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JBSA News
NEWS | Nov. 13, 2019

Beale ISR mission migrates to 16th Air Force

By Tech. Sgt. Alexandre Montes 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

The 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, California, used to fall under with the 25th Air Force underneath Air Combat Command. The activation of the 16th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland has turned the information warfare NAF into a force of the future, combining the 25th Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance focus with the 24th Air Force’s cyber focus.
 

“It doesn’t change what we do here, we’re still a reconnaissance wing that collects images, signals, and data that ultimately becomes and intelligence product,” said Col. Andrew Clark, 9th RW commander. “The 16th Air Force is considered an information warfare NAF. It’s also an Air Force component for Air Force Cyber and we come in to contribute to the information dominance.”

Using high altitude, the wing collects information that is then disseminated to multiple factions within the wing to bring information faster to the decision makers and warfighters. The melding of reconnaissance and cyber defense is another support function that reveals battlespace awareness.

In the future, the wing will evolve with the 16th AF and upend the pyramid of support and command, giving the squadrons more responsibility and space to innovate and move forward.

“One good example is our communications squadron,” Clark mentioned. “They are going to move away from doing your desktop computer and email, and shift to a cyber-focus, cyber warfare, cyber defense, and fighting in the cyber domain.”

Clark continued with how the 9th RW is using products collected from the U-2 Dragon Lady and the RQ-4 Global hawk to feed the multi-domain command and control, which  ultimately integrating into the rest of the Air Force and its platforms.

“We’re doing things beyond reconnaissance at this point,” Clark said. “We’re going to be a huge piece in integration of platforms, beyond simple reconnaissance. As we evolve as an organization with integration, we are moving fast and that has allowed us to move quickly at the squadron level.”

Clark mentioned that the wing will only accelerate from here and be the standard for future reconnaissance wings. His vison is to not be “pigeonholed” into one mission set, and set the bar for other wings within the 16th Air Force.

“We will be able to develop quicker and smoother relationships more effectively, because we are aligned against a central mission set which is information warfare.” Clark said. “How we fit into that and fit into the battle rhythm is still to be seen.”