Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this provocative paper draws upon the U.S. experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan to highlight key lessons for integrating intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations into military campaigns and major operations.
The U.S. military's adherence to a Cold War-era collection management doctrine creates obstacles for ISR integration. This system of managing competing requirements as a basis for ISR operations has proven ineffective repeatedly in military operations due to the emphasis on collection statistics that do not account for operational realities.
In the Information Age, strategy has never been more difficult or more important. Military campaigning is now a struggle among multiple hyper-connected groups to learn and influence faster than others. Because tactical actions increasingly have strategic consequences, military forces must anticipate how their actions could influence groups and how the actions of others could influence those same groups. Generating relevant intelligence has become increasingly difficult, as the demands for both precise action and force protection multiply. Modern technology simultaneously challenges and enables intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. It provides a direct connection between analysts and consumers separated by thousands of miles but leads to ever-changing sources and methods for coping with complex operating environments and compressed decision cycles.
In the last 10 years, numerous reports have highlighted many obstacles to the integration of ISR in military campaigns and major operations. The root cause of these difficulties is adherence to a centralized Cold War collection management doctrine focused on production rather than goals and objec-tives.4 This Industrial Age paradigm is not agile enough to meet the challenges of military operations in the Information Age. A strategy-oriented approach that balances ISR ends, ways, and means will more effectively meet commanders' needs and expectations.