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The Future of Air Force Motion Imagery Exploitation: Lessons from the Commercial World

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Technical rept.

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Dramatic changes in the security environment in the past two decades have led to a greatly increased demand for U.S. Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance ISR capabilities. Today, the Air Force must provide ISR to a growing set of missions, from the global fight against terrorist organizations to humanitarian relief efforts around the globe, while remaining postured to support major combat operations should the need arise. To meet these requirements, the Air Force is currently undertaking unprecedented measures to expand and enhance its ISR capabilities. Particular urgency has been attached to cultivating its fleet of sophisticated remotely piloted aircraft RPAs to support current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Equally critical to these efforts, however, is the Air Force s extensive processing, exploitation, and dissemination PED force, which is essential to convert the raw data collected into usable intelligence and deliver it to the warfighter. It is therefore imperative to assess the size and mix of the Air Force s PED force to ensure that the ability to conduct all necessary PED within required timelines keeps pace with the increases in the amount and type of information collected. In this report, part of a fiscal year 2009 2010 study Sizing the U.S. Air Force ISR Force to Meet Future Challenges, we addressed the particular challenges associated with the exploitation of motion imagery within the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System DCGS. Motion imagery collections from full-motion video sensors on RPAs have risen rapidly to the point at which they now consume the largest share of Air Force DCGS resources, and new wide-area motion imagery sensors now being deployed have the potential to increase the amount of raw data collected by an order of magnitude. The information explosion resulting from these vast amounts of motion imagery threatens to overwhelm Air Force intelligence analysts.

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  • Military Intelligence

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