Persistent ISR from UAVs: Doctrinal Considerations for Operational Warfare
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs of all varieties are saturating the battlespace, but little doctrine exists for their employment. At the operational level of war, UAVs are particularly valuable for providing persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance ISR especially in the Global War on Terror GWOT, where persistent ISR helps the commander overcome a small force-to-space ratio with time-sensitive targeting. The commander must balance the need for pre-planned collection missions with flexible coverage schemes. Tactical units are increasingly able to directly receive the data from such missions in raw format, but this must be balanced against the need for professional analysis of that data. At the operational level, significant command and control issues must be settled, such as the current trend toward overly centralized control enabled by network-centric continuous imagery feeds. This in turn mandates a need for tempering the desire for more information, as the intake can quickly become overwhelming. Additionally, commanders must avoid taking control of UAVs operated by tactical level units. Conversely, those tactical units should be allowed to have some degree of control over higher level UAVs, depending on the nature of the objectives they are pursuing. These issues point to the need for revisiting the doctrine guiding ISR and commandcontrol principles.
- Pilotless Aircraft
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics