Army-Air Force Unmanned Aircraft System's (UAS) Concept of Operations (CONOPS)

Wednesday August 6, 2008

What is it?

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command (ACC) are developing a single comprehensive CONOPS for UAS employment at theater level.

The CONOPS will provide the operational flexibility to support requirements across the spectrum of conflict, from centralized theater priorities typical of major combat operations, to responsive direct support to ground maneuver units typical irregular warfare based on joint force commanders (JFC) approved apportionment of available UAS assets. The CONOPS will consider organizational templates; command and control (to include supported/supporting relationships); processing, exploitation and dissemination (PED); armed UAS employment; and airspace control. The CONOPS will maximize the UAS capability available to the JFC or supported commander, considering all available assets, and will enable effective air defense against adversarial UAS.

What has the Army done?

On Jan. 23, during Army-Air Force warfighter talks at Langley Air Force Base, Va., the TRADOC commanding general and ACC commander reviewed the work to-date on UAS CONOPS development, and agreed that future efforts should be to develop a CONOPS that will optimize seamless theater-capable UAS support to the joint force commander, to support operational flexibility across the spectrum of conflict, from centralized theater priorities typical of major combat operations, to responsive direct support to ground maneuver units typical of irregular warfare. They want unique and common requirements identified to find commonality that can increase interoperability and to look for agreements and overlaps between the services' capabilities. Critical focus areas include a common open architecture for data sharing and dissemination, and how to enable the capability for both centralized and decentralized missions for UAS.

How does this benefit the individual Soldier?

The UAS CONOPS will improve Army-Air Force collaboration for joint UAS operations and increase the two services' UAS interoperability to optimize joint warfighter effectiveness. The CONOPS will put real-time information into the hands of the Soldier, reducing the time from sensor to shooter. While it is important to feed the intelligence process, getting actionable information into the hands of the warfighter is the Army's primary focus.


Joint Publication 3-0 Joint Operations dated Feb. 13, 2008
FM 3-0 Operations dated February 2008
OSD Unmanned Systems Roadmap 2007-2032
UAS Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures dated August, 2006
Joint UAS CONOPS First Edition dated March 2007
FM 7-15 The Army Universal Task List
UAS Mix Analysis
Army Campaign Plan Decision Point 43


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"As opposed to finding independent solutions, we are trying to find joint, collaborative solutions that best support the joint warfighter in any spectrum of war."

-Gen. John D.W. Corley, commander, Air Combat Command, speaking about Army-Air Force development of an Unmanned Aerial System Concept of Operations

"The environment we are operating in today, and what we expect to see tomorrow, has changed dramatically over the past few years. Taking a joint approach on UAS issues will allow us to rapidly develop force capabilities from concept and capability development through employment by identifying, linking and synchronizing all of our activities, so we can give the best capability to joint warfighters who are fighting a very elusive, thinking and adaptive adversary."

-Gen. William S. Wallace, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command


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