Making Better Use of ISR

RAND Project Air Force issued a report in May outlining strategies for improving the manner in which USAF analyzes the costs and benefits of its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance collection strategies so that its ISR assets—which are always in high demand—may be best allocated. First, RAND recommends adoption of a framework for daily ISR planning and execution that links the top-level commander’s guidance, operational objectives, and tasks to specific collections. Doing this will enable intelligence officers to deal with time-sensitive, emerging targets by rapidly comparing the value of an ad hoc collection with the value of the collection opportunities already planned. It will also tie ISR tasks at the tactical level more closely to campaign objectives, RAND states. Second, RAND suggests a suite of analysis models that allows ISR planners to evaluate planned collections in a simulated, dynamic combat environment with time-sensitive targets. Third, RAND calls for an end-to-end assessment process to monitor and evaluate daily operations that is not limited to the tactical level but rather gauges how well the ISR systems satisfied the commander’s objectives. Together, these three methodologies “should help the Air Force ensure the best use of limited intelligence assets,” RAND writes.