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Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Capabilities Loom Large for Pacific Command

December 3, 2013
By Robert K. Ackerman
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Some information collection assets that worked successfully in the desert will not fare as well in the jungles of Asia.

The U.S. Pacific Command needs effective intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets to address its increasing mission activities, according to the command’s deputy commander. Lt. Gen. Thomas L. Conant, USMC, was blunt in his assessment to the audience at the opening breakfast at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“We need ISR,” the general declared. “We have a paucity of ISR in this theater.”

He noted that when the command lacks the needed ISR, it must use general purpose forces to collect data. “We have DDGs [guided missile destroyers] steaming around serving that role,” he related.

While the U.S. military has improved its situational awareness through the incorporation of new ISR assets, not all will work well in the diverse landscapes of the Asia-Pacific region. Gen. Conant noted that ISR platforms that performed effectively above the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan cannot peer through the triple canopy that characterizes the jungles of equatorial Asia.

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