As battlefield demand of ISR grew, we scaled up. We were fortunate to help build and execute airborne intelligence operations on a global scale, connected via a global network — we called them “reachback” operations. Reachback operations were the first step in transmitting ISR sensor collection across the globe in seconds. Even today, few nations can conduct this type of ISR operational design. The enterprise has continued to advance, achieving fully distributed operations around the world. We also made it possible to remove humans from aircraft, allowing missions to fly nearly three times longer and expand the data available to exploit. Correspondingly, the Air Force increased the number of organizations that could accept data and create intelligence.
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