Defence Committee Press Notice

Session 2008-09, 19 May 2009



Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) is a key military capability that generates and delivers specific information and intelligence to decision makers at all levels in support of the planning and conduct of operations. The Committee’s new inquiry follows on from its previous Report, published in July 2008, which examined the contribution of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to ISTAR capability (HC 535). This new inquiry will examine the contribution of ISTAR to current UK operations, particularly in Afghanistan. It will include a focus on answering the following questions:

  • How are the various ISTAR capabilities being managed and coordinated: who has overall Command and Control in the UK and on operations?

  • What contribution have existing systems in Afghanistan made to ISTAR capability?

  • What difference has ISTAR made to the security of UK deployed troops, for example in reducing the number of  IED casualties?

  • To what extent has ISTAR increased the accuracy of coalition targeting and reduced civilian casualties?

  • To what extent are the right personnel in place, and trained, to deliver ISTAR in operations?

  • Have the benefits of Network Enabled Capability been realised in permitting a greater variety of sensors and weapons to be available on demand to commanders and troops on the ground?

  • What are the gaps in current ISTAR capabilities?

  • What more needs to be done for the full benefits of ISTAR to be realised?

  • To what extent are existing ISTAR systems and capabilities interoperable with coalition forces?

  • What lessons can be drawn from current operations for developing future capabilities?

The Committee would welcome written evidence to this inquiry, addressing the questions posed above, by Friday 19 June 2009.  The Committee expects to take oral evidence in July.


  • Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to If you have any queries on the submission of evidence contact Sara Turnbull, Inquiry Manager, tel: 020 7219 6951, email:

  • The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

  • Submissions should be as brief as possible, and paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference. Longer documents should include an executive summary.

  • Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.
  • Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

  • Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.


The Committee was nominated on 13 July 2005. The Defence Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Ministry of Defence and its associated public bodies.


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