ISR Takes Front Seat In Obama Defense Plan

UAV Launches Hell Fire

Speaking on the Defense Plan that cuts $485B, President Obama clearly defined an expanding role for ISR assets as part of a flexibility and lean joint force strategy. Here are his words:

“As we look beyond the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan … we’ll be able to ensure our security with smaller conventional ground forces.” “We’ll continue to get rid of outdated Cold War-era systems so that we can invest in the capabilities we need for the future, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; counter terrorism; countering weapons of mass destruction; and the ability to operate in environments where adversaries try to deny us access. “
There was no mention of new capabilities or initiatives; instead Obama noted that priorities would center “deterring and defeating aggression by any potential adversary.” He has favored UAV approaches in Afghanistan and seems to be betting on continued investment in existing UAV and other ISR assets to rebalance the joint capability.

In addition to Obama’s comments, Panetta and Carter both touched on the importance of innovation, maintaining the industrial base as much as possible, and fostering science and technology.

“As we reduce the overall defense budget, we will protect our investments in special operations forces, new technologies like ISR and unmanned systems, space and cyberspace capabilities and our capacity to quickly mobilize,” Panetta said. “The U.S. joint force will be smaller and leaner, but its great strength will be that it is more agile, flexible, ready to deploy, innovative and technologically advanced.”
Carter also advocated for continued partnership with the private sector and development in science and technology.
“As we make program changes we want to make sure 10 to 15 years from now, we still have an industrial base that supports our key systems, even if we are not able to buy in those are at the rates or in the volume that we had planned,” Carter said. “Science and technology and innovation – that’s the seed corn of the future. We want to make sure we don’t eat the seed corn.”

Overall it seems like a good shift hampered only by an inability to roll program cuts into NEW programs. But for those of you supporting existing systems in the “favorites pile” like UAVs and ISR capabilities, cyber systems, and rapid mobility – things are looking up!

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