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Intel chief discusses ISR challenges, transformation

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Marasky
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance visited Kadena Air Base Sep 3 - 4 to visit with Airmen and familiarize himself with intelligence issues specific to the Pacific region.

Lieutenant General David A. Deptula, who was previously stationed at Kadena as an F-15 pilot from 1979-1983, visited the base before moving on to Misawa and Yokota air bases as part of a tour that will touch on a number of critical issues facing PACAF's ISR professionals. He spent time with members of the 18th Wing Intelligence Office, the 390th Intelligence Squadron, the 82nd Reconnaissance Squadron and the 353rd Special Operations Group and the 67th Fighter Squadron.

The general said he wanted to talk directly with Airmen, find out what's on their mind and get a feel for the challenges they face every day. The second purpose of his visit was to talk to them specifically about the effectiveness of various Air Force ISR products and take their feedback back to headquarters.

"The third piece is to get out here and to get a feel for current operations in the Pacific," said General Deptula. "I also needed to get more familiar with what the priorities are in the Pacific Command area of responsibility and Pacific Air Forces as an air component to PACOM."

In addition to getting feedback from Airmen, General Deptula also had the opportunity to convey to them the increasing challenges that the Air Force ISR community as a whole is facing.

"The biggest challenge in the whole ISR world is the insatiable demand for the product," he said. "For ISR you can see the vast increase in requests for not just un-manned aerial vehicles, but in the processing, exploitation and dissemination of the information acquired by those vehicles."

In addition to the growing demand for Air Force ISR due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the general said the ISR community is working to cope with the evolution of ISR in the Air Force today.

"In the Air Force, we've spent the last 60 years trying to figure out how to hit any target on the face of the earth, in all weather, day and night, and to do it with precision and rapidly," he said. "Today we can do that and the question now becomes, 'what do you want to hit?'"

As the role of ISR changes, Gen. Deptula stressed that Kadena's strategic role in the Pacific region remains a constant.

"Kadena clearly is, to borrow a phrase, the Keystone of the Pacific," he said. "By virtue of location, you have a huge influence and as a result, such a multiplicity of missions that exist here on Kadena.

While noting the importance of Kadena and the diversity of it capabilities, he pointed out that the base is part of a larger Air Force and joint force team that must work together to accomplish the mission.

"As we get more and more demand and we have fewer and fewer resources, we have to rely on one another and understand what each other's mission is," he said. "We have to be able to integrate with one another to create synergies that wouldn't normally accrue if you just focus on your own specialty.

After getting a better feel for Kadena's operations and the concerns of its ISR professionals, General Deptula concluded the base is continuing to get the mission done in a vital part of the world.

"There is a great group of people that work here in an integrated fashion to meet our nation's security objectives," he said. "I've seen top notch units everywhere I go and motivated people, so keep it up."