LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va., -- Air Combat Command will be home to a new numbered air force in support of the Air Force's decision to realign much of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance enterprise into a more operationally integrated ISR force.
The Air Force will realign its ISR Agency from a field operating agency to the 25th Air Force, a newly designated numbered air force with headquarters at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.
The agency's current commander, Maj. Gen. John N.T. "Jack" Shanahan, will be reassigned as the commander of the 25 AF, and most organizations presently aligned under the AF ISR Agency, such as the Air Force Technical Applications Center (Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.), 70th ISR Wing (Fort Meade, Md.), 480th ISR Wing (Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.), and 361st ISR Group (Hurlburt Field, Fla.), are projected to be a part of 25 AF. The Air Force Cryptologic Office at Fort Meade, the liaison office to the National Security Agency, will also fall under the new NAF. The National Air & Space Intelligence Center (Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio) is scheduled to remain directly aligned with the Air Staff under the Air Force Intelligence directorate, HAF/A2.
The effort is more than a re-designation of the ISR Agency. While processing, exploitation and dissemination, targeting, and source analysis will come together under the new NAF, so will some ACC organizations with ISR aircraft. The 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif., and the 55th Wing at Offutt AFB, Neb., will be realigned from 12 AF at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., to 25 AF. Additionally, ACC's Air Force Targeting Center will also be realigned under 25 AF and will transition from a center to a targeting and analysis wing. In all, approximately 28,000 Airmen are expected be assigned to 25 AF.
The new organization is intended to provide more effective integration of tactical, theater and national ISR capabilities.
"The reorganization will enable us to meet our mission partners' intelligence requirements more effectively and will strengthen our relationship with the intelligence community," said Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of ACC. "It also provides one command structure for ISR Airmen, which is very important as we normalize the ISR mission into the combat air forces. Combatant commanders and other mission partners count on Air Force ISR capabilities every day; it's a complex and critical mission set that is fundamental to who we are as CAF Airmen - it's a part of our DNA."
With this realignment, the Air Force will build on its existing ISR enterprise and continue to provide proactive intelligence, responsive ISR operations and comprehensive analytical assessment products critical to decision-makers. It will also enable ACC Airmen to produce standardized products for customers seeking multi-disciplined intelligence, including analysis, imagery, targeting and other capabilities in support of international emergency relief and other peacetime operations.
Ultimately, the realignment allows for better integration of tactical, regional and national ISR capabilities, said Hostage, noting that the unity of command will help the Air Force better meet the intelligence requirements of mission partners and combatant commanders.
Hostage, who previously served as the commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command in Southwest Asia, said the integrated ISR capabilities supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan led to this point.
"The synergy of ISR capabilities we achieved in air operations centers over the past 10-12 years proves the enormous value of consolidating these resources," said Hostage.
Hostage noted "incredible leadership" the AF ISR Agency had maintained through several previous name changes and alignments, executing ISR operations in concert with the national intelligence community, DOD's combat support agencies, and joint and coalition partners. The 65-year history and accomplishments of the agency will be retained within 25th Air Force, as will the same mission focus, the general stressed.
"Combatant commanders and our other mission partners count on us to meet their requirements," said Hostage. "That won't change, and this realignment helps ensure we stay operationally focused to meet their needs."
The NAF is projected to standup this fall.