Cooperation Key to Intel, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Transformation
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
DENVER, Sep. 30, 2004 Transformation is a hot topic in the military community. And this week, transforming the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance model is the theme of the ISR Transformation Government Symposium here.
The reshaping of the defense community to fight an "asymmetric" enemy as opposed to the known, predictable Cold War enemy is of paramount importance, officials said.
The model of the military that most of today's leaders grew up with is no longer valid or useful, said Army Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, deputy commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command. In that model, each service fought its own fight in its own arena -- land, sea or air.
"That was OK, because the enemy did the same thing and it worked," he said.
Over time, it has become necessary to stitch the services together more tightly. The collective effort today is to make the services coherently joint and interdependent, Wagner said.
The United States is seeking to counter the asymmetric advantages the enemy seems to have, but with more than kinetic weapons and systems. America's leverage will be knowledge, precision, speed and lethality, Wagner said.
Technology will help the U.S. military gain leverage, certainly, but jointness -- within the military and within the intelligence community -- must occur before that technology can be put to optimal use.
"I think that's it's most important that we figure out how to diminish the boundary between operations and intelligence," Wagner said. "It's starting to blur, and it needs to go away and be seen as one activity."
Several of Wagner's colleagues echoed this idea of "horizontal integration" or information sharing.
In the past, this idea has not been popular with the intelligence agencies. However, Letitia A. Long, deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, requirements and resources, said, it is necessary to change this culture.
The walls between the cultures exist because each agency has a separate mission. For this reason, she said, they will be hard to tear down.
Defense Information Systems Agency Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr. said that after using the vertical dimension -- where information flowed up and down a chain of command -- for so long, it has become necessary to look at things in a more horizontal dimension. Becoming horizontally integrated allows for easier sharing of information across boundaries, he said.
"When I think about it -- vertical and horizontal dimensions -- I like the framework of thinking of it more as 'netcentric,'" Raduege said. "In other words, that it's vertical, horizontal, diagonal -- all those types of multi- dimensions.
"It's less important to me to think about vertical dimensions and horizontal dimensions than to think about network sharing and networkcentric operations across all mediums," he said.
When combined with the advancing technology that is being explored and employed, joint cooperation within the military and the intelligence communities will help to create that central network, he said. And because of that network created by joint cooperation, he added, warfighters at the tactical to the national level will have near-real-time access to any ISR collected.