Methodology for Improving the Planning, Execution, and Assessment of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Operations

by Sherrill Lingel, Carl Rhodes, Amado Cordova, Jeff Hagen, Joel Kvitky, Lance Menthe


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Lingel et al. present alternative methods to (1) approach U.S. Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) tasking and assessment processes and (2) outline a methodology for assessing the benefits and costs of different ISR employment strategies. The U.S. Air Force greatly increased the number of operational surveillance and reconnaissance sensors and its ability to process data from these sensors in support of operations across a wide range of conflicts. However, along with the increased number of sensors comes an increase in the complexity of the tasking of these assets needed to prosecute either planned for or emergent battlefield targets. This problem has been compounded by an increased use of mobile systems by adversaries. As part of the authors’ research, they developed new assessment techniques and operational strategies to improve the command and control process for assigning ISR assets in dynamic environments. The authors also suggest tools to assist commanders of ISR assets in their decisions regarding allocating and retasking ISR assets. The report focuses on traditional target sets against adversaries whose behavior is well understood.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Doctrine and Procedures

  • Chapter Three

    Basing the Course Ahead for ISR on Experience

  • Chapter Four

    Collection Requirements Tool

  • Chapter Five

    Collection Operations Model

  • Chapter Six

    ISR Assessment from the Model

  • Appendix A

    NIIRS Tables

  • Appendix B

    Orbits and Geometrical Considerations

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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