Printer Friendly

Aggressive ISR in the war on terrorism: breaking the cold war paradigm.

Editorial Abstract: This article proposes a strategy to disrupt global terrorist groups by employing airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions to deny them sanctuary in weak states. The author argues against placing too much attention upon network-centric warfare and too little upon traditional strategic reconnaissance. Intelligence projection may prove more important than force projection in a global counterterrorism strategy.


Due to the imbalance of power between our armed forces and the enemy forces, a suitable means of fighting must be adopted i.e. using fast moving light forces that work under complete secrecy. In other word[s] to initiate a guerrilla warfare, were [sic] the sons of the nation, and not the military forces, take part in it.

--Osama bin Laden

FOLLOWING THE ATTACKS of 11 September 2001, the United States found itself in a new type of war, one for which existing military doctrine was ill suited. It now faces a dispersed, loosely organized, nonstate threat. No longer afforded safety by the oceans and no longer able to employ the logic of deterrence that proved useful against traditional state actors, the United States is searching for a proactive strategy for countering threats before they arrive upon its own shores. The US National Security Strategy of 2002 outlines such a strategy--a global war on terrorism: "We will disrupt and destroy terrorist organizations by: denying further sponsorship, support, and sanctuary to terrorists by convincing or compelling states to accept their sovereign responsibilities." (1)

This approach proposes two different strategies, depending upon an assessment of a state's (designated here as either "capable" or "weak") ability to counter terrorist groups within its own borders. The first strategy takes a traditional, statecentric approach against capable states, to which we may add the employment of military force to other instruments of national power, thereby coercing a state to cease support of terrorist groups. US decision makers will find this perspective familiar. The second strategy is tailored for weak states that, because of their inability either to detect or counter terrorist groups, may unwillingly provide them sanctuary. According to the National Security Strategy, "where governments find the fight against terrorism beyond their capacities, we will match their willpower and their resources with whatever help we and our allies can provide." (2)

The second strategy seeks to deny sanctuary to terrorist groups desiring safe haven (which would allow them to plan, recruit, train, and recoup) in states unable to control their own territory. The United States intends to deny such refuge by implementing programs to assist these weak "host nations." Known as foreign internal defense (FID), such programs primarily take the form of diplomatic efforts led by the US State Department to strengthen local governments. (3) Overall responsibility for all US military and economic security assistance to a particular country belongs to the chief of mission (the US ambassador to that country). Regional combatant commanders of the US Department of Defense (DOD) have instructions to support these chiefs in FID missions. This article seeks to alert State Department officials to the benefits of employing one of the combatant commander's most valuable military tools--airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems--in cooperation with a weak host nation to deny sanctuary to terrorist groups and thus support the effort against global terrorism.

This study has no intention of downgrading other sources of intelligence (such as collections from satellites or human intelligence [HUMINT]); rather, it proposes supplementing these sources with airborne ISR, whose sensors, now predominantly employed for tactical support, can instead play a greater role in counterterrorism. Further, it recommends that the chiefs of mission increase the use of airborne ISR sensors in their FID programs and offers suggestions to the regional combatant commanders and the US Air Force (as the primary provider of airborne ISR sensors) for improving the availability and usefulness of this capability in a global counterterrorism strategy.

Airborne ISR and Intelligence

What we have seen [in Afghanistan and Iraq] is a change in doctrine from overwhelming force to overwhelming ISR.

--David Stafford Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems

The Role of Intelligence

According to security-studies expert Barry Posen, success or failure in countering terrorism will depend upon our ability to know the enemy--so intelligence collection and analysis will play a central role. (4) However, according to Air Force doctrine, weak states typically have unsophisticated intelligence-collection agencies; moreover, their lack of resources and inability to collect and fuse various types of intelligence limit the information they can gather. (5) Current US military doctrine, therefore, recognizes intelligence sharing across US government agencies with the host nation and other coalition partners as a key component of successful cooperation. (6) We have as our objective an independent intelligence capability for the host nation--preferably one interoperable with that of the US intelligence community. Airborne ISR sensors present a means of attaining this end.

Advantages of Airborne ISR

For the host nation, employing US airborne ISR within its borders offers many advantages. First, it demonstrates cooperative intent with the United States in the war on terrorism--a stance that could lead to diplomatic rewards. (7) Second, it addresses the shortfalls of that nation's intelligence infrastructure, such as unsophisticated collection and dissemination of data. Airborne ISR not only provides intelligence that the country may not otherwise have on its own region (thus enabling counterterrorism operations by its own forces), but also establishes a forum for increased US-provided training in techniques for the exploitation of intelligence collection. Third, the presence of these assets represents a less intrusive (compared to US ground forces), relatively benign method by which third-party countries can participate in the counterterrorism effort. Finally, it can offer the host nation economic benefits (e.g., local firms would receive compensation for goods and services supplied to US personnel and equipment).

Conducting airborne ISR missions in cooperation with a host nation also provides numerous benefits for US counterterrorism strategy. For example, additional access for collecting intelligence on terrorist groups--especially in nations with large, desolate regions not controlled by the central regime--complements other sources, such as HUMINT, making available alternate or corroborating information. (8) Airborne ISR also boasts very capable intelligence-collection sensors, adaptable even as an adversary employs new technology and flexible enough to support a wide range of counterterrorism operations. Furthermore, using these assets to collect additional intelligence minimizes the size of the US "footprint" or military presence in the host nation. Additionally, airborne ISR can enhance efforts to share intelligence insofar as coalition partners occasionally fly on airborne ISR aircraft, and intelligence derived from these sensors is more readily shared with agencies of other countries than intelligence from other sources (which may be attributed to the airborne sensors, thus serving as cover or "plausible deniability" for more sensitive intelligence sources). Finally, once trained, members of the host nation's intelligence community become part of a larger resource pool from which US agencies may draw (e.g., HUMINT operatives, linguists conversant in local dialects, imagery analysts, and experts in local terrorist-group movements and activities). (9)

Airborne ISR contributes to the US counter-terrorism strategy even when its sensors do not collect by providing plausible deniability, as mentioned above. For example, aircraft flown as "trigger missions" over areas suspected of containing terrorist groups might elicit a reaction from them detectable to other sensors (even if the aircraft cannot detect the response), thus generating further intelligence-collection opportunities. Airpower can also play a role in psychological operations. (10) Other aspects of modern technology, such as the ability to operate at night, add to the psychological impact of US airborne forces on terrorist groups. Shows of force demonstrate US resolve: "Aerospace forces can ... use Air Force ISR assets to achieve 'virtual presence' as a means of globally projecting power." (11) If portrayed correctly, airborne ISR operations may also project a strong US commitment to strengthening the local regime. (12) Chiefs of mission must determine if a visible US presence will assist their local efforts; if so, airborne ISR fulfills this role. (13)

In many respects, airborne ISR compares favorably to other methods of intelligence collection. Much HUMINT--perhaps the most valuable collection method in the war on terrorism--is covert, highly sensitive, and not easily shared with other countries. Although not always as precise in terms of collection, airborne ISR, unlike HUMINT, offers the advantage of perspective--the vantage point of the third dimension. It also reacts more quickly in a rapidly changing environment than does ground-based collection. We can also adapt existing platforms to new missions (e.g., the suggestion that the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System [JSTARS] E-8B aircraft adapt to a wide-area-search intelligence mission in Iraq and Afghanistan to plot smuggling routes). (14) Airborne ISR can also leave a smaller footprint than other methods if we base the aircraft outside the host nation. (15) Neither HUMINT nor space-based sensors demonstrate an obvious presence; in certain circumstances, visibility may prove desirable. In some cases, we can achieve the effect we want merely by flying overhead.

Operation Iraqi Freedom demonstrated the value of airborne ISR as opposed to space-based systems. Air-breathing systems generated much of the critical intelligence collection during the spring campaign in Iraq. Space-based collection systems, although indispensable, still experienced "severe limitations in collecting signal intelligence and imagery." (16) Analysts noted that space-based signals-intelligence collectors lost ground as the adversary evolved and acquired newer technology (such as terrestrial fiber, packet-switching, and encryption software). Furthermore, orbital collectors still capture open emitters (such as radar, radio, and satellite phones), but upgrading the technology on orbital platforms is much more difficult than updating terrestrial or aerial platforms. (17) Space may offer the optimum vantage point for an early warning system (against statecentric threats such as missiles), but it must contend with severe limitations in collecting signals intelligence and imagery on nonstate actors who adapt to advancing commercial technology. (18) Increased reliance on air-breathing and surface collectors seems inevitable.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) proved increasingly valuable to military operations during the second war in Iraq. Although they offer more endurance and less risk than manned aircraft, in many respects UAVs are inferior to manned aircraft because they are less adaptable to a changing environment. Because we have relatively few of them, they are only marginally useful to noncombat support missions; their small payload constrains the number of sensors on board; and their vulnerability limits operations to a relatively benign environment (unless losses are acceptable to the military commanders). At their current level of development, it is unclear whether they offer a cost advantage because of their high attrition rate. (19) Further advancements in UAV technology may rapidly increase the capabilities of these aircraft, and increased numbers may make them more available for employment. For now, however, manned platforms still hold advantages in intelligence collection and dissemination for counterinsurgency and counterterrorist operations. Yet, we can exploit the advantages of airborne ISR only by employing these assets properly in the counterterrorism effort.

Although using airborne ISR to support host nations offers many benefits, the US Air Force does not currently employ this asset for that purpose. Instead, it emphasizes "tactical" networkcentric warfare at the expense of traditional "strategic" reconnaissance against terrorist threats. The ISR community focuses on near-real-time support of the trigger-puller. For the secretary and the chief of staff of the Air Force, as well as leading advocates of Air Force ISR, the emphasis remains on quickly locating and identifying potential targets and passing this information rapidly to a weapons system for engagement. (20) This procedure amounts to effects-based targeting (determining the desired effect on a system or an infrastructure by using force and then selecting the appropriate weapon to produce that effect) as opposed to the more preferable effects-based operation (which includes all the national instruments of power). The current focus on rapid targeting, although appropriate for most military operations, leaves critical gaps in any effort against nonstate threats.

The Cold War Legacy

The U.S. intelligence community is essentially a Cold War-era artifice.

--Bruce Hoffman

A Cold War Paradigm

Unfortunately, US military doctrine for counter-terrorism does not receive the attention it deserves. Although mentioned in the National Security Strategy and based on a significant amount of historical experience in counterinsurgency warfare, this doctrine does not enjoy full acceptance in terms of its practical application. (21) An aggressive counterinsurgency (and counterterrorism) strategy implies a level of activity and involvement in a host nation's internal struggles that makes many senior military leaders uncomfortable. (22) The US military establishment seems trapped in the Cold War paradigm.

Counterinsurgency does not represent the type of conflict the Air Force prefers to fight. Based on a state-versus-state conflict paradigm, our doctrine assumes the adversary has a static, hierarchical organizational structure and prescribes applying force to key nodes to disrupt enemy functions. Similarly, it assumes that the threat of overwhelming force will deter potential state adversaries. (23) As noted earlier, the Air Force emphasizes the employment of ISR for near-real-time support of military strikes on infrastructure targets rather than for support of the multidimensional effects-based operations that an effective counterterrorism strategy requires.

Unfortunately, the global war on terrorism includes very few statecentric enemies. Terrorist groups "present little in the way of infrastructure that could be targeted by a retaliatory strike." (24) Without knowing what the enemy wants and how he functions, we will have difficulty with effects-based targeting.

A New Mind-Set

We will resolve this conflict only by applying overwhelming intelligence, not overwhelming force. The adversary employs a distributed network organization, deliberately node-less and thus less vulnerable to attack. If we eliminate the leaders (assuming we can find them), the organization simply replaces them. Many terrorist groups are grafted onto or hidden within legitimate state infrastructures, making it difficult to target them with military force. It is operationally ineffective (as well as politically inadvisable) to blow up bridges in Colombia or Iran, for example, as a means of attacking drug cartels or terrorist groups when the likely collateral damage would undermine any legitimacy a strategist hopes to maintain with the local population. We must find some method of distinguishing the terrorist group (and the targets inherent in its organization) from the surrounding civilian populace. Therefore, intelligence collection and dissemination as well as the effective employment of ISR must become one of the major components of the war on terrorism. (25)

Current employment of ISR in a counter-terrorist campaign suffers from three conditions held over from its Cold War mind-set: a centralized control of ISR assets, a reluctance to employ those assets in politically sensitive areas, and an institutional resistance to sharing heavily compartmented intelligence. Centralized control of limited assets is almost an article of faith for airpower advocates, dating back to the quest for an independent Air Force. Our service has made tremendous strides in making centralized control responsive to combatant commanders (through reachback and advanced communications) during significant combat. However, centralized control is not reactive enough for numerous intelligence-collection efforts occurring simultaneously throughout the world. Such control is efficient, especially with a limited number of assets, but may not be optimally effective. We need a more reactive, horizontally integrated structure for national ISR assets to coordinate directly with US intelligence, law enforcement, and host-nation agencies operating in forward areas.

The political sensitivity of ISR missions has also remained a concern since the Cold War. Senior military and political leaders during that era were conscious of the political implications of ISR missions. (26) We have employed ISR assets primarily against adversary state actors, monitoring state infrastructure and military orders of battle. Typically, missions are restricted to international airspace outside national boundaries. Although they protect the sensors and crews, these standoff distances limit collection capability. The belief that US ISR assets might be employed in cooperation with host-nation governments, flying them over sovereign territory, has not fully entered the mainstream military mind-set. It is precisely this reluctance to employ airborne ISR systems in this manner that makes their use a more powerful statement.

Finally, we confront a pervasive resistance to intelligence sharing, especially with nontraditional partners such as foreign militaries, foreign law-enforcement agencies, and even other US government agencies. One relic of the Cold War mind-set holds that technology inevitably diffuses--a friend today may become an enemy tomorrow and will employ whatever intelligence-collection capabilities we share against us. (27) However, today's advances in the defense arena are exponential, and the gap in military technology between the United States and its closest allies is increasing. (28) Providing access to classified collection systems and facilities will not necessarily result in the compromise of US technological superiority, especially when a significant part of the US military advantage lies in the tactics of networkcentric operations. The US advantage resides not so much in the black boxes as in the training and integration of separate nodes and sensors--and in the personnel who make this system work.

The DOD is making some effort to increase the sharing of intelligence with other countries. Dr. Stephen Cambone, US undersecretary of defense for intelligence, predicts that "the Pentagon will make U.S. intelligence available to allies and friendly nations currently blocked from receiving classified data." (29) The Office of the Secretary of Defense's intelligence directorate is currently drafting guidelines to permit the release of information by the DOD and US intelligence agencies to coalition partners in the war on terrorism. According to Cambone, "we will not be constrained ... by all the things that currently complicate our ability to make that information available. That is a huge revolution in security." (30) The further evolution of employing airborne ISR may help.

Examples of the Political Role of Airborne ISR

In recent years, some nations have unexpectedly cooperated with the United States by allowing US airborne ISR assets to fly in their airspace to gather intelligence on terrorist groups. In April 2003, the United States and Georgian governments concluded a bilateral security pact allowing US troops into Georgia to train local units in counterterrorism tactics. (31) Earlier, in March, we flew several U-2 missions in Georgian airspace, along the Russian-Georgian border (provoking a reaction by the Russians, who scrambled two fighter jets to fly parallel to the U-2 along the border). (32) These missions were part of an attempt to bolster Georgia's own counterterrorist effort. (33) Similar cooperative missions have occurred in Algeria, the Philippines, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. (34) Additionally, "both Libya and Sudan have offered to share intelligence information on Al Qaeda's activities with U.S. authorities." (35) Whether this spirit of cooperation translates into overflight rights for ISR assets remains to be seen. But these post-9/11 efforts exemplify the approach that the United States must follow in the future if its counterterrorism strategy is to prove effective. Many improvements can enhance this strategy.


The Air Force in particular should expect high levels of demand for surveillance platforms and for analysis of the "take" of these platforms for the indefinite future.

--David A. Ochmanek

A successful counterterrorism strategy must disrupt global terrorist groups by denying them sanctuary in weak or failing states. Collecting intelligence about the adversary remains key to any successful application of this strategy--and airborne ISR assets provide a means of doing so. Key US actors will affect how the United States employs airborne ISR in this counterterrorism strategy.

What the US State Department Must Do

Because ISR missions can make host nations unattractive to global terrorist groups, the US State Department's chiefs of mission should know how to make these assets an integral part of an "internal defense and development" counterterrorism program. They must aggressively request that airborne ISR sensors support their local counterterrorism efforts and actively negotiate cooperative ISR missions, overflight permissions, and intelligence-sharing agreements with host nations. We could use the intelligence collected on such missions to target terrorist groups with US forces, or we could share it with the host nation, thereby allowing its forces to engage the adversary. Strengthening weak regimes enhances their ability to counter other illegal activities as well. (36) Sharing intelligence from airborne sensors and training the locals to collect and analyze it can bolster a host nation's ability to police and defend itself.

The visible presence of airborne ISR also deters terrorist activity. The monitoring of porous borders and smuggling routes can reduce the ease with which terrorist groups and criminal elements take advantage of weak regimes. The presence of ISR makes these groups less effective (e.g., by forcing them to relocate their camps or operate with less efficient communications). Airborne ISR assets also send signals of commitment to allies and foes alike that may become part of engagement and psychological operations. Visibly increased US attention would thus produce a deterrent effect on states that hope to avoid detection of their sponsorship.

What Combatant Commanders Must Do

Anticipating an increased role in airborne ISR sensors in local counterterrorism efforts, regional combatant commanders must prepare themselves to allocate more ISR assets to these missions. Doing so will demand devoting more assets to collecting intelligence on terrorist groups (rather than state adversaries) or supporting near-real-time targeting. Combatant commanders must also task their military planners to devise counterterrorism strategies that do not include force as the primary military instrument. Toward that end, planners must move away from a counterstate, Cold War mind-set. Nonstate terrorist groups (and their associated networks from which they draw support, legitimacy, weapons, personnel, and funding) are the adversary in this conflict--not states.

What the US Air Force Must Do

As the leading provider of airborne ISR sensors, the Air Force should expect to play a leading part in this effort. But we have room for improvement, especially in collecting and using intelligence: "The fight against terrorist groups with global reach ... will call for capabilities that have not, by and large, been at the forefront of U.S. planning and resource allocation for large-scale combat operations." (37) Three areas of concern dominate: intelligence collection, intelligence processing and analysis, and intelligence sharing.

Intelligence Collection. The Air Force needs to enhance its intelligence-collection capability, especially by acquiring more aircrews and airborne ISR assets to meet the current demand--not to mention the increased demand proposed by this article. (38) Our service also has too few linguists, cultural experts, imagery analysts, and HUMINT personnel. (39) Furthermore, rather than monitoring vast armies arrayed across a battlefield, future ISR sensors must be able to identify individuals and small groups in two very different environments: urban areas and uncontrolled regions. Terrorist groups often escape detection from government forces by hiding amongst a city's civilian population and use commercial means for communication, such as mobile phones and the Internet, rather than military communications--the focus of many Cold War sensors. Terrorist groups also seek safe haven by hiding in vast, uncontrolled regions (often inherent in weak states). Wide-field-of-view sensors capable of efficiently searching these areas (such as deserts and oceans) for human activity are required to focus existing imaging sensors that have a smaller field of view but greater resolution. (40) Intelligence officials must also employ sensors that exploit the close link between criminal elements and terrorist groups by detecting materials for weapons of mass destruction, illegal drugs and arms trafficking, or smuggling routes.

Intelligence Processing and Analysis. The Air Force must upgrade its methods of intelligence processing and analysis. Automated intelligence-analysis software sifts through collected data and focuses on important information, reducing the workload on analysts. (41) Automated database-mining software filters through communications and documents, searching for key words or phrases and then alerting analysts for human exploitation. Imagery software capable of quickly scanning large digital images and highlighting manmade objects relieves the imagery analyst from manually examining the entire image. (42) Unattended sensors under development can be placed at key transit points (such as watering holes or mountain passes) and alert analysts to activity. Historical studies of data in remote regions may reveal smuggling routes through mountain passes or across desert spaces. Such long-term analysis of wide-field-of-view sensors allows for efficient collection efforts using other sensors with greater resolution but a smaller range or field of view. (43) Across the board, the Air Force must increase its ability to search haystacks in the quest for elusive needles.

Intelligence Sharing. The United States must also address the Cold War resistance to intelligence sharing that would enhance a weak regime's ability to address its own security needs. Our FID programs are designed to strengthen indigenous security (to include building up the law-enforcement, intelligence, and self-defense infrastructure). As noted earlier, the US undersecretary of defense for intelligence claims to be moving in this direction, although such a change will require government consensus reaching beyond the DOD. However, the military might implement several techniques for intelligence sharing--specifically with airborne ISR assets--to enable FID and the counterterrorism strategy proposed in this article.

Intelligence data collected from airborne ISR is often easier to disseminate to host nations than other forms of intelligence. Many current bilateral agreements permit the sharing of data (sometimes even finished intelligence products) with other nations. The fact that airborne ISR sensors can adapt themselves to new collection requirements diminishes the negative implications of compromising their capabilities. Similarly, from a logistical standpoint, flying host-nation representatives on airborne ISR aircraft in their home country is much easier than stationing them in satellite or UAV ground stations based predominantly in the United States. Host-nation riders, who add a sense of legitimacy to the cooperative effort, actively participate in assuring their own country's security by monitoring US ISR operators to make sure they "look where they're supposed to look," thus providing a means of addressing concerns about undesired American surveillance.

We can also take steps to correct a critical US military shortfall by tapping host-nation intelligence experts to exploit the data collected with airborne ISR. Trained members of an increasingly capable host-nation intelligence community become part of a larger resource pool from which US agencies may draw (examples include HUMINT operatives, linguists proficient in local dialects, imagery analysts, and experts in local terrorist-group movements and activities.) We must develop the means to disseminate this intelligence to the host nation (ranging from handing over paper reports to installing downlink video stations). Subsequently, we may tap much of this developed infrastructure when counterterrorism activities progress to new regions (e.g., by integrating linguists or UAV imagery analysts into future intelligence-heavy operations). Doing so would allow more rapid adjustment if the global war on terrorism moves to new regions in which the United States lacks sufficient expertise. The employment of airborne ISR systems enables all such benefits produced by an increased sharing of intelligence.

Summary and Conclusions

The proposed counterterrorism strategy calls for disrupting global terrorist groups by making weak or failing states unattractive to them, thereby denying those groups sanctuary. Employing airborne ISR systems is a means to this end, all the better if host nations invite US assets into their airspace. Such missions greatly increase the reach of US intelligence-collection capabilities. Airborne ISR provides intelligence that we may share with the host nation and may even use to develop that nation's intelligence infrastructure. Such cooperative engagement enhances a local regime's ability to conduct its own counterterrorism campaign (which will subsequently free US assets to refocus elsewhere). Employing a visible means of collection sends messages to the terrorist groups and local population: that the United States and the host nation are committed to a counterterrorism campaign and that sanctuary for terrorist groups and their supporters will surely vanish. Airborne ISR collection and analysis offer a relatively inexpensive means of demonstrating this support, perhaps making this method attractive to third parties (such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the European Union). It also represents a less intrusive means of cooperating (compared to a large US ground presence) and thus may provide an opportunity for engagement with previously uncooperative regimes (e.g., Libya or Sudan). These operations deny sanctuary to terrorist groups and disrupt their operations by forcing them into less efficient means of operating, training, and communicating. The presence of such overt intelligence missions also creates plausible cover stories for the sharing of other intelligence from more sensitive sources.

Although the US Air Force recognizes the importance of airborne ISR, senior leaders seem obsessed with the integration of a network of sensors to produce accurate and timely intelligence for force application (and the accompanying vast array of weapons-carrying platforms). Such a mind-set limits the use of airborne ISR assets in countering terrorism. In a global counterterrorism strategy, the Air Force may learn that force projection is not as important as "intelligence projection." Airborne ISR can play a lead role in this new struggle.


(1.) The National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Washington, DC: The White House, September 2002), 6,

(2.) Ibid., 7.

(3.) Joint Publication (JP) 3-07.1, Joint Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for Foreign Internal Defense (FID), 30 April 2004, I-1. See also Air Force Doctrine Document (AFDD) 2-3.1, Foreign Internal Defense, 10 May 2004, 1.

(4.) Barry R. Posen, "The Struggle against Terrorism: Grand Strategy, Strategy, and Tactics," International Security 26, no. 3 (Winter 2001/2002): 46.

(5.) AFDD 2-3.1, Foreign Internal Defense, 13.

(6.) JP 3-07.1, Joint Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, 1-13, IV-3, IV-20.

(7.) The author admits the very real possibility that the overt presence of US forces may undermine the legitimacy of a weak host-nation government in the eyes of the local population, thus strengthening a local insurgency's base. In these cases, we would prefer less visible assistance. However, in many cases the United States intends to make its involvement known to all, or some, of the players.

(8.) AFDD 2-3.1, Foreign Internal Defense, 19.

(9.) This assumes, perhaps optimistically, that the weak host-nation government remains in power and that military/intelligence experts remain loyal. A moral dilemma arises when supporting one side over others in local power struggles, often inherent in weak host governments. The United States will likely be judged by the actions of the host nation that employs US-provided intelligence or training. An additional "practical" dilemma exists: weak host-nation governments often have problems with corruption, and the leaking of internal--and, by extension, US--intelligence is common.

(10.) AFDD 2-3.1, Foreign Internal Defense, 19-20; and James s. Corum and Wray R. Johnson, Airpower in Small Wars: Fighting Insurgents and Terrorists (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2003), 434.

(11.) AFDD 2-3, Military Operations other than War, 3 July 2000, 28.

(12.) JP 3-07.1, Joint Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, I-5, fig. 1-2, "The FID Framework."

(13.) A visible US presence may undermine the legitimacy of the weak host-nation government with respect to the local population. US involvement will almost certainly be used by the insurgent propaganda efforts. In such cases, visible airborne ISR may not be the preferred method.

(14.) Glenn C. Buchan, Future Directions in Warfare: Good and Bad Analysis, Dubious Rhetoric, and the "Fog of Peace," RAND Report P-8079 (prepared for Conference on Analyzing Conflict: Insights from the Natural and Social Sciences, UCLA, 24-26 April 2003), 24, http://fac.cgu. edu/~zakp/conferences/AC/papers/Buchan.pdf.

(15.) David Ochmanek, Military Operations against Terrorist Groups Abroad: Implications for the United States Air Force, RAND Report MR-1738 (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2003), 31-32, MR1738/MR1738.pdf.

(16.) Specifically, the JSTARS and Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft; the Global Hawk and U-2 imagery platforms; and the RC-135 and EP-3E signals-intelligence aircraft. Briefing, Dr. Loren B. Thompson, chief operating officer, Lexington Institute, Defense News Media Group's "ISR Integration 2003: The NetCentric Vision," Arlington, VA, subject: ISR Lessons of Iraq, 18 November 2003.

(17.) Robert Wall, "U.S. Signals Intelligence in Flux," Aviation Week and Space Technology, 14 July 2003, 26. See also Thompson briefing.

(18.) "There is widespread doubt within the intelligence community about the future of space-based signals intelligence. As enemies become more diverse and unconventional, they are able to utilize a wide range of technologies and techniques remote spacecraft are poorly positioned to intercept." Loren B. Thompson, "Satellites over Iraq: A Report Card on Space-Based ISR during Operation Iraqi Freedom," Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Journal March 2004, 20.

(19.) Thompson briefing.

(20.) We have named our conference ISR Integration, because that's been the main thrust of the U.S. military's efforts in the ISR arena....
 The major focus within the military services and
 in the joint-services arena today is on ISR integration--rapidly
 fusing and exploiting the sensor
 data from different ISR systems to speed the flow
 of correlated intelligence information to tactical
 war fighters, both for situational awareness and

 Network-centric operations are a key goal in all of
 the services' transformation plans, and ISR integration
 is viewed as an essential step toward
 network-centric operations.

Glenn Goodman, editor of ISR Journal (introductory remarks to Defense News Media Group's "ISR Integration 2003: The Net-Centric Vision," Arlington, VA, 17 November 2003). Dr. James G. Roche, secretary of the Air Force, warns that "all the information in the world is useless unless it can inform timely decisions. We must preserve and enhance our ability to get and use quality, timely, actionable information to shorten the kill chain--and put steel on target." Secretary Roche (remarks to the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance [C4ISR] Summit, Danvers, MA, 21 August 2003), current/sph2003_27.html (accessed 6 October 2003). Similarly, Gen John Jumper, Air Force chief of staff, asserts that "the day is coming when prompt global strike will be a reality, when the kill chain will be reliably and consistently compressed to minutes instead of hours or days, and when the sum of all our sensor, command and control, and information capabilities will be a cursor on the target and steel on the enemy." "Technology-to-Warfighter: Delivering Advantages to Airmen," Chief's Sight Picture, 17July 2003, (accessed 24 March 2004).

(21.) Steven Metz, Counterinsurgency: Strategy and the Phoenix of American Capability (Carlisle Barracks, PA: Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, 28 February 1995), 26.

(22.) For a discussion of the initial caution (or reluctance) demonstrated by Gen Charles Holland, US special operations commander, to take on the mission of running a global counterterrorism strategy and the friction this caused with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, see Rowan Scarborough, "Rumsfeld's War: Excerpt 1," Washington Times, 23 February 2004, http://washingtontimes. com/national/20040223-012306-4708.htm (accessed 1 March 2004). The article quotes Stephen Cambone: "Holland was given the keys to the kingdom and he didn't want to pick them up."

(23.) Raphael Perl, Terrorism, the Future, and U.S. Foreign Policy, Issue Brief for Congress, CRS Report IB95112 (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Congressional Research Division, 11 April 2003), CRS-12, http://www.

(24.) Ochmanek, Military Operations against Terrorist Groups, 20.

(25.) Corum and Johnson, Airpower in Small Wars, 434. "What we have seen [in Afghanistan and Iraq] is a change in doctrine from overwhelming force to overwhelming ISR, which was made possible by speed and agility paired with persistence of coverage." David Stafford, vice president of Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems, quoted in David A. Fulghum, "Intel, Not Bombs," Aviation Week and Space Technology, 15 September 2003, 59.

(26.) For example, Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower expressed serious concerns about initiating early U-2 sorties over the Soviet Union at the beginning of the Cold War. See Frederick J. Ferrer, The Impact of U.S. Aerial Reconnaissance during the Early Cold War (1947-1962): Service and Sacrifice of the Cold Warriors, 77ColdWarStory/00.25cwscvr.htm (accessed 24 March 2004). Pres. George W. Bush recently expressed similar concern about EP-3 missions off the China coast, following the midair collision with a Chinese fighter on 1 April 2001, and the intercept in March 2003 of an RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft by North Korean fighters.

(27.) Stephen Peter Rosen, Winning The Next War: Innovation and the Modern Military (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), 45. See also Samuel E Huntington, "Arms Races: Prerequisites and Results," in The Use of Force: International Politics and Foreign Policy, ed. Robert J. Art and Kenneth N. Waltz (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1983), 366, 375, 392; and Robert L. O'Connell, Of Arms and Men: A History of War, Weapons, and Aggression (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 9.

(28.) "The pace of the modernization of US information systems has been much more rapid than that of allied forces; and this has led to a widening gap in capabilities." David S. Yost, "The NATO Capabilities Gap and the European Union," Survival 42, no. 4 (Winter 2000-2001): 106.

(29.) Dr. Stephen Cambone (keynote address, Defense News Media Group's "ISR Integration 2003: The Net-Centric Vision," Arlington, VA, 18 November 2003).

(30.) Ibid.

(31.) Sergei Blagov, "US-Georgian Security Cooperation Agreement Provokes Outcry in Russia," Eurasia Insight, 16 April 2003, insight/articles/eav041603a.shtml.

(32.) Sarah Karush, "Russian Not Happy with U.S. Spy Flights," Associated Press, 26 March 2003, http://mailman. 008706.html (accessed 26 September 2003). See also Nikolay Gorshkov, "Russia Condemns 'US Spy Flights,' " BBC, RUSNET.NL, 24 March 2003, news/2003/03/24/print/politics01/shtml (accessed 26 September 2003); and Giorgi Kandelaki, "U2 Spy Flights over Georgia Help Raise US-Russian Tension," Eurasia Insight, 27 March 2003, departments/insight/articles/eav032703.shtml (accessed 26 September 2003).

(33.) Alexand4er Rondeli, president, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, quoted in Andrew Curry, "Georgia on Their Minds," U.S. News and World Report, 6 October 2003, usnews/news/articles/031006/ (accessed 27 March 2004).

(34.) "President Bush has expressed a willingness to provide military aid to 'governments everywhere' in the fight against terrorism." Perl, Terrorism, the Future, and U.S. Foreign Policy, iii.
 After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Washington stepped
 up military assistance to Algiers in its 12-year civil war
 against Islamic extremist groups. The US military involvement
 is also part of a larger US antiterrorism
 campaign in the vast, desolate Sahel region in North
 Africa ... that US intelligence officials fear could become
 a primary training ground for radicals exporting
 terrorism around the world. "The US government
 has an ongoing program known as the Pan-Sahel Initiative
 which provides training and support to Chad,
 Niger, Mali, and Mauritania to help them control their
 borders, interdict smuggling, and deny use of their
 national territories to terrorists and other international
 criminals," a Defense Department official said.

Bryan Bender, "US Search for Qaeda Turns to Algeria," Boston Globe, 11 March 2004.

(35.) Perl, Terrorism, the Future, and U.S. Foreign Policy, CRS-2.

(36.) Steven W. Zander, "Military Responses in Nonpolitical Conflicts," in Challenge and Response: Anticipating US Military Security Concerns, ed. Karl E Magyar et al. (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Press, August 1994), 276.

(37.) Ochmanek, Military Operations against Terrorist Groups, 33.

(38.) Ibid., 14. Besides the physical limitation of flying a few ISR systems to numerous, geographically separated locations, the small inventory of UAVs also negates the intent of unmanned aircraft. Limited numbers of UAVs make them more valuable to military commanders, thus increasing the reluctance to use them in high-risk environments (including weapon threats, difficult weather, and mountainous terrain).

(39.) The list of "stressed" US Air Force jobs (for FY 2004, from 1 October 2003 to 30 September 2004) for enlisted members includes cryptologic linguists, linguist debriefers, interpreters/translators, intelligence-applications personnel, imagery analysts, signals-intelligence analysts, and electronic-signals-intelligence-exploitation personnel. These categories are defined by "shortage of needed personnel to do the job; above average deployment rate; and long working hours." Rod Powers, " 'Stressed' Air Force Jobs: Jobs Designated as 'Stressed' for Fiscal Year 2004," 6 April 2004, blafstressedjobs.htm.

(40.) Ochmanek, Military Operations against Terrorist Groups, 22. See also Maj William B. Danskine, The Time-Critical Targeting Model, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University, April 2000, ay2000/acsc/00-050.pdf (accessed 6 April 2004).

(41.) Mary DeRosa, Data Mining and Data Analysis for Counterterrorism, CSIS Report (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 2004), 3, 6.

(42.) Ochmanek, Military Operations against Terrorist Groups, 24.

(43.) Ibid., 23.
COPYRIGHT 2005 U.S. Air Force
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
Author:Danskine, William B.
Publication:Air & Space Power Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2005
Previous Article:Contingency response group: time to expand the box and think "coalition".
Next Article:Updated Air Force publication: the U.S. Air Force Transformation Flight Plan, 2004.

Related Articles
Aggressive ISR in the war on terrorism.
Overhaul in the works: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability gets facelift.
Transforming Air Force intelligence.
Revised USAF doctrine publication Air Force Doctrine Document 2-7, Special Operations.
A house divided: the indivisibility of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Joint functional command for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance: Air Force mission to meet tomorrow's challenges.
Reserve airman play key roles in new human intelligence detachment.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters