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Virtual Event | The End of American Intelligence Dominance?

Virtual Event | The End of American Intelligence Dominance?

Please be advised: This event will premiere on this page at 10:00 a.m. EDT, Friday, October 29. Register for the event here.

ISR—a bureaucratic abbreviation for “intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance”— is the eyes and ears of informed policymaking in peacetime and of effective leadership on the battlefield in time of war. The systems that acquire timely information about foreign threats, process that information and then present it in a form that is useful to national leaders and military commanders are increasingly large in number and diverse in size, ranging from small personal devices to complex satellite systems.

For the last 30 years, the United States has benefitted from ISR dominance. As a result, an expectation has developed among America’s leaders that they will always benefit from visibility into the thinking and actions of their adversaries, who, for their part, will never see as clearly inside the decision making of the United States. Yet this expectation is increasingly disconnected from reality: The advent of highly capable and reasonably- priced commercial systems is levelling the playing field, while demand in the United States government for ISR systems is placing limited resources under increasing strain.

The national security community must begin making hard choices about how to allocate its finite assets. As leaders determine which threats to prioritize, they will also look toward nontraditional systems like commercial data to fill gaps in collection. This development will pose challenges for policymakers regarding privacy, but it will also open up opportunities for dissuading adversaries from pursuing aggression. Please join Hudson’s Michael Doran, Ezra Cohen and Bryan Clark to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. government in this new era in ISR.


Ezra Cohen

Adjunct Fellow, Hudson Institute and former Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security

Bryan Clark

Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Defense Concepts and Technology, Hudson Institute


Michael Doran

Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Hudson Experts

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