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A Commonsense Approach to Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Operations

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Journal Article

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Virginia Air National Guard Richmond United States

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In the summer of 2015, Department of Defense officials announced that combat air patrols CAP conducted by remotely piloted aircraft RPA would increase steadily, from 65 per day in October to 90 per day by the end of 2019. Undoubtedly, this four-year-long expansion of the departments intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissanceISR capabilities reflects the ever-increasing demand for tactical reconnaissance using MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers to monitor current and anticipated crises abroad. According to February 2016 figures, the US Air Force and its distributed common ground system DCGS fly 61 CAPs per day.2 Looking forward four years time, without significant increase in either US or allied involvement, one can assume that the Islamic States territory and influence will continue to expand and that new conflict zones-perhaps in the South China Sea or the Baltic States-will emerge. If so, then the Air Force should expect that the demand for ISR and full-motion-video-based products from its intelligence operators will probably exceed the means to provide them.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Intelligence
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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