A Strategies-to-Tasks Framework for Planning and Executing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Operations

by Carl Rhodes, Jeff Hagen, Mark Westergren


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To assist in moving intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) planning and execution forward from a fixed target and deliberate planning focus to one centered on emerging targets, the authors propose enhancing the collection management process with a strategies-to-tasks and utility framework. By linking collection targets to operational tasks, objectives, and top-level commander’s guidance with relative utilities, planning for the daily intelligence collections and real-time retasking for ad hoc ISR targets could be enhanced. When current tools are modified to provide this information, planners will be able to link collection targets to top-level objectives for better decisionmaking and optimization of low-density, high-demand collection assets, and intelligence officers will be better able to deal with time-sensitive, emerging targets by rapidly comparing the value of collecting an ad hoc collection with the value of collecting opportunities already planned.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Potential Shortfalls in ISR Resource Allocation

  • Chapter Three

    A Framework for Allocating ISR Resources

  • Chapter Four

    Future Work

  • Chapter Five

    Concluding Remarks

Research conducted by

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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