Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities have expanded situation awareness for U.S. forces, provided for more precise combat effects, and enabled better decision making both during conflicts and in peacetime, and reliance on ISR capabilities is expected to increase in the future. ISR capabilities are critical to 3 of the 12 Service Core Functions of the U.S. Air Force (USAF): namely, Global Integrated ISR (GIISR) and the ISR components of Cyberspace Superiority and Space Superiority, and they contribute to all others.1,2,3 The rapid growth and
1“ISR” is defined as “[a]n activity that synchronizes and integrates the planning and operation of sensors, assets, and processing, exploitation, and dissemination systems in direct support of current and future operations. This is an integrated intelligence and operations function.” SOURCE: Department of Defense (DoD). 2010. “Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (Joint Publication 1-02). 8 November. As amended through 15 October 2011.” Available at http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/new_pubs/jp1_02.pdf. Accessed February 6, 2012.
2“Service Core Functions define the Air Force’s key capabilities and contributions as a service. Service Core Functions correspond to the specific primary functions of the service as described in DoD Directive 5100.01.” SOURCE: USAF. 2012. “GIISR Operations. Air Force Doctrine Document 2-0.” January 6.
3Following are the names of the Air Force Service Core Functions: (1) Nuclear Deterrence Operations, (2) Air Superiority, (3) Global Precision Attack, (4) Personnel Recovery, (5) Command and Control, (6) Global Integrated ISR, (7) Space Superiority, (8) Cyberspace Superiority, (9) Rapid Global Mobility, (10) Special Operations, (11) Agile Combat Support, and (12) Building Partnerships. SOURCE: Col Brian Johnson, Chief, ISR Plans and Integration Division (AF/A2DP), Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. “Air Force ISR: CP&A Overview.” Presentation to the committee, October 6, 2011.
evolution of the use of Air Force ISR capabilities since September 11, 2001, have been focused largely on immediate requirements dictated by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Managing this enterprise intelligently has involved many challenges, including the following: (1) the diverse mission and information requirements in the military services and the intelligence community (IC)4; (2) the diverse domains in which ISR operates (space, air, ground, sea, undersea, and cyberspace); (3) the need to balance joint versus organic ISR assets, and command and control; (4) the need to balance rapid-acquisition capabilities that will satisfy urgent warfighter needs versus capabilities that will satisfy long-term strategic goals; and (5) the need to balance sensor data-collection capability against capabilities for planning and direction, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and production, and dissemination (PCPAD).
Recognizing these challenges, the Air Force undertook a series of organizational changes, beginning in 2006 with the establishment of the flag officer position of Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force for ISR (AF/A2), followed in 2007 with the creation of the Air Force ISR Agency.5 In 2009, the Air Force developed and implemented the ISR Flight Plan process to focus Air Force needs on future ISR capabilities.6 The Air Force subsequently renamed this approach the Capability Planning and Analysis (CP&A) process “to align with [the] CFLI [Core Function Lead Integrator] construct.”7 The ISR CP&A process employs subject-matter experts from across the service who consider strategic guidance, analyze operational needs, determine operational gaps, conduct risk and solutions analysis, and produce a master plan to guide investment. The processes used are lengthy and personnel-intensive and cannot quickly respond to revisions in assumptions and requirements. There is considerable reason for and need to improve the present processes, especially to account for new ISR needs in the cyberspace and space domains.
In response to a request from AF/A2 and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering, the National Research Council (NRC), under the auspices of the Air Force Studies Board, formed the Committee on Examination of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
4The IC is composed of 17 member organizations and includes the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. For more information, see http://www.intelligence.gov/about-the-intelligencecommunity/member-agencies/. Accessed May 24, 2012.
5Col Brian Johnson, Chief, ISR Plans and Integration Division (AF/A2DP), Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. “Air Force ISR CP&A Overview.” Presentation to the committee, October 6, 2011.
6Lt Gen David Deptula (USAF, Ret.), Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Mav6. “The Air Force ISR Flight Plan: Origin, Rational and Process.” Presentation to the committee, October 6, 2011.
7Col Brian Johnson, Chief, ISR Plans and Integration Division (AF/A2DP), Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. “Air Force ISR CP&A Overview.” Presentation to the committee, October 6, 2011.
(ISR) Capability Planning and Analysis (CP&A) Process. The terms of reference (TOR) for this study are as follows:
• Review the current approach to the Air Force corporate planning and programming process for ISR capability generation.
• Review various analytical methods, processes and models for large scale, complex domains like ISR and identify best practices.
• Apply the current approach and recommended best practices to the Air Force corporate planning and programming process for ISR, in the context of the future Joint, National, and Coalition partner environment.
• Recommend improvements/changes to existing analytical tools, methods, roles/responsibilities, organization and management, etc. that would be required to ensure that the Air Force corporate planning and programming process for ISR is successful in addressing all Joint, National, and Coalition partners’ needs.8
In the double-numbering of the findings and recommendations presented in the next two sections, the first number reflects the chapter from which each is drawn. All 14 report findings and 3 report recommendations are presented in the Summary. Chapter 1 provides a broad context of historical factors related to the development of ISR capabilities and considers potential scenarios involving the use of these capabilities. Chapter 2 addresses Task 1 of the TOR by reviewing the current approach to the Air Force corporate planning and programming processes for ISR. Chapter 3 covers Task 2 of the TOR by reviewing various analytical method(s), processes, and models for large-scale, complex domains like ISR, and identifies best practices. Chapter 4 responds to Tasks 3 and 4 of the TOR by offering recommendations for Air Force consideration to improve its ISR CP&A process and an ideal model of an Air Force “system-of-systems” evaluation process for ISR CP&A. Findings are embedded in the text of Chapters 2 and 3 after the supporting evidence is presented.
THE FINDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE REGARDING THE AIR FORCE ISR CAPABILITY PLANNING AND ANALYSIS PROCESS
Finding 2-1. The responsibility for evaluating and informing decisions about Air Force ISR capabilities is diffuse, overly personnel-intensive, and divided among many organizations, resulting in an excessively lengthy process. Spe-
8Air Force ISR investments include the air, space, and cyberspace domains, which, in turn, provide critical inputs into the ground and maritime ISR domains. The Air Force sponsor requested that the committee focus specifically on the air, space, and cyberspace domains for this report.
cifically, the respective roles and responsibilities of the AF/A2 and the GIISR CFLI are not well defined or well understood, and appear disconnected. Both the ISR CP&A and the CFLI processes have positive aspects, but the processes are immature and insufficiently integrated.
Finding 2-2. The Air Force ISR planning process lacks adequate process definition and formal interaction between the Space Superiority, Cyberspace Superiority, and GIISR CFLIs. It also does not rigorously integrate ISR contributions from other military services, the IC, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Consequently, the Air Force process does not yield ISR investment priorities across domains and security constructs. The Air Force needs increased awareness of what capabilities it provides, along with the IC and other services, to the Joint fight to reduce duplication of effort and funds expended.
Finding 2-3. Air Force platforms do not appear to be included in Air Force cyberspace-related planning processes, even though cyberspace vulnerabilities do exist onboard platforms and in the connectivity between them. Moreover, cyberspace functions can play a very positive role in support of ISR, and ISR systems can help support cyberspace functions. Additionally, the complexity of the multi-organizational relationships involved in current DoD and IC interactions leads to confusion in both execution and planning processes, particularly for cyber operations.
Finding 2-4. The Air Force lacks integrated modeling and simulation and analysis tools that provide traceability from requirements to capability and that conduct operationally relevant ISR trade-space analysis across the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities, and policy (DOTMLPF-P) framework and within and across air, space, and cyberspace domains.
Finding 2-5. The Air Force corporate process “disassembles” the ISR portfolio planning analysis, classifies the elements into isolated, or stovepipe, function components, and then makes trade-offs and/or decisions without the ISR trade-space underpinnings.
Finding 2-6. The ISR CP&A process lacks the ability to respond in a timely way with appropriate fidelity to meet the increasing speed of technology development, operational requirements, and the required decrease in planning-cycle time, particularly in the cyberspace domain.
Finding 2-7. PCPAD is not adequately considered and prioritized by the ISR CP&A process.
Finding 2-8. The ISR CP&A process does not adequately consider affordability in capability trade-space analysis.
Finding 3-1. The U.S. Army’s Integrated Sensor Coverage Area (ISCA) construct uses a process that links requirements analysis with force development and portfolio management in a way that helps synchronize planning and execution. Keys to this linkage are the ISCA analytical underpinnings and the methodology that enables sensor-platform aggregations. Additionally, the ISCA construct uses measured performance to inform acquisition decisions in a manner that lends transparency, responsiveness, and repeatability.
Finding 3-2. The U.S. Navy’s capability-based process is collaborative across the Department of the Navy and is synchronized with the planning, programming, budgeting, and execution system and system acquisition life cycles. The process can be streamlined to address urgent needs. The process deals largely with naval requirements; utilizes existing PCPAD/TCPED (tasking, collection, processing, exploitation, and dissemination) architectures; and connects with other ISR enterprise providers through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD[I]).
Finding 3-3. The CP&A-like process employed by OUSD(I) addresses ISR enterprise concerns across the DoD and the IC and includes consideration of the capabilities of enterprise networks and PCPAD and TCPED. The OUSD(I) recognizes the need to improve the capability development process in the following ways: (1) by attaining better up-front fidelity on trade-offs involving cost and schedule and performance, (2) by providing more analytic rigor and risk/portfolio analysis, (3) by placing stronger emphasis on prioritizing requirements and capabilities, and (4) by strengthening the alignment of the acquisition process.
Finding 3-4. Booz Allen Hamilton’s Capabilities-Based Portfolio Management process requires leadership engagement, diverse skill sets to analyze a portfolio, and stakeholder participation and transparency. The resulting assessments are repeatable and rigorous enough to enable long-term planning, yet agile enough to incorporate new scenarios, priorities, and missions. The process includes the modeling of extant TCPED and communications architectures, which yields more realistic estimates of cost and performance and risk. Although many results are scalable, any consideration of broader, more complex enterprises requires good analytical judgment for the development of the right approach.
Finding 3-5. TASC’s capability-based assessment process employs Multi-Resolution Analysis (MRA), which in turn allows the complexity of ISR to be handled in a straightforward, transparent, tailorable, scalable, repeatable manner, incorporating a suite of tools that are optimized for a specific purpose. Such an approach can support a wide range of decisions and decision time lines.
Finding 3-6. RadiantBlue’s modeling, simulation, and analysis capability focuses on the physics-based capability and architecture analysis and mission utility analysis found in MRA. The BlueSim tool, combined with RadiantBlue’s methodology, has been used to successfully support trade-space studies of various ISR and PED architectures.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE AIR FORCE ISR CAPABILITY PLANNING AND ANALYSIS PROCESS
Recommendation 4-1. The Air Force should adopt an ISR CP&A process that incorporates the following attributes:
• Encompasses all ISR missions;
• Addresses all ISR domains and sources, including non-traditional ISR;
• Includes all ISR assets in a sensor-to-user chain (e.g., PCPAD and communications);
• Collaborates with ISR-related entities;
• Provides traceability from process inputs to outputs;
• Is mission/scenario-based;
• Is repeatable and enduring;
• Supports trade-off analyses;
• Is scalable in size, time, and resolution; and
• Reduces labor and cost over time.9
9The committee acknowledges that any process needs to accommodate the use of all levels of classified material in the analysis. However, security and time constraints precluded the committee from making recommendations for multi-level security analysis. Chapters 2 and 4 provide supporting discussions.
Recommendation 4-2. The Air Force should evolve its ISR CP&A process to an integrated, overarching ISR investment process with clear organizational responsibility identified for each subprocess.
Recommendation 4-3. The Air Force should adopt the proposed ISR CP&A process by incrementally building on its existing process using pilot projects. The scope of each pilot project should be compatible with available resources, be relevant to both current and future mission scenarios, and include metrics to measure achievement of the desired improvements (e.g., manpower reductions and increased timeliness).11
11The proposed process is described in Chapter 4. Also, notional scenarios are discussed in Chapter 1; they range from regional conflicts (Persian Gulf and Pacific Rim) to global, non-traditional conflicts, to homeland security scenarios.
WHY THE AIR FORCE SHOULD IMPLEMENT THE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PROPOSED AIR FORCE ISR CAPABILITY PLANNING AND ANALYSIS PROCESS
Given the increasingly competitive, congested, contested, connected global environment, the U.S. military will continue to face numerous national security risks from a wide spectrum of real and potential adversaries. To address such risks, the DoD is increasingly encouraging closer working relationships between services and the IC in order to reduce redundancy of effort and funds expended. The Air Force also can improve its processes for contributing ISR capabilities to other services and the intelligence community.12 The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently stated: “The U.S. armed services must achieve unprecedented synergy to ensure access to contested waters, skies, land, space and networks in the face of emerging weapons.…”13 The importance of ISR systems in providing critical, essential, affordable contributions to our national security, including indications and warning, missile defense, and global strike, cannot be overstated. At the same time, there is a significant disconnect between those who view managing ISR as simply acquiring and managing more platforms and those who view managing ISR as acquiring and managing capability. The value inherent in the proposed ISR CP&A process is sevenfold: (1) It enhances the quality, transparency, repeatability, and credibility of proposed investments. (2) It provides greater insight into cost, risk, and mission utility assessments. (3) It scales from quick-look through long-term analyses. (4) It expands the consideration and analysis of Joint and interagency capabilities. (5) It more fully addresses all ISR domains (air, space, land, maritime, cyberspace). (6) It encompasses the complete “sensor-to-user” chain including PCPAD. (7) It reduces the amount of time and labor required to answer investment questions.
12The Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted in 2011: “The military services each have their own ISR plans and roadmaps that focus on their respective ISR activities and are not integrated with other services’ plans. For example, the Air Force maintains its own ISR plan and metrics separate from DoD’s ISR Integration Roadmap and the other service roadmaps, and the other services have developed several roadmaps outlining ISR priorities and capability gaps.” SOURCE: GAO. 2011. “Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: Actions Are Needed to Increase Integration and Efficiencies of DoD’s ISR Enterprise,” p. 9. Available at http://www.gao.gov/assets/320/319163.pdf. Accessed March 21, 2012.