USAF to Release ISR Flight Plan this Spring

Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson speaks at an AFA Mitchell Institute event on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Staff photo by Amy McCullough.

The Air Force expects to roll out an “ISR Flight Plan” in “early spring” that will focus on what the next generation intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance should look like, said Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson at an AFA Mitchell Institute forum in Washington, D.C., on Thursday.

“We do some things very manually, with adding airmen to tackle issues. We can’t continue to do that,” said Jamieson, the deputy chief of staff for ISR on the Air Staff.

The flight plan will look out to 2035, though there will be a particular emphasis on what USAF can do in the next five years. It will be a comprehensive look at ISR “in all domains, to include architecture and human resourcing,” and it will focus less on modernization and more on the “how do I transform and where does our next generation ISR need to be,” she said.

Specifically, she said, the Air Force must change the way it looks at and handles data. Rather than starting with a particular platform and figure out what kind of data the service will get, the Air Force should “start with the data and work backwards,” said Jamieson.

She noted ongoing testing with AgilePod—a multi-intelligence reconfigurable pod—that is being mounted on the MQ-9 to see what the future holds for plug-and-play surveillance and open systems architecture.

“We’re trying to look at how do we actually do that? It’s not just how do I get my analysts more data. … It’s actually, ‘How do I use an action on the data that’s required to meet the objective and create an effect in the time and space of my choosing.’”

Jamieson said the Air Force is co-sponsoring an industry day along with the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association on Feb. 2, during which it will “have a frank conversation on where we anticipate we’re going and how we’re going to partner with industry and others to get there.”