WASHINGTON: For the first-time, Air Force technicians have developed a consolidated process and corporate governance structure to improve intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities in air, space, ground and cyberspace to meet current and future challenges facing the United States and its Allies around the globe, officials said April 6.
During a briefing to Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, ISR Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula said, “this ISR capability planning process won’t produce just a glossy ISR Flight Plan document; rather, it’s a living, breathing database developed in partnership with and fully transparent to all of the major commands and combatant commands.”
The heart of the ISR capability planning process is an interactive database, the ISR Capabilities and Requirements Tool (ISR-CART), which gives decision makers a one-stop shop for all ISR strategy, tasks, shortfalls and solutions. Analysts now have the unique ability with this central data repository to develop and analyze multiple ISR capability portfolios. This analysis helps combatant commanders develop the most effective and efficient force balance to meet joint warfighter requirements.
The planning process looks out 20 years and generates a full range of possible doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, and facility solutions. Further, materiel solutions range from those currently operational to those undergoing developmental testing and even long-range potential technology opportunities.
The overall process to populate the ISR-CART follows three steps. An “area analysis” identifies specific ISR tasks. A “needs analysis” identifies and prioritizes shortfalls. And finally, the “solutions analysis” step studies potential solutions for these shortfalls.
The ISR capability planning process enables commanders to assess the “health” of each ISR capability area, determine, sequence, and prioritize shortfalls and ascertain near-, mid-, and far-term resource applications.
Ultimately this corporate approach will produce and manage an overarching ISR Flight Plan which contains recommendations for a balanced ISR force that meets the desired effect of the warfighters as well as a comprehensive plan to support this force. It fully integrates planning for the Air Force’s Global Integrated ISR core function into existing Air Force and joint capability-based planning architectures.
“The success of this process rests on the partnership with the SECAF, CSAF, major command, joint and national intelligence community staffs as well as industry and academia communities,” said Col. Tim Skinner, ISR Plans and Integration Division chief. “It’s crucial we work together to build the right ISR capabilities that meet current and future Air Force challenges for operations in all domains.”
Following the briefing, Secretary Donley said, “Though a work in progress, this will be a useful tool that will help us ensure ISR is prioritized and right-sized.”
Secretary Donley added that this ISR capability planning model may have application for all of the Air Force’s core functions.