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Preparing the Air Operations Center to Leverage the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Capabilities of Current and Future Aircraft

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Technical Report

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Air Command And Staff College Mawell AFB United States

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The history of air power began when the French Army realized it could use air balloons to generate their own synthetic high ground. Access to the third dimension permitted increased battle field clarity and thus helped commanders make maneuver adjustments to gain an advantage on the enemy. With the development of the aircraft, the emphasis on using the third dimension for observation fell victim to the aircrafts ability to act as its own kinetic maneuver arm. The emphasis placed on the aircrafts kinetic capabilities helped justify a separate service but it also created a cultural rift between those charged to provide battlefield clarity Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance or ISR and those charged to employ the aircrafts kinetic potential Operations. This rift between ISR and Operations lasted through the last decade and recently began to close due to mission requirements, resource constraints, and advanced technology that dictated the two mission sets recombine. Today, multi-role Remotely Piloted Aircraft RPAs and ISR capable fighters CAN do both missions on a single sortie. However, antiquated Air Operations Center AOC processes and cultural inertia that supports the continued separation of ISR and Operations prevents such efficiencies. This paper will explain that the continued separation of ISR and Operations will be untenable in future conflicts and thus the AOC must adopt processes which encourage ISR and Operations integration versus the current processes which encourage ISR and Operations de-confliction.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Intelligence
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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