May 23, 2007

Top US intel officer gets firsthand look at downrange operations

5/22/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- The deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance recently visited the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing to talk to intelligence Airmen and ISR squadron members about the importance of their mission and to learn about new processes in the area of responsibility.

Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula was briefed on the centralized mission planning cell at the wing.

"We have built the centralized mission planning cell over the past year and explained ... how it impacts the 37 intelligence units across the (area of operations) in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom," said Lt. Col. Bill Tart, the commander of the 379th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron.

The general was also briefed on improvements in tactics, techniques and procedures developed by many of the Airmen at the wing and examined by Lt. Gen. Gary L. North, the Central Air Forces Command commander.

General Deptula discussed how a combined arms campaign with integrated airpower is the only way to build on successes in both theaters.

"We stressed that all operations whether land, maritime or air begin with ISR," Colonel Tart said. "Many Airmen of the 379th EOSS and the wing flying squadrons all influence the fight through intelligence preparation of the battlefield for tomorrow's engagements or through real-time ISR collection and dissemination of timely, accurate and relevant data to people who can do something about it."

The general also visited the 763rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron whose RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft support theater- and national-level consumers with near real-time on-scene intelligence collection, analysis and dissemination capabilities.

He was briefed by the squadron intelligence flight and ended his visit by talking with an aircrew.

"While with the crew, he emphasized the importance of airborne ISR, and the RC-135 in the fight against the Taliban, al Qaida and the war on terrorism," said Lt. Col. Bruce Mundie, the 763rd ERS commander. "He expressed his gratitude for the 763rd ERS's commitment to our country and the Air Force, and he showed great interest in the results of two recent missions that increased the pressure on the Taliban in Afghanistan."

Understanding that the war on terrorism is a combined effort of U.S. forces and coalition forces, the general visited the 12th (Bomber) Squadron, which flies Tornado GR-4s.

General Deptula was greeted by Royal Air Force Air Commodore Paul Oborn, the air component commander, and introduced to RAF Wing Commander Mike Wigston, officer commanding the 12th (Bomber) Squadron. He also met Flight Lt. Jimmy Owens and Warrant Officer Steven Warner, both RAF members. The general received a brief on the intelligence capabilities of the Tornado GR-4 and its role in Operation Iraqi Freedom, providing armed overwatch for ground forces and reconnaissance for operational planning.

"The general was very keen to learn about the ability of the Tornado GR-4 to provide imagery directly to ground forces in contact with the enemy," said Flight Lieutenant Owens. "He was enthusiastic about the assistance provided to the Tornado GR-4 detachment for mission support by U.S. forces and discussed his thoughts on how this should be developed."

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