ISR Review

The Air Force will soon begin an extensive review of its future intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance needs, but doesn’t intend to form any quick conclusions, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Friday. Speaking with reporters after his AFA Air Warfare Symposium address in Orlando, Fla., he said the Air Force will evaluate what it thinks its future ISR force structure should be, especially after a drawdown of forces from Afghanistan. The review will focus on the “balance” between manned and unmanned sensor platforms, and scrutinize the manpower needed to support the service’s long-term, “steady state” ISR requirement. Donley noted that wartime surge efforts have put a lot of MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft into the force, but said neither is “survivable” in anything tougher than a permissive battle environment. “We’re working on the Fiscal 2013” budget, Donley said, and the Fiscal 2015 and Fiscal 2016 budgets “are right in front of us.” He said USAF needs to “start thinking” about the long-term ISR picture now.