The future of the American military’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission is in question. With adversaries like Russia and China updating their capabilities, legacy ISR military systems need updating as well.

Combatant commanders require solid Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance to plan and execute combat missions. Since the first Gulf War, the E8-C Joint STARS has been the platform of choice for providing that intelligence. This will now change.


Budgetary Constraints

The Department of the Air Force’s FY2022 budget request, released in May of this year, shows that the Air Force will divest four of the Joint Surveillance Target and Attack Radar System (JSTARS) in 2022. These cuts are proposed to offset the costs of next-gen fighter development. In addition to the JSTARS cuts, the service has plans to divest numerous legacy fighters, tankers, and drones. In total, the branch will save $1.3 billion. In the meantime, the Department of Defense has to address ISR for combatant commanders.