The United States is at a strategic turning point after a decade of war. As stated in the 2012 National Defense Strategy:
Over the last decade, we have undertaken extended operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring stability to those countries and secure our interests. As we responsibly draw down from these two operations, take steps to protect our nation’s economic vitality, and protect our interests in a world of accelerating change, we face an inflection point…. Out of the assessment we developed a defense strategy that transitions our Defense enterprise from an emphasis on today’s wars to preparing for future challenges, protects the broad range of U.S. national security interests….1
The evolving strategic landscape encompasses a vast list of uncertainties that include violent extremists, non-state actors, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, competition over dwindling natural resources, rapid growth in the availability and use of technology worldwide, growing global economic interdependency, and vulnerable and fragile commercial infrastructure.
For the foreseeable future, the United States will continue to take an active approach to countering threats related to the uncertainties listed above by monitoring
1Department of Defense (DoD). 2012. Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. January. Available at http://www.defense.gov/news/Defense_Strategic_Guidance.pdf. Accessed February 29, 2012.
global activities.2 The ability to carry out monitoring on a global scale will drive the importance of and dependence on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) for our nation in the future.3 The range of ISR capabilities will expand to monitor terrorism, support irregular warfare, support power projection into anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environments, monitor weapons of mass destruction and support arms control, defend our homeland, and provide support for response to natural disasters.4
Fiscal challenges, as always, will drive the need to allocate defense resources as efficiently as possible. This is especially true with respect to future ISR investments, because ISR touches all elements of the national security infrastructure as well as the nation’s commercial infrastructure. Today’s ISR capabilities consist of a mix of Cold War systems; modern air, space, and cyberspace systems; and a set of quick-reaction capabilities that were designed for specific point solutions. As the nation looks to the future, a key challenge will be how to integrate these existing capabilities with new capabilities to monitor the uncertain threats of the 21st century. The United States will continue to lead global efforts with capable allies and partners to ensure access to and use of the global commons. The fact that the United States operates in an integrated world and fights wars jointly and in coalitions drives the paramount need for coordinated and fully integrated ISR capabilities. The desired end state of a fully integrated ISR system drives the need for improved interoperability, commonality, and modernization overlaid on a set of standards, protocols, security, and open architectures.
Since September 2001, ISR capabilities have grown in importance and use by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the intelligence community (IC), in part because these capabilities provide information to the warfighter that serves as a force multiplier. This shared information enables better and faster decisions, precision effects, and lower risk for the commander in the field. Under the U.S. national security umbrella, the Air Force has a significant role in the acquisition, operation, and support of many ISR capabilities because it is simultaneously a user, a provider, and an operator in the Joint and coalition contexts. Air Force ISR capabilities deliver
2Although these threats need to be addressed by the Department of Defense, including all of the military services, the intelligence community, and the Department of Homeland Security, the focus of this research is directed particularly at Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
3“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: 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.
4DoD. 2012. Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. January. Available at http://www.defense.gov/news/Defense_Strategic_Guidance.pdf. Accessed February 29, 2012.
needed information to strategic, operational, and tactical users alike, for operations from humanitarian assistance to active combat. As the demand for ISR capabilities grows, the Air Force experiences increasing pressure to allocate resources effectively and to acquire needed capabilities efficiently, on time, and on schedule. Additionally, Air Force ISR capabilities will be increasingly required to interoperate with capabilities managed by other U.S. organizations and coalition forces.
In response to a request from the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology, and Engineering, the National Research Council (NRC) formed the Committee on Examination of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Capability Planning and Analysis (CP&A) Process. The NRC approved the terms of reference (TOR) for the study in March 2011 (see Box 1-1), and the Air Force funded this 18-month study in July 2011. Committee members were then selected and approved by the NRC for their backgrounds in academia, industry, and government (see appendix A for biographical sketches of the committee members). Subject-matter support was provided by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Air Force for ISR.
Terms of Reference
The NRC will:
1. Review the current approach to the Air Force corporate planning and programming process for ISR capability generation.
2. Review various analytical methods, processes and models for large scale, complex domains like ISR and identify best practices.
3. 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.
4. 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.a
aAir 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.
The Air Force recognizes that an architectural perspective that includes the platforms, sensors, processors, terminals, and their connecting communications and data links—that is, an end-to-end solution—is a logical construct to drive the Air Force corporate planning and programming processes.
The committee held seven data-gathering meetings at which briefings were provided by senior leaders from the IC, which included DoD components and agencies (i.e., Air Force, Army, Navy, Office of the Secretary of Defense [OSD]), professional staff members from key congressional oversight committees, and senior industry executives (see appendix B for a listing of meetings and participating organizations). In addition to its data-gathering sessions, the committee held two 3-day meetings to finalize its findings and recommendations. At all of these meetings, the committee discussed and evaluated what any proposed improvements to the Air Force CP&A process might accomplish, and it considered the following questions from the perspective of a high-level decision maker:
1. What capabilities do I need to acquire and when?
2. What capabilities should I retire and when?
3. On what analytical basis are my decisions made?
4. How much risk do I accept and when?
5. What are the level and range of uncertainty in my judgments?
6. Are there architectural or operational changes that could provide a dramatic, positive change in capability, and that would remain close to the current set of material solutions and/or cost?
To acquire the right capabilities, for the right reasons, under current and potential future circumstances, is extremely challenging.5 Although the TOR for this study is specific to the Air Force, Air Force decisions about whether to enact the proposed ISR CP&A process will need to be made in the context of factors including but not limited to the following: (1) congressional support, (2) contract performance, (3) near-term versus far-term considerations and tactical versus strategic considerations, (4) requirements of other military services and the IC, and
5I.B. Holley. 1983. Ideas and Weapons, Office of Air Force History Reprint. Original Printing: Yale University Press, 1953: Introduction, p. v: “Since time immemorial weapons have played a significant role in tipping the scales of victory from one side to another … In recent years the pace has accelerated … the degree to which scientific and technological advances are exploited for military purposes depends upon the methods devised to that end. The haphazard and unsystematic means of other ages have yielded to a more orderly process of conscious decision, development, test, and evaluation, but even so these methods have lagged behind the creative forces of science.”
(5) roles and responsibilities of the military services and the IC as defined by Title 10 versus Title 50 of the U.S. Code.6 An ideal ISR CP&A process for the Air Force would provide answers to these questions and reasonably sustain decisions made over time in the context of the broad challenges of the 21st century.7
Strategic requirements for the broad range of ISR capabilities are embedded within the 2012 National Defense Strategy.8 Along with this new guidance, the DoD will base major force-planning efforts on a prediction of future conflicts and the anticipated requirements of existing and “to be developed” weapons systems. Budgetary restraint will also add significant risk that must be calculated into Air Force ISR force planning.9 It is now assumed that the U.S. military will shrink over the next 10 years, through fiscal year (FY) 2022.10
It is anticipated that this new direction for the DoD will be realized by means of programmed budget reductions through the Future Years Defense Program and through FY 2022, similar to the post-war build-down after World War II, the
6The military services and the IC have specific roles and responsibilities, as defined by Title 10 and Title 50 of the U.S. Code, respectively. For additional information on Title 10, see http://uscode.house.gov/download/title_10.shtml. For additional information on Title 50, see http://uscode.house.gov/download/title_50.shtml. Accessed March 21, 2012.
8 DoD. 2012. Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. January, p. 1. Available at http://www.defense.gov/news/Defense_Strategic_Guidance.pdf. Accessed February 29, 2012.
9The Honorable Michael Donley, SECAF, and General Norton Schwartz, CSAF. Joint Statement, White Paper. “Air Force Priorities for a New Strategy with Constrained Budgets.” February 2012. Available at http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120201-027.pdf. Accessed September 4, 2012. “Defense cuts totaling $487 billion over 10 years will be hard but manageable, though, significant challenges remain. The need to transition contingency appropriations into baseline budgets still overhangs DoD resource planning, excess basing capacity still needs to be addressed through the proposed Base Realignment and Closure Commission, and many more decisions due to unforeseen events will intervene in the next decade. The Air Force’s FY13 budget request is the culmination of an unprecedented season of difficult choices. We can and expect to absorb currently programmed reductions with increased but acceptable risk, provided no further cuts are enacted. The possibility of the BCA reducing defense spending by billions more will put at risk our ability to execute the new strategic guidance.”
10Craig Whitlock and Greg Jaffe. 2012. “Obama Announces New Leaner Military Approach.” Washington Post, January 5. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obamaannounces-new-military-approach/2012/01/05/gIQAFWcmcP_story.html. Accessed April 12, 2012.
Korean War, and the Vietnam War.11 In this larger context, the Air Force is developing a process to plan its ISR investment strategy that will likely be informed by the scenario-based modeling of potential future conflicts and the anticipated constraints on resources. The Air Force has used scenario-based planning, understanding its limitations, for over four decades.12 The following sections briefly discuss several conflict scenarios in the context of regional, global, and homeland security challenges and venues in which the Air Force would apply various mixes of ISR capabilities. These sections are intended to provide the reader with a sense of the complexities involved in planning for future Air Force ISR capabilities—complexities that become even more complicated in a fiscally constrained environment.
Overall, it is anticipated that combat operations will continue in Southwest Asia until 2014, with limited contingency and counterinsurgency (COIN) operations anticipated beyond the conclusion of major U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. DoD planners are also considering the potential for other future regional conflicts in addition to those in Southwest Asia. Any major regional conflict will require the operational surveillance of the entire regional or theater battlefield in order to underpin U.S. actions, even though the totality of U.S. military land forces may be dispersed into brigade-or regiment-sized elements focused by country, province, or village. Success in establishing persistent, theater-wide surveillance is normally considered by regional combatant commanders as the first priority, followed closely with as much COIN support as possible delivered directly to ground units. Representative Air Force ISR missions will include the following: theater-wide persistent situational awareness; high-value, time-critical targeting; countering of improvised explosive device; and COIN support for brigade-or regiment-sized ground forces arrayed across a region. In regional conflicts featuring significant U.S. ground force engagement that is not concentrated but distributed across an entire region or
11Gordon Adams. 2011. “Rethinking National Security in an Era of Declining Budgets.” Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory 2011-2012. Rethinking Seminar Series. October 27.
12USAF Center for Strategy and Technology. Future Conflict Studies. Air University web site. “The premise of scenario planning is that it is better to get the future imprecisely right than to get the future precisely wrong. We know that our predictions of the future are never exactly correct. Rather than picking one definitive picture of the future and planning for that future, scenario planning allows a region to consider various possibilities and identify policies that can adapt to changing circumstances. Scenarios do not describe a forecasted end state. Scenarios are stories about future conditions that convey a range of possible outcomes.” Available at http://csat.au.af.mil/future-conflict.htm#scenarios. Accessed March 28, 2012.
Regional Conflict Scenario:
Planning Assumptions for Air Force ISR Capabilities
1. The demand for localized, tactical-level surveillance will increase as more brigades deploy to various parts of a region.
2. Demands at a tactical level can rapidly exceed existing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
3. ISR priority systems must be very precise and highly flexible when meeting brigade and regiment demands, and if ground forces are not significantly involved, there will also be a need for ground truth.
4. Local understanding, cultural awareness, and anthropological depth may be the primary emphases in winning “hearts and minds” in a post-major-combat period, but ISR capabilities are required any time there are significant ground forces employed, whether they are engaged in intense combat or nation-building activities.a
aNoah Shachtman. 2012. “Air Force’s Top Brain Wants a ’Social Radar’ to ’See into Hearts and Minds,’ ” Wired Magazine Interview, January 19.
country, there are consistent planning assumptions about the Air Force ISR that will most likely withstand variances in any regional conflict model (see Box 1-2).
Even with the reduction in military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Air Force will continue to plan for multiple scenarios that will involve various mixes of ISR capabilities.13 There are many variations and permutations on predicting the immediate aspects of the national security environment,14 but at least four other regional concern categories currently draw significant attention:
13Thomas Barnett. 2004. The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons.
14Andrew Krepinevich. 2009. 7 Deadly Scenarios: A Military Futurist Explores War in the 21st Century. New York: Bantam Dell. The scenarios are as follows: (1) The collapse of Pakistan and the breakup of its army into loyalist and radical Islamist factions, both armed with nuclear weapons. (2) A series of terror attacks against cities in the United States involving stolen Russian nuclear warheads. (3) A new and deadly flu pandemic sweeping north into the United States from Mexico, causing massive refugee flows. (4) A new war against Israel by Hezbollah, with the backing of Iran. (5) Rising civil unrest in China, prompting the country to impose a blockade of Taiwan and threatening war against the United States if it intervenes. (6) A terrorist war on the global economy, by means of attacking infrastructure and logistics chains, and through sophisticated cyberattacks. (7) A civil war in Iraq following a dramatic reduction of U.S. troops.
- Preventing Iranian nuclear development and aggression;
- “Arab spring”15 involvement in the Middle East;
- Maintaining a balanced, mutually supportive relationship with China; and
- Sustaining deterrence on the Korean Peninsula.
Increasingly, there is international realization that, even in the face of severe economic and political measures, the Iranian government is intent on developing nuclear weapons.16 A confrontation with a nuclear-armed Iran has the potential to be a truly “hybrid” war, one that might require the U.S. military to counter Iran’s conventional anti-access capabilities, defeat its irregular forces both at sea and on land, prepare for attacks by terrorist groups against American targets or U.S. allies globally, and, most importantly, conduct operations under the shadow of a possible nuclear attack.17 In the event of a major confrontation, the United States would view this hybrid scenario in a regional war context, plus taking into account all of
15President Barack Obama. 2011. Speech and explanations from Ben Zimmer, Visual Thesaurus, “The Arab Spring Has Sprung,” May 20, 2011: “Arab spring doesn’t actually have to correspond to dates between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice, because spring is understood metaphorically and not literally. The obvious model for Arab spring is the Prague spring of 1968, when Czechoslovakia enjoyed a brief interval of democratic reform before the Soviet Union invaded. As Michael Quinion notes on his World Wide Words site, Arab spring and Prague spring have a much earlier precursor: the European revolutions of 1848, which historians dubbed springtime of the peoples or spring of nations. Those terms are translations of German Völkerfrühling and French printemps des peuples. From 1848 to 1968 to 2011, the social movements given the spring label have shared a hope for liberalization in the face of oppressive regimes.” However, Barry Rubin (Director for Global Research in International Affairs) argues that, “in Middle Eastern usage it comes from the ’Beirut spring’ in which hundreds of thousands of Lebanese demonstrated against the Syrian military presence and domination of the country. In the short term the Lebanese protesters won. But because of a lack of U.S. and Western help along with the ruthlessness of Syria, Iran, and their local allies (notably Hezbollah) the Beirut Spring … was defeated. Syria is back in control to a large degree and while the Syrian-backed government (including Hezbollah) has been kept at bay for months by bureaucratic maneuvers, presumably it will get into power at some point. So the term ’Arab Spring’ is appropriate if we remember that the Beirut Spring, a good example of what’s being faced now, turned into the Beirut Winter.”
16Mark Gunzinger and Christopher Dougherty. 2012. Outside-In: Operating from Range to Defeat Iran’s Anti-Access and Area-Denial Threat, January 17. Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
the other contingency models for worldwide counterterrorism, and possibly facing the complication of nuclear weapons.18
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO): “In light of Iran’s pursuit of A2/AD capabilities, it seems unlikely that the U.S. military’s legacy planning assumptions will remain valid.”19 Accordingly, it is increasingly important for Air Force ISR force planners to look in detail at the A2/AD challenges as well as the exacting requirements for strategic and operational targeting.
In the Pacific Rim, Air Force planners may be considering multiple scenarios, ranging from no ongoing military conflict but in which some degree of military action can be foreseen in operations short of war, to operations that would presage conflict with the intended effect of deterring aggressive military action. Further, although that intention to deter military action may be steadfast, the possibility of escalation remains. The challenge in Southeast Asia with respect to North Korea and China is representative of this situation.
Arguably the greatest strategic choice concerns how best to respond to China’s rapid rise as a major power. Boasting the world’s second-largest economy, Beijing has undertaken a decade-long military buildup of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Its focus is on the Western Pacific, declared a vital interest by every U.S. administration for more than 60 years, with security commitments to such allies as Australia, Japan and South Korea, and states like Taiwan.20
China and the United States are linked by both economics and politics to the extent that it is in the best interests of both countries to maintain a stable Pacific region.
18The Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted: “[F]uture adversaries are likely to use ’hybrid warfare’ tactics, a blending of conventional and irregular approaches across the full spectrum of conflict … future conflict will likely be characterized by a fusion of different forms of warfare rather than a singular approach … U.S. forces must become more adaptable and flexible … [DoD] officials have discussed the need to counter the continuum of threats that U.S. forces could face from nonstate- and state-sponsored adversaries, including computer network and satellite attacks; portable surface-to-air missiles; improvised explosive devices; information and media manipulation; and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosive devices.” SOURCE: GAO. 2010. “Hybrid Warfare: Briefing to the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities,” Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives. GAO-10-1036R. September 10. Available at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d101036r.pdf. Accessed March 23, 2012.
20Andrew Krepinevich. 2011. “The Way to Respond to China.” Los Angeles Times, November 9. Available at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/09/opinion/la-oe-krepinevich-pacific-20111109. Accessed April 12, 2012.
The rise of China has triggered a debate among policy experts. On one side sit those who advocate greater engagement. They focus on improving our economic and political relations as the path most likely to maintain stability and peace and…those who believe the U.S. and its allies should take steps to offset China’s growing military power with the goal of retaining the stable military balance that has benefited all in the region, none more so than China.21
Which of these views prevails will still have significant Air Force ISR force-planning implications, especially in the category of doing everything possible to prevent conflict and to prevent a Chinese strategic advantage in the region. Defense policy analyst Andrew Krepinevich has outlined some examples of Chinese aggressive tendencies and provocations, such as the following:
Chinese fighter jets intercepting and striking a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft in international waters, a Chinese anti-satellite test that created huge quantities of space debris, incidents between Chinese and Japanese aircraft and ships in the East China Sea, and Chinese provocations against Vietnamese oceanographic survey ships in the South China Sea. The objective of China’s buildup may not be to wage war. Rather, China may seek to steadily shift the military balance in its favor to the point where Washington can no longer credibly defend either its interests or its allies. In that case, war would not be necessary to ensure China’s regional hegemony.22
Air Force ISR force planners must consider the concept of future war important, in addition to considerations of how to prevent conflict. In this regard, traditional deterrence models would have to adapt the focus on deterring Chinese superiority within the region short of going to war.
The United States has been in a constant state of readiness on the Korean Peninsula for more than 60 years. The argument can be made, however, that authoritarian dictators can repress their populations for decades to the extent that “confrontational stability” exists.23 There are at least three potentialities to consider when viewing the Korean Peninsula: (1) a status quo transition from Kim Jong-il to his son Kim Jong-un, (2) an overly aggressive transition that provokes responses from South Korea and the United States, and (3) an accelerated collapsing of the North Korean government. Bruce Bennett and Jennifer Lind argue as follows:
23General argument made by Bruce Bennett and Jennifer Lind, Fall 2011, Journal of International Security, and referenced in “Doomsday War Games: Pentagon’s 3 Nightmare Scenarios,” Christian Science Monitor, December 2011.
[T]he transition from apparent stability to collapse can be swift. A government collapse in North Korea could unleash a series of catastrophes on the peninsula with potentially far-reaching regional and global effects. This could trigger a massive outflow of the nation’s 24 million people, many of whom are severely malnourished, across the border into South Korea … Equally troubling, North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction could find their way onto the global black market. As a result, the consequences of a poorly planned response to a government collapse in North Korea are potentially calamitous.24
The magnitude of a calamitous scenario could quickly outpace a U.S. military response; as noted in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review: “The instability or collapse of a WMD [weapons of mass destruction]-armed state is among our most troubling concerns.”25 Such an occurrence could lead to a rapid proliferation of WMD material, weapons, and technology and could quickly become a global crisis posing a direct physical threat. Air Force ISR assets and capabilities would be brought to bear significantly along three operational paths:
1. Maintaining persistent situational awareness of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) forces,
2. Detecting precursors to a North Korean missile launch, and
3. Supporting immediate air strikes by both the Republic of Korea and the United States in the event of a North Korean incursion into the South.
The battlefield geography is well known, and North Korea and South Korea share a 238-km border; a conflict along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) (roughly 20,000 km2) would have a combat density greater than that of any engagement in Iraq or Afghanistan. The threat of nuclear engagement is real and must be considered as a worst case in order to deter and, in the event that deterrence fails, plan for full-scale military action. Plans must also be made to manage, in the post-engagement period, the subsequent human tragedy that would unfold for both
25DoD. 2010. Quadrennial Defense Review Report. February. Available at http://www.defense.gov/qdr/images/QDR_as_of_12Feb10_1000.pdf. Accessed April 12, 2012.
North and South Korea as well as for much of the Pacific Rim.26 The Korean Peninsula is a clear example of Air Force ISR assets being needed at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels, as well as for purposes of pre-war deterrence and the obtaining of early indications and warnings of the potential for a major regional conflict.27
It appears increasingly clear that the United States will confront a very diverse and demanding array of strategic challenges over the coming decades: transnational terrorist groups, weak and failed states, and the intersection between them; the rise of a near-peer competitor that is not yet overtly hostile toward the United States, but has nonetheless implemented a comprehensive military modernization program devoted to countering the U.S. military’s ability to project power; and the proliferation of nuclear weapons to aggressive regimes and perhaps eventually
26Arguably, the North Korean regime is essentially stable; it survived its origin in 1950-1953, the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, and a devastating famine in 1995-1998. In stark contradiction, authoritarian regimes, like Iran or China, tend to be more unstable. North Korea is a thoroughly totalitarian society, in which all information about the outside world is limited, and dissenting voices are silenced. Although hardship and black markets may undermine the DPRK, there is always China to provide support against disintegration. China has no interest in seeing the DPRK collapse, since doing so (1) may unleash a destabilizing flood of refugees, and (2) its successor state will probably align with, or be absorbed by, South Korea, which is a regional rival and a firm ally of the United States. The Chinese will most likely do everything in their power to avoid a scenario in which a united Korean Peninsula is allied more with the United States than with mainland China. SOURCE: Evan B. Montgomery. 2010. Defense Planning for the Long Haul: Scenarios, Operational Concepts, and the Future Security Environment. Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. January 11. Available at http://www.csbaonline.org/publications/2010/01/defense-planning-for-thelong-haul/. Accessed March 23, 2012.
27Committee assumptions about Air Force ISR force planning: (1) The primary concern is to detect North Korean missiles being prepped and fueled, so that the United States is capable of intercepting them before launch. (2) Signs of the buildup will likely be detected, and confirmed for certain hours, if not days, in advance. (3) The DPRK’s air defense system is extremely dense, and many artillery positions are concealed and/or hardened. (4) The system’s obsolescence makes it ineffective against stealth, and it can be easily jammed by modern/existing electronic countermeasures. (5) Although hardened, the ensuing lack of mobility makes them very vulnerable to a full array of precision-guided weapons. (6) Although foliage is still some cause for technical U.S. ISR concern, it is doubtful that concealment will do the North Koreans much good when a majority of hidden artillery positions are identifiable on publicly accessed satellite search engines. Additionally, it must be noted that the threat environment in the Pacific region stands in stark contrast to that in Southwest Asia where currently U.S. remotely piloted aircraft operate without significant restraint from anti-access or enemy denial capabilities. It is also important to note that all U.S. military capabilities would be seriously degraded by a loss of space assets.
to non-state actors and to those nation-states where civil conflict is likely.28 The cyber domain also presents the challenge of non-conventional attacks. Terrorist cells or organizations could shift their emphasis from killing Americans to injuring Americans financially, with cyberattacks on Wall Street becoming a common occurrence, for example. There are at least three categories of non-traditional scenarios that must be thought through conceptually to ascertain military force-planning capabilities:
1. Non-military attacks provoking non-military or non-traditional responses: Examples could be cyberattacks on public or private networked U.S. infrastructure, and other terrorist activity of which the likely origin does not reside in a nation-state and is widely construed as transnational.
2. Civil conflict in a country in which direct U.S. involvement is problematic—either because the stakes do not rise to the level of direct harm to the United States, or because the involvement includes the acceptance of significant military risk with the anticipated political outcome being unclear.
3. Non-combat contingencies requiring U.S. military involvement directly or indirectly: These could range in magnitude from needs for very localized humanitarian support to massively large-scale responses that would be beyond any single nation-state or region and for which the United Nations humanitarian infrastructure would be ill prepared.29
U.S. military capabilities were brought to bear in the recent tragic events in both Japan and Haiti, and in other parts of the world as well. In structuring for humanitarian assistance, AF ISR capabilities of broad scope would be required—capabilities ranging from assisting a foreign government with significant infrastructure resources to assisting a government with degraded infrastructure.30
There are numerous hypothetical scenarios involving current DoD military capabilities in support of national and state agencies within current federal law. In such scenarios, the DoD normally plays a supporting role rather than a primary
28Bruce Bennett and Jennifer Lind, Fall 2011, Journal of International Security, and referenced in “Doomsday War Games: Pentagon’s 3 Nightmare Scenarios.” Christian Science Monitor, December 2011.
29George Freidman. 2009. The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century. New York: Doubleday.
30Japan and Haiti: In March 2011, a massive earthquake triggered the devastating tsunami that hit Japan, causing a tragic chain of events affecting two nuclear power plants at Fukushima; on January 12, 2010, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake tragically devastated Haiti; in both cases U.S. military support was critical in delivering humanitarian aid and assistance.
role.31 Although there are numerous examples of defense in support of civil authorities’ activities, there are at least three major categories in which direct military support is envisioned: (1) physical/territorial/border protection; (2) consequence management of a natural disaster or terrorist-initiated disaster at a significant threshold requiring a homeland federal response; and (3) presidentially directed activity, currently defined by existing law or new proposed legislation.32 In the homeland security-type scenarios, it will be most important for Air Force ISR force planners to look at adaptive ways to use military assets in a wide-ranging spectrum of activity, but in ways that would always recognize the legal restrictions inherent in the use of such assets. The more robust scenarios would challenge the limits of that civil adaptation so that operational-use challenges are highlighted from a legal viewpoint rather than a technological basis, which is traditional in analyzing a foreign threat.33 Arguably, any scenario-based viewpoint will assist planners as they both assess the current state of their force planning and capability analysis and develop new analytical techniques and processes. Robust discussion on these potential scenarios is warranted and should naturally undergird all Air Force ISR force planning.34
31Defense Support of Civil Authorities (or DSCA) is the current process by which United States military assets and personnel can be used to assist in missions normally carried out by civil authorities. These missions have included responses to natural and man-made disasters, law enforcement support, special events, and other domestic activities. DSCA is the overarching guidance with respect to how the United States military can be requested by a federal agency and the procedures that govern the actions of the military during employment. The military can offer a variety of assistance, which includes personnel or equipment. Among the most sought-after assets are transport (land, sea, and air); fuel; communications; commodities including food, building supplies, and medicines; manpower; technical assistance (especially logistics and communications), and the use of military facilities.
32The list of laws applicable to DSCA are numerous and complex; for example: Posse Comitatus Act, 18 U.S.C. 1385; Insurrection Act, 10 U.S.C. 331-335; Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistant Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121-5206; Homeland Security Act, 2002, 6 U.S.C. 101; National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1601-1651; Economy Act, 31 U.S.C. 1535, have all been used, modified, or are newly created since September 11, 2001, and issues concerning DSCA are consistently being raised.
33Two examples may be anticipated: (1) civilian airspace incursion and (2) the legal restrictions on spying on U.S. citizens. Air Force ISR planners would want to participate in some appropriate manner in the development and execution of the Federal Aviation Agency’s Next-Generation Air Transportation System, specifically as it applies to management of the National Airspace System. There are inherent challenges to flying aircraft without onboard pilots in both restricted and unrestricted airspace. In the second example, the legal restrictions from using the vast array of ISR capabilities against U.S. citizens must also always be in the forefront of Homeland Security-based ISR.
34Giulio Douhet, 1928: “to make a good instrument … first have a precise understanding of what the instrument is to be used for … and he who intends to build a good instrument of war must first ask … what the next war will be like.”
This chapter 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 CP&A. Chapter 3 covers Task 2 of the TOR by reviewing various analytical methods, 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 for the improvement of 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.
Appendix A provides biographical sketches of the committee members, and Appendix B presents a list of the meetings held by the study committee, as well as the names of the presenters and participating organizations. Appendix C serves as a supplement to Chapter 3 by providing descriptions of additional organizational CP&A processes and tools.