Defining conditions for the use of persistent surveillance
Fekkes, Cristina Cameron.
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Experimentation Directorate (J9) attempts to alleviate this shortfall by proposing a definition: "Persistent Surveillance: an operationally focused surveillance approach that uses a full range of strategic, operational and tactical collection methods to dwell on and revisit a target. Persistent surveillance contributes to the detection and recognition of meaningful changes in an adversary's activities that support planning and executing preemptive actions to prevent likely adversary courses of action." The issue with this definition, as with all current definitions, is the lack of precision in defining what circumstances warrant the use of persistent surveillance. In addition, currently there are no quantifying metrics to determine effectiveness of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) collection for the use of the persistent surveillance concept (i.e., metrics to show the duration an asset loiters over a target area and the success rate of meeting mission objectives during this time). Without a clear and distinct definition, and metrics, the concept of allocating assets for collection managers to perform persistent surveillance becomes ambiguous. This thesis is to determine key conditions for allocating the use of persistent surveillance through historical analysis of the use of persistent surveillance between the concept's introduction in the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and the evolution following the 2006 QDR, when the concept of persistent surveillance was actually declared an operational capability that was vital to the mission in Iraq. This thesis will perform a historical case study on the evolution of persistent surveillance in U.S. Central Command in order to build a more precise definition and allow for better use of persistent surveillance in future military operations.
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