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NEWS | Sept. 6, 2018

COMACC visits 363 ISRW

By Staff Sgt. Areca T. Bell 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, and his wife, Sara Holmes, visited the 363rd Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Wing, here, Sept. 5, 2018.

Holmes met with senior leaders and attended several briefings to learn more about the 363rd ISRW’s mission, Airmen and innovation initiatives.

The 363rd ISRW, the first and only one of its kind in the Air Force, focuses on precision targeting production, special operations ISR, and full-spectrum analytical support for tactical warfighters.

During his visit, Holmes spoke about the importance of the Airmen assigned to the wing, who conduct reach back operations or are technically deployed while completing their mission at their permanent units to assist service members with boots on the ground overseas.

“We will never have enough people to provide every air component commander with the amount of (intel Airmen) they would like to have. We have some specialized problems that as their people rotate through, they wouldn’t have time to find that specialized answer, so we’re going to continue to do reach back,” Holmes said. “It helps us have people focus on a specialized problem that might apply to more than one combat command, and it lets us take people and focus them on our most important problem today. Where if they were all in (U.S. Air Forces Central Command), AFCENT would never let them work on a (United States Forces Korea) problem, but because they’re in a reach back, they can go where the problem is that day.”


As adversaries continue to field increasingly advanced technologies, the Air Force continues to innovate to stay ahead of the curve. Through innovation, the wing uses its analytical capabilities and targeting expertise, to pull meaningful patterns from collected intelligence data to produce made-to-order targeting products for operational and tactical-level warfighters.

“Innovation fits into everything the 363rd is trying to do,” said Holmes. “The 363rd is on a three-year journey of inventing itself as another ISR wing, so everything they do, they are figuring out how to do. There aren’t checklists they can go to, there aren’t books that tell them how to do it, they are reinventing it as they go.”

ISR serves as the global eyes and ears on adversaries, hence why it is one of the Air Force’s five enduring core missions. In 2017, the Air Force was tasked with nearly 25,000 ISR missions, collected 340,000 hours of full motion video and produced 2.55 million intelligence products.

According to Holmes, the 363rd ISRW plays an important role in helping fulfill the Air Force’s overall mission to dominate air, space and cyberspace.

“Over the 15 years of the kind of war we’ve been fighting in the middle east, we’ve focused on doing what they would call dynamic targeting, where the target is identified by a ground commander and we would go hit that target that day.” Holmes said. “Traditionally, when you’re going to fight against a peer adversary—Russia, China—a rouge nation—Iraq, North Korea—the scale of what you need to do is so much bigger that you have to do more precise targeting. The Air Force traded away the people that knew how to do that, so we can support that kind of fight, and now we’re rebuilding that capability to solve problems without worrying so much about what platform we’re using or which people we’re using to do it.”


In addition to speaking with senior leaders, Holmes thanked Airmen for their hard work and dedication to the mission, and encouraged them to continue innovating. He also personally recognized Airmen for their actions in support of the wing’s mission by presenting his commander’s coin to them.

“I admire the 363rd for inventing what they do as they go—there’s a certain kind of person that is comfortable with that, and they appear to be,” Holmes said. “I think they’ve done a great job on starting to figure out where we need to go with our targeting processes in the future, they do more than that. Also, with analyzing new threats, it’s helping us get ready for shifting this fight and competition against peer adversaries, and I just say keep going, don’t look back.”

During the visit, Sara also met with spouses to discuss the key spouse program and efforts to improve Airman and family resiliency within the 363rd ISRW.