ISR Roadmap

An 18-month assessment of the Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance enterprise is drawing to a close, said Air Force ISR chief Lt. Gen. Larry James on Thursday. During his AFA-sponsored talk in Arlington, Va., James said the first part of the assessment—figuring out the “as-is” status of the service’s ISR capability—was completed in January. “Now, we are looking at the future,” and what the service’s ISR will need to look like in the post-Afghanistan period, along with the pivot to the Pacific, he said. Air Combat Command led a targeting roadmap effort, and the Chief of Staff “signed off” on that element last year, said James. “Now we have milestones” to fulfill it, he said. These include adding 88 billets to the Air Force targeting center, and “working with the Joint Staff’ to standardize target folders the way regional combatant commanders want them, he said. A Distributed Common Ground System roadmap is 80 percent complete, said James, and “should be ready for the Chief this summer.” An analytic roadmap, too, will be ready for approval by May, he said. James said he believes the Air Force’s ISR architecture must migrate towards processing of information, noting that “open source” and “all-source” intelligence—cellphone pictures, social media, news media, etc.—may in the future be able to supply a preponderance of the data used to conduct basic operations.