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ISR leader shares future of intelligence field

Lieutenant General David Deptula, Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance at Headquarters Air Force, and Airman Basic John Jeffries, a Network Intelligence Analysis student with the 316th Training Squadron, cut the cake inaugurating the first class to enter the Intelligence Fundamentals Course at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lou Czarnecki)

Lieutenant General David Deptula, Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance at Headquarters Air Force, and Airman Basic John Jeffries, a Network Intelligence Analysis student with the 316th Training Squadron, cut the cake inaugurating the first class to enter the Intelligence Fundamentals Course at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lou Czarnecki)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- "We're changing the way we view Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance from the past," said Lt. Gen. David Deptula, Headquarters Air Force ISR deputy chief of staff, during his visit to Goodfellow AFB, Texas, April 16. "In the past, we had stratified pockets of industry. Now we're heading toward an integrated, full-spectrum ISR program throughout air, space and cyberspace."

General Deptula's visit to Goodfellow coincided with two major ISR events: the launching of the new Intelligence Fundamentals Course April 15 and the ISR Chiefs' Summit April 14-17. During his visit, the general joined with the youngest Airman in the class to cut the cake inaugurating the course and spoke to students and chief master sergeants regarding the future of the ISR field.

"For the past three years, the Air Force has been engaged in a complete ISR transformation, pursuing changes in ISR organization, personnel and capabilities to meet the needs of our 21st century security challenges," General Deptula said. "Historically, ISR has been husbanded at high levels, but today, technology is allowing ISR to go directly to the tactical level, and as a result, demand is increasing dramatically."

To meet this demand, General Deptula said, the Air Force is expanding the number of enlisted ISR Airmen by 25 percent during the next three years, which is one of the reasons the intelligence training programs are being overhauled. Additionally, efforts for retention of Airmen, NCOs and senior NCOs in these critically-manned career fields are underway. Finally, the Air Force has consolidated the number of enlisted ISR specialties from 36 to 14 and is restructuring those specialties to meet the demands of 21st century ISR.

"Creating an Air Force ISR enterprise where the source is transparent, analysis predictive and distribution immediate is a must for the joint force if we are to survive and thrive against the threats and security challenges in front of us," General Deptula said.

"It's been great to have the opportunity to see the outstanding men and women of Goodfellow Air Force Base working so hard for the ISR transformation, because they are, in fact, the centerpiece of that transformation. It all begins here," he said. "Change can only be initiated through the people who populate organizations. Training and educating the personnel who will be the next generation of ISR operators and leaders is what will make this ISR transformation a success."