For and From Cyberspace:
Conceptualizing Cyber Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) remains a minor mystery to many people in the armed forces, who consider it an arcane endeavor shrouded in secrecy behind the fabled “green door.” Cyber operations—novel, ever-fluxing, and often strictly compartmentalized—are even more confusing to a number of our uniformed colleagues. When the two combine, the most common reaction seems to be outright befuddlement. Yet, the marriage of ISR and cyber is an evolving reality that requires immediate attention to best meet the challenges and exploit the opportunities of cyberspace. In this article, the author proposes a definition of cyber ISR; describes some of the problems confronting ISR in cyberspace; and outlines a broad vector to improve the Air Force’s ISR posture within this newest operational domain. Similar to the evolution of ISR for and from the air and space domains, cyber ISR promises a rich return if the Air Force makes and sustains appropriate investments in resources, personnel, and intellectual effort.