|Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency|
Shield of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency
|Active||20 October 1948 to 29 September 2014|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Type||Field Operating Agency|
|Role||Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance|
|Part of||United States Air Force|
|Garrison/HQ||Lackland Air Force Base, Texas|
|Motto(s)||Freedom Through Vigilance|
|Major General John N.T. "Jack" Shanahan|
The Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (Air Force ISR Agency or AFISRA) was until 29 September 2014 a field operating agency of the United States Air Force headquartered at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. On that date it was redesignated Twenty-Fifth Air Force and aligned as a numbered air force (NAF) of the Air Combat Command.
Its primary mission was to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) products, applications, capabilities and resources, to include cyber and geospatial forces and expertise. Additionally, it was the service cryptologic component (SCC) responsible to the National Security Agency and Central Security Service for Air Force cryptographic activities.
Originally called the United States Air Force Security Service, the Air Force ISR Agency was activated on 20 October 1948, at Arlington Hall, Washington, D.C., with a mission of cryptology and communications security.
The agency organizes, trains, equips, presents, and deploys assigned forces and capabilities to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for combatant commanders and the nation. It also implements and oversees the execution of Air Force policies intended to expand ISR capabilities.
The agency's 17,000 people serve at about 65 locations worldwide.
On 14 July 2014, the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force announced that the Air Force ISR Agency would be reorganized into the Twenty-Fifth Air Force (25 AF), a numbered air force assigned to Air Combat Command, on 1 October 2014.
Two active duty wings, one group, and two centers are assigned to the Air Force ISR Agency.
This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. (July 2014)
The Air Force ISR Agency was established as the United States Air Force Security Service (USAFSS) on 20 October 1948. The service was headquartered at Arlington Hall, a former girls' school and the headquarters of the United States Army's Signals Intelligence Service (SIS) cryptography effort during World War II. The USAFSS was tasked with the cryptology and communications security missions of the newly formed United States Air Force. The USAFSS moved to Brooks Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, in April 1949, and then to "Security Hill" at nearby Kelly Air Force Base in August 1953.
During the Korean War, the USAFSS personnel provided United Nations Command units with intelligence on the movements of major Korean People's Army forces from Manchuria to Wonsan. USAFSS personnel received Korean Language training at Yale University, and flew on the Douglas C-47 Skytrain to relay communications to allied ground forces on the Korean Peninsula.
During the early days of the Cold War, USAFSS crews flew missions on several aircraft converted for intelligence missions, including the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the Lockheed C-130A-II Combat Talon, and the Strategic Air Command's Boeing RB-50 Superfortress and Boeing RC-135. The USAFSS established communications stations in Germany, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Scotland, and later installed AN/FLR-9 "Elephant Cage" radar sites in Alaska, England, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, and Turkey.
The USAFSS became involved in the Vietnam War when the Pacific Air Forces asked it to establish an Air Force Special Security Office at Tan Son Nhut Airport near Saigon in 1961. By the following year, a USAFSS squadron and three subordinate detachments were operating in Vietnam and Thailand, and USAFSS personnel supported College Eye threat warning operations. USAFSS crews also flew on Douglas EC-47 Skytrain missions to search for aircrew shot down in North Vietnam and additional SAC RC-135s deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan.
On 1 August 1979, the Air Force redesignated the USAFSS as the Electronic Security Command (ESC), reflecting the organization's additional mission of improving the Air Force's use of electronic warfare technology in combat. In 1985, the Air Force tasked ESC with computer security, in addition to its intelligence and electronic warfare missions.
ESC provided intelligence support to the United States invasion of Panama in 1989 and were among the first U.S. military personnel to arrive in Saudi Arabia for the Gulf War. During that conflict, ESC personnel operated at three different locations in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
On 1 October 1991, the Air Force redesignated ESC as the Air Force Intelligence Command (AFIC) and consolidated Air Force intelligence functions and resources into a single command. AFIC merged ESC with the Air Force Foreign Technology Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the Air Special Activities Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and elements of the Air Force Intelligence Agency, Washington D.C. With the combined missions, AFIC was tasked with intelligence, security, electronic combat, foreign technology, and treaty monitoring.
The organization was redesignated again when it became the Air Intelligence Agency on 1 October 1993. During the 1990s, AIA personnel deployed to support NATO operations during the Bosnian War and Kosovo War, and as part of Operations Southern Watch and Northern Watch in Southwest Asia.
In August 2006, General T. Michael Moseley, the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, directed that the Air Force intelligence efforts stress intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. AIA was eventually redesignated the Air Force ISR Agency (AFISRA) on 8 June 2007. The organization change included transforming AFISRA into a field operating agency and reassigning it from Air Combat Command to Headquarters Air Force. With the change, AFISRA reported to the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
Beginning in 2009, AFISRA personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan to support MC-12 aircraft as part of Project LIBERTY.
In July 2014 the Air Force announced that the Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency was being realigned from Headquarters Air Force as a Field Operating Agency to become part of a new operational numbered air force under Air Combat Command. AFISRA became 25th Air Force on 29 September 2014 at a ceremony held at JBSA-Lackland.
Chairman of the Senate Armed Forces committee John McCain would later call this move "a shell game" designed to comply with a DoD requirement to cut excess staff, without actually cutting any positions or saving any money at all.