Penetrating Air ISR under Review
Pentagon is examining how much penetrating airborne intelligence, surveillance,
and reconnaissance capability it needs to deal with anti-access, area-denial
scenarios, said Gen. Robert Kehler, head of US Strategic Command. "I am
personally of the belief that we will need some kind of penetrating air
ISR," he told reporters in Washington, D.C., on July 24. So far, however,
"budget circumstances [have] put us in a place where we can't make final
decisions," he said. Kehler said the evolution of potential threats to US
space-based information-gathering assets "is forcing us to go back and
look again at how much penetrating air ISR we are going to need and what that
should look like." Questions influencing the discussion include: how much
legacy ISR—designed for permissive environments—the Pentagon will retain, and
the extent to which future strike platforms will also collect ISR information,
he said. The Pentagon uses satellites today for the penetrating ISR mission,
said Kehler. "We rely on that from orbit, and how we lash that into A2/AD
environments is a part of this conversation," he said. STRATCOM, as one of
its functions, oversees the allocation of ISR assets in support of combatant
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