Adversaries’ ever-changing tactics require quick responses

  • Published
  • By Lori A. Bultman
  • 25th Air Force
In the ongoing fight between coalition forces and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, U.S. adversaries have added explosives-laden drones to their weapons arsenal, according to recent stories in the news. In October, adversaries used a drone, intended for surveillance use, to injure troops on the ground. Unlike typical surveillance drones, this one exploded after local forces picked it up for inspection.

Due to the need for a quick response, the 15th Intelligence Squadron was tasked to support U.S. Air Forces Central Command and U.S. Central Command to resolve the issue.

In a collaborative effort, 15th IS Airmen, along with counterparts across the country, utilized intelligence to create a targeting analysis product to address the new tactic being used against coalition forces in Operation Inherent Resolve, said Lt. Col. Jeri Torrero, the 15th IS commander.

Personnel from the 15th IS, along with contributors, conducted a 280-plus hour rapid analysis drill to acquire and obtain over 40 finished intelligence products and associated single source reports, the commander said. Other analysts projected that developing a solution could take 11 to 12 weeks, but 15th IS personnel were able to cut that time by nearly 90 percent.

The 15th IS Airmen conducted analyst exchanges with subject matter experts from other U.S. agencies and 25th Air Force entities; 547th IS tactics and 51st IS AFCENT-focused analysts; the National Air and Space Intelligence Center and 625th Operation Center personnel, to share and obtain recent production or resources.

“This effort’s time and capacity constraints required deviation from traditional long-term, comprehensive (Target System Analysis) formats and deliverables,” the commander said. “Instead, a non-doctrinal 57-plus page Targeting Analysis Product was developed as a precursor to a future, robust combatant or component led TSA development effort.”

TSA is both a process and a product.

“It is the analytical foundation from which components of systems are analyzed, evaluated and assessed,” Torrero said. “The act of performing TSA organizes all-source intelligence into operationally relevant data and increases the Department of Defense’s knowledge and understanding of adversary systems."

Based upon analysis and the commander's objectives, TSA products provide effects-based targeting strategies. In this case, the 15th IS was able to fuse together critical pieces of information, increase the fidelity and confidence in adversary capabilities and limitations and develop a targeting analysis product that directly impacts strategy.

The 15th IS is part of the 363rd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing and the 25th AF. The squadron’s mission is to produce target system analytical products, in accordance with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3370.01B, specifically tailored for both geographic and functionally aligned Air Operations Centers and Component Numbered Air Forces in direct support of deliberate planning.