Effectiveness and Capability

The Air Force needs to get better at measuring effect versus performance, said Lt. Gen. Bob Otto, who oversees intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance matters on the Air Staff. He said he recently returned from Afghanistan a bit “disappointed” with where the Air Force is in creating measures for effectiveness for its ISR operations. “If you can’t [measure effectiveness], how do you know if you have enough stuff?” asked Otto during his AFA-sponsored speech in Arlington, Va., on June 9. The service’s intelligence analysis needs tweaking, said Otto. Today, the various types of intelligence collected from sources like overhead imagery, electronic signals, or humans, feed into an analysis system that generates reports, including summaries of aggregated intelligence. A better method might be turning the process around by creating intelligence “requirements” first, then gathering data via the various collection means to fill the need. This will lead to a demand for more “all-source” analysts, who can make sense of more varied types of intelligence information. As this process improves, metrics for determining effectiveness should be improved upon as well, said Otto. (For more from Otto’s speech, read Capped Out and Getting Contested ISR.)