Largest ISR weapons, tactics conference charts joint vector

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By Wayne Amann, Air Force ISR Agency Public Affairs / Published August 20, 2014

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) --

For the eighth consecutive year tacticians and subject matter experts from across the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance community, met at the Air Force ISR Agency headquarters here to help shape the future direction of the Air Force -- this time in concert with its sister services.

The ISR Weapons and Tactics Working Group, or WEPTAC, and Tactics Review Board, or TRB, convened Aug. 4-8 to tackle critical ISR issues and formulate ways to effectively manage ISR capabilities to meet the challenges ahead. This year's event attracted more than 120 attendees, including first-time representatives from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

The weeklong event sported a hashtag style theme: "#WINNINGinCDO,” or contested, degraded operations, and featured an exchange of operational lessons learned and validation of ISR tactics, techniques and procedures, or TTPs.

"You are here to ensure ISR not only survives, but wins in a CDO environment," said Maj. Gen. John Shanahan, the Air Force ISR Agency commander. "This is the only event in existence that brings together this much horsepower and mental capacity with the pure objective of improving the way we employ ISR.

"WEPTACs are incredibly effective events, but they will only make a difference if you see things through completion," he continued. "I expect you to be passionate in solving these problems, but never forget we are a team and because of it, we will fight and win."

The WEPTAC Working Group and TRB convened with a mission of enabling the Air Force to do its job smarter, faster and more effectively. It brought tangible and varied support to the warfighter.

"The event tackled so many relevant and timely issues to the warfighter, it's almost impossible to highlight just one," said Capt. Adam Young, an ISR weapons officer and the WEPTAC Working Group chairman. "Teams tackled efforts from standardizing the manner intelligence is reported on the battlefield, to coming up with ways to integrate our cyber warfare partners into operations to determining how our ISR organizational structures can better support the tactical fight."

Diversity continued to be a staple of this annual event. Once again coalition attendees were major contributors to its strategic success.

"Our coalition partners remain invaluable teammates," Young said. "In any future fight we'll likely find ourselves standing side by side with them. That thought was not lost on our U.S. participants or our allies. It was clear the more we do now to integrate our tactics and training will pay huge dividends on future battlefields."

The future of ISR will encompass the upcoming reorganization of the agency into 25th Air Force under the Air Combat Command. The WEPTAC Working Group and TRB addressed that impending transformation.

"This working group examined whether or not current and future ISR organizational structures are best postured to meet tactical demands -- this included a detailed look at the role of the 625th Operations Center that will stand up with the creation of 25th Air Force," Young said. "We're grateful and humbled by the level of coalition participation at this year's event and trust it will continue in whatever form it evolves into under ACC."

Five mission area working groups, or MAWG, tackled some daunting ISR challenges, including ISR collection TTPs in CDO, analytical TTPs for CDO and intelligence dissemination.

"The MAWG teams took on very tough issues in a short time and I know our Air Force and the nation are better for their efforts," Young said. "The next step is to see these efforts through to completion, only then can we count it a success."

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