Lt. Gen. David Deptula, deputy chief of staff for intelligence-reconnaissance-surveillance on the Air Staff, said the Air Force’s new Internet-based process for fielding ISR capabilities, which has been captured in a newly unveiled ISR flight plan (see above), connects everyone from USAF headquarters to the joint task force and combatant commanders in the field. “This is a culture change within the Department of Defense. You’re giving all [combatant commanders] direct access to providing input into this flight plan,” Deptula told reporters during a briefing in the Pentagon July 6. He added, “We’re using technology to shorten the decision chain.” The ISR flight plan will be constantly revised and updated, and currently features more than 900 already fielded capabilities, plus information from industry on greater than 2,700 developmental capabilities and more than 800 technology briefs on future capabilities. “If you want to play in this game, you want to be in the Air Force ISR Flight plan,” Deptula said. “Because if you’re not,” he continued, “quite frankly, you’re not going to get looked at.” (Deptula’s briefing slides)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.