Demystifying RPA Operations Post OEF: Now is the Time for the USAF ISR Team to Enhance Multilateral Partnership Across COCOMs and Reverse the Tide of Public Opinion Toward Intelligence Gathering and Kinetic RPA Strikes
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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President Obamas opening statement in the US National Security Strategy NSS states, As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we will build new partnerships in every region, and strengthen international standards and institutions Our long-term security will come not from our ability to instill fear in other peoples, but through our capacity to speak to their hopes. As Operation ENDURING FREEDOM OEF draws to a close, the United States has an opportunity to rebalance its forces and focus on this principle of the NSS. Since 2004, there has been an emphasis on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance ISR full-motion video FMV platforms and their unique ability to bring real time situational awareness to a multitude of users. Yet, this unique capability also brings new challenges. Covert action by government agencies utilizing remotely piloted aircraft RPAs to track and kinetically attack terrorist operatives has proven successful, however, it has come at a cost to the reputation of the entire RPA force and ISR community. Consequently, drones are now viewed by many in the United States and abroad as purely covert weapons of death and destruction. This needs to change as it leads to a negative impact on US policy and serves to help the cause of the enemy. RPAs, and their manned ISR aircraft cousins, are awareness enhancers, capable of a multitude of missions including humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery. This paper explores benefits of utilizing US Air Force FMV ISR assets to strengthen multilateral partnerships across Combatant Commands COCOMs and revitalize the reputation of the RPA and ultimately US foreign policy.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics