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Intelligence, Surveillance, and


Missions 106 -306


Key Question: What are the real world career options for Intelligence, Surveillance and Recon?


Objectives- By the end of this lesson, students will be able to: 

  • Understand the real world applications of Intelligence, Surveillance and Recon skills

  • Describe some of the careers that utilize Intelligence, Surveillance and Recon skills

  • Explain the educational requirements for a career in Intelligence, Surveillance and Recon

  • Know which STEM skills are critical for a career in this field

  • Understand a day in the life of an Intelligence, Surveillance and Recon professional

  • Evaluate job prospects in a chosen field


STEM standards: STEM Career Exploration; Research; non-fiction writing


Terms and Definitions: Intelligence, Surveillance and Recon (ISR)


Reading and Resource Links

ISR activities are most often associated with the Military Services as they are a critically important part of keeping our country safe and our enemies in check.  But these same activities are also used extensively for non-military missions in our cities and communities – for such tasks as disaster relief, search-and-rescue, support of law enforcement & emergency responders, and other various public safety efforts.

The military-oriented definition of ISR is the coordinated and integrated acquisition, processing and provision of timely, accurate, relevant, coherent and assured information and intelligence to support commander’s conduct of activities. Land, sea, air and space platforms have critical ISR roles in supporting operations in general. By massing ISR assets, allowing a period of immersion, developing layering and cross cueing of sensors, an improved clarity and depth of knowledge can be established. ISR encompasses multiple activities related to the planning and operation of systems that collect, process, and disseminate data in support of current and future military operations.

Examples of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems include:

  • Satellites  

  • Manned aircraft such as the U-2 

  • Unmanned aircraft systems such as the US Air Force’s Global Hawk and Predator and the US Army’s Hunter and PSST Aerostats  

  • Other ground-, air-, sea-, or space-based equipment 

  • Human intelligence teams. 


The intelligence data provided by these ISR systems can take many forms, including optical, radar, or infrared images or electronic signals. Effective ISR data can provide early warning of enemy threats, as well as enable military forces to increase effectiveness, coordination, and lethality. Demand for ISR capabilities to support ongoing military operations has increased.

The Career choices in the multiple disciplines of ISR are almost endless. The best known Agencies involved in ISR activities are the National Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency

Your STEM Flights ISR mission will focus on non-military tasks that may include finding, monitoring, and reporting on pre-planned areas of interest – possibly buildings, landmarks, or individuals (simulating search-and-rescue). When available, we will even coordinate mission tasks and communications with local law enforcement. 


Pre-Flight Activity: Read about one of the Careers in ISR using the linked resources above or other sources.  Write a 2-3 paragraph summary of your findings, including the information below (at a minimum).  Use complete sentences, proper punctuation and capitalization.  


  • Which career did you choose to explore? 

  • What are the educational requirements to be considered for this career? 

  • What types of STEM skills could you focus on now, to be able to do this job in the future? 

  • What is the average salary of someone in this job? 

  • Is the job market for ISR careers currently strong? Is it projected to change in the next 10 years? 

  • Describe a typical work day for this career.

          After selecting your Mission, please complete your assignment by clicking on the Google Doc link                  below.  Select 'Make a Copy' and complete the task.  Then, SHARE your assignment                                          with so that our team is able to mark your Pre-Flight Mission as complete.                Please reach out to us directly if you have any questions.  Thank you!

         Link to complete and upload your assignment:  Click Here


Conclusions and Takeaways:  There are many options for careers in ISR.  It is important to develop strong science and math skills now, in order to be able to pursue a career in the ISR field in the future.

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