Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 8.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback82 pages $24.00

Research Questions

  1. What methodology can be used to measure the performance and effectiveness of ISR operations and activities?
  2. Can such a methodology provide a repeatable, reproducible performance management process and framework that captures and monitors how CENTCOM ISR performs throughout its lifecycle of planning, tasking, execution, and reporting?

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Directorate of Intelligence sought RAND Corporation assistance in developing a repeatable process to measure the effectiveness of its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations to evaluate current performance and plan for, influence, and resource future operations. The authors of this report used a mixed set of methodologies for the analysis. They linked the effect CENTCOM wishes to achieve with its customer base to the five major roles assigned to ISR assets at CENTCOM. For each role, the authors identified CENTCOM-unique measures of effectiveness (MoEs) and measures of performance (MoPs) to evaluate the value and success of ISR support and requirements. They assessed the sufficiency of available data sources and identified new data required to complete the metrics, finding that MoPs must focus on outputs (quantitative) and MoEs on outcomes (qualitative) and that both sets of metrics must be defined in the context of their uses. Consideration of currently available data and databases uncovered issues with data heritage, curation, and volume that must be addressed to ensure that analytic outcomes using the data are reliable. Researchers provided an associated visualization tool to display the assessment results, which they determined to be the best way to allow analysts and other stakeholders to use the data to support decisionmaking.

Key Findings

  • Higher-level assessment strategies usually require inputs from multiple stakeholders, while system-level assessments might require the support of only a few personnel.
  • Assessments that aim to inform either equipment acquisition or resource planning will require a different set of forward-looking metrics than the metrics used to assess current operations.
  • Similar data elements may inform a variety of assessments across organizations and operations, but how those data elements are used will vary.

This research was sponsored by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Directorate of Intelligence (J2) and conducted within the Cyber and Intelligence Policy Center (CIPC) of the RAND National Defense Research Institute.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.