Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR)

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Submarines are able to monitor undersea activity and phenomena not detectable by any other platform. Since they can conduct extended operations in areas not accessible to other platforms or systems, submarines can intercept signals of critical importance for monitoring international developments and conducting a wide array of military operations. Furthermore, their ability to dwell covertly in sensitive areas for extended periods can thwart an adversary’s efforts at deception or evading collection that satellites and other sensors are vulnerable to. Further, the unique vantage point enjoyed by a submarine operating in the littoral region enables it to intercept high interest signal formats that are inaccessible to reconnaissance satellites or other collection platforms. Thus, our submarines can often provide real-time alertment to National Command Authorities on indications of imminent hostilities.

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Although our SSN force has been cut by nearly 40 percent since 1994, the volume of ISR mission tasking directed to our Submarine Force has more than doubled, due to the increased national need for information uniquely obtainable by submarines in trouble spots around the globe.