Strategy for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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In the last 10 years, numerous reports highlighted many obstacles to the integration of ISR in military campaigns and major operations. The root cause of these difficulties is adherence to a centralized, Cold War collection management doctrine focused on production rather than goals and objectives. This Industrial Age paradigm is not agile enough to meet the challenges of military operations in the Information Age a strategy-oriented approach that balances ISR ends, ways, and means will more effectively meet commanders needs and expectations.This paper proposes the purpose of ISR is to increase decision makers understanding of and ability to influence an environment and the relationships that exist within it ISR helps decision makers anticipate change, mitigate risk, and shape outcomes. ISR strategy, therefore, is a set of ideas that integrates organizations and balances ends, ways, and means in pursuit of that purpose. This paper will define the problem current collection management doctrine creates for implementing ISR strategy. It will then propose an alternative framework for ISR strategy using a commanders intent for ISR as a method to balance ends, ways, and means. Finally, the paper will offer practical recommendations for commanders and staffs on how to organize and operate to effectively execute ISR strategy.