Thursday, April 26, 2012

ISR Enterprise: Recap of Air Force Breakfast Session with Lt. Gen. Larry James

AFA had another successful Air Force Breakfast this morning, with Lt. General Larry D. James, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, as the guest speaker.

In his position, Gen. James is responsible to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force for policy formulation, planning, evaluation, oversight, and leadership of Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. He leads more than 20,000 ISR officers, enlisted and civilians across the Air Force ISR Enterprise.

At today’s event, Gen James highlighted the current role of the Air Force ISR enterprise, the capacity and capabilities they have in the globally integrated ISR system, the progress it continues to make and the challenges of the way ahead.

He described the global ISR enterprise as possibly “the most capable intelligence apparatus that the department has” with over 20,000 people strong across the globe, setting up an “impressive worldwide capability.” This says a lot of the department that flies 1500 hours worth of ISR across the globe each day, providing direct support not only for the Air Force, but all other services and other government agencies.

“It’s a national system that supports national needs … across the globe,” he added.

But he went on to discuss some of the tremendous success of ISR aircraft, such as the MC-12 and the RC-135, as the Air Force has been fully submerged in pushing ISR capacity to the war fight.

The latter part of his speech highlighted the challenges the department has been tasked to uncover. The challenges came out of the Secretary of the Air Force’s ISR Review requested of the department last spring.

He painted a picture of the future ISR enterprise, describing it as one that will be a network-centric, sensor-agnostic environment that focuses on how to pull data to answer the problem you have been given. It would also be an all-domain effort, spanning over space, airborne and cyber domains.

Among the challenges that they face include: transporting the data while keeping it secure; developing the ISR personnel; identifying the tool sets needed to handle the “big data problem” (the massive quantity of data); and many more.

The audio recording for this event can be found here:

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