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ACJ Vol 8/1

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)


  • Publisher: Norm Brozenick 

  • Editor: Paul Harmon

  • Managing Editor: Rick Newton

  • Senior Editor: Scott McIntosh

  • Contributing Editor: Ron Dains

  • Contributing Editor: Joel Higley

  • Contributing Editor: Mike Russell

  • Layout Editor/Graphics: Jeanette Elliott

  • Advertising: Melissa Gross

Bradley A. Heithold, Lt Gen, USAF (Ret)
Former Commander, Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency
Former Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command

“You can run, but you’ll only die tired.” Why? Because you can’t hide from the heavily armed Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Airmen of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). ISR Air Commandos out-think, out-maneuver, and out-innovate our enemies. They provide joint force commanders an amazing range of ISR options by combining critical and creative thinking, technology, artificial intelligence, and guts to enable mission success. As the former commander of the Air Force ISR Agency, and also a former AFSOC Commander, I was extremely pleased when I was asked to pen the foreword for this edition of the Air Commando Journal.

Air Force Special Operations Forces have a long history of conducting ISR missions. From armed reconnaissance on the Ho Chi Minh trail using AC-130s in Vietnam, to today’s hunting, tracking, and killing violent extremists using a multitude of unconventional fixed wing and remotely piloted aircraft, ISR has been an essential, but largely unknown, aspect of being an Air Commando. The men and women of AFSOC have created a world class distributed and networked exploitation system of sophisticated sensors and, most importantly, highly trained people who are skilled in multi-domain operations to find, fix and finish our nation’s enemies.

Today, Air Commandos are retooling and transforming the existing ISR capabilities to address the new priorities recently established in the latest National Defense Strategy. Working behind the scenes, as quiet professionals do, ISR Air Commandos are leveraging enhanced cyber and space capabilities to strengthen an already formidable capability. By fusing signal intelligence (SIGINT) and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, Air Commandos are pushing the envelope of digital age opportunities and applying them in the air to deter and defeat adversaries. As special operations and the nature of our nation’s enemies have evolved so, too, has the special operations ISR mission.

This edition of the ACJ highlights a number of ways innovative thinking and good old Air Commando spirit have used and adapted conventional and commercial hardware to address ever-evolving SOF mission requirements. The ACJ editors have put together a series of great articles to show the readers the essence of what makes AFSOC’s ISR team work. It is definitely not the whole story, but a great introduction. I am really proud of all the ISR warriors in AFSOC who know what right looks like in the invaluable ISR business. As is always the case with Air Commandos, failure is not an option and, without a doubt, this volume drives that home.

Click Here to Read the Entire Issue in PDF Format

Air Commando Association Press