMOPS.
Michael D. Holmes, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF
The Air Force Future Operating Concept (AFFOC) identified Globally Integrated Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (GIISR) as one of five core missions in 2035.1 The AFFOC called for “ISR professionals, with deep expertise in information fusion.”2 However, when exploring current intelligence specialties and their respective training and preparation to execute fusion intelligence, rather than moving toward professionals with “deep expertise in fusion intelligence,” intelligence specialties currently receive limited formal training regarding fusion intelligence, leaving the bulk of training and preparation to perform fusion intelligence to field units. This results in intelligence personnel with disparate baseline knowledge and abilities with an unpredictable and unreliable capability. Additionally, there is evidence that rather than creating personnel with “deep expertise,” the Air Force is creating generalists or jacks-of-all-trades. To develop the desired “ISR professionals, with deep expertise in information fusion,” the Air Force should establish a program to purposefully train select personnel who possess experience in intelligence and aptitude for advanced intelligence work in multi-source fusion intelligence, and then staff positions requiring the production of fusion intelligence with this cadre of trained personnel.
Nicholas A. Nobriga, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force
The unpredictable and complex global strategic environment the United States currently faces has stretched U.S. military forces thin around the world. The 2015 National Military Strategy emphasizes the importance of adapting to the changes in the global strategic environment, by suggesting the United States cannot afford to focus on only one area at the exclusion of others or attempt to be everywhere all at once. The United States must employ its limited resources with agility and flexibility in order to counter trans-regional threats seamlessly. This is especially true for the Air Force’s fleet of U-2, RQ-4, RC-135, and E-8 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft it refers to as Low Density/High Demand (LD/HD). Current worldwide demand for LD/HD ISR outstrips available supply and spreads assets too thinly across Combatant Commander (CCDR) Areas of Responsibility. With worldwide threats regularly crossing Combatant Command boundaries, the process for managing operational control (OPCON) for Air Force, LD/HD ISR needs modification. The Air Force needs an OPCON arrangement giving it the authorities to actively manage assets and arbitrate disagreements between CCDRs for ISR collection priorities worldwide.
Brent J. Cantrell, Major, USMC
In 2014, the CJCS published the DOD’s ISR Joint Force 2020 White Paper detailing his vision for how the Joint Force will shape, grow, and integrate ISR capabilities to remain effective in future operations. Of the eight initiatives identified, he emphasized that the most important was the development of a joint PED architecture that will replace the multitude of currently-fielded, expensive, and inefficient service-unique, platform-centric PED architectures.
Christopher D. Crouch, Major, USAF
The draft FY17 NDAA highlights the transregional, multi-domain, and multi-functional reality of current operations.1 Congress proposed to modify sections of the Goldwater-Nichols Act to facilitate transfer of forces among combatant commands. This bold move by the military’s civilian leadership highlights their commitment to facilitate flexibility in transregional operations and should act as a charge to the military to provide similarly novel, flexible solutions. Strategic C2ISR platforms including the U-2, RQ-4, RC-135, and E-8 are inherently agile with their ability to traverse multiple geographic locations in a short time. This paper proposes to answer the military’s civilian leadership call to maximize flexibility by rethinking the assignment of operational control (OPCON) of those agile, strategically significant platforms.
Mark M. Lowenthal, The Five Disciplines of Intelligence Collection, Revised, (SAGE Publications Inc, 2016), issued by course instructor
600 Chennault Circle, Bldg 1405, Rm. 171D
Maxwell AFB, AL 36112