community, and invest in organic sensors and platforms to meet unique Navy Department requirements that will not otherwise be satisfied. The issue of sensor platform types is also discussed, since the requirements on these platforms are often intimately tied to the capabilities of the sensors they carry.
Warfare in the future will become increasingly dependent on technological force multipliers as the numbers of personnel and equipment shrink in response to economic pressures, and as adversaries avail themselves of similar capabilities available in the open marketplace. Surveillance and reconnaissance are two military capabilities that will undergo dramatic growth in performance as a result of the explosion in information technology. Processing technology will enable surveillance coverage rates that are orders of magnitude higher than those achieved today. Wide-band communication via satellite or terrestrial channels will provide surveillance products on demand to warfighters in the field, who will be provided with the data storage and the tools necessary to take advantage of them. As military commanders seek near-perfect knowledge of the battle space in which they fight, it is critical that both the capabilities and limitations of these technologies be well understood as we postulate sensors and systems that might exist decades in the future. In all cases, it is necessary to assess such future capabilities in terms of their military utility to find, identify, and prosecute targets of interest to the forces.
To fully appreciate the role of reconnaissance and surveillance on the future battlefield, it is also necessary to extend the several "system of systems" concepts that are emerging as part of the current revolution in military affairs. One such concept is surveillance/precision strike, seeking the seamless integration of emerging highly accurate sensor location systems with the new precision-guided weapons based on GPS, terminal seeker, or other guidance concepts enabling hit-to-kill accuracy in the end game. A second example is the automatic fusion of real-time sensor and intelligence data in the context of various geographic and intelligence preparation-of-the-battlefield (IPB) databases to find and identify individual critical mobile targets such as the Scud transporter-erector launchers (TELs) that caused frustration in the Desert Storm campaign. Each of these needed capabilities suffers today from shortfalls in either basic sensor technology or exploitation technology. Many of these shortfalls will gradually disappear, but some limitations will remain due to physics-based limitations or cost constraints.
A major issue for the future of reconnaissance and surveillance is the types of platforms in which the Services, and in particular the Navy, should invest.