Leaders in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) community are focusing on shared capabilities and emphasizing warfighter versus technology as they look to tighten belts and brace for a difficult budget cycle.
“Intel fusion” is on the minds of many at the 11th Annual C4ISR Conference, taking place in Arlington, Va. The day one agenda largely focused on data consolidation and multi-intelligence systems, as well as the importance of partnerships and information sharing.
Unlike the boom years of America’s role in the War on Terror, today’s ISR environment means innovating in a limited budget environment. And rather than focusing on technology as a cornerstone capability many attendees and speakers emphasized the need to focus on the warfighter and providing the best capability down to the lowest level.
“We have got to move from a data focused group to a problem focused group,” said LTG Michael Flynn, Assistant Director, National Intelligence for Partnership Engagement. “Be careful of the technologists not being aligned with the consumer.”
Success stories over the past decade of conflict include the Intelligence Community’s success in fielding solutions and quick reaction capabilities. Unfortunately, the desire for speed has had a negative impact on effective partnerships across agencies. There are many examples of duplicate efforts, and in some cases competition between services for similar solutions to solve identical problems.
“We can’t fight service against service,” said Flynn. “We have to look for joint solutions in this budget environment.” Flynn also called for an ISR proponency, pointing the finger directly at the Air Force who has in many ways already taken the lead and navigated emerging intelligence challenges quickly. Technology, cited as a success in many respects, was also laid on the budget chopping block in discussions of future ISR realities.
“There will be pushback on ‘shiny new toys’ and technology,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, Chairman of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “The focus is on making an effective warfighter.” Rogers acknowledged that in many ways the defense budget debate is focused on dollars versus needs, “and that’s really the wrong way to do it.” But he also emphasized that the military and intelligence community will likely have to give up golden calf programs, and especially the infighting among service branches over similar solutions.
Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves cybersecurity, social media, and the U.S. military. She can be found attending cool ISR events like this across the Washington, D.C. area. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.