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FM 34-2-1: TTPs For Reconnaissance And Surveillance And Intelligence Support To Counterreconnaissance



This chapter presents the planning steps for effective R&S operations. The S2 is responsible for making recommendations in R&S operations. At brigade or battalion, you are the driving force in the R&S effort. (Refer to Chapter 1 for the collection management process.) These steps apply to both brigade and battalion levels.

The first step begins with receiving the unit's mission. You must understand the commander's intent in this particular mission. You have already completed most of the IPB process; but now you must produce some of the specific information pertaining to the mission.

Once you understand the mission, begin to analyze the requirements placed on you as the S2. The commander should tell you the key pieces of information needed before and during the mission. This key information, called PIR, is either stated by the commander or recommended by you for the commander's approval.

The PIR and IR provide the initial focus of the R&S effort. The R&S plan should answer the PIR and IR. At this point you should have a rough draft R&S plan, such as when and what areas to begin R&S operations. (This is part of the mission analysis phase of the planning process steps.)

You can now begin adding some detail to the R&S plan. Integrate any requirements from higher headquarters into the plan. You have to translate the initial PIR and IR into indicators on which R&S assets can collect. Figure 4-1 shows examples of the PIR, indicator, specific information requirements (SIR), and specific orders and requests (SOR) process. Additional examples of indicators are in FM 34-3, Appendix C. Now determine the SIR and SOR needed for the R&S plan. The SIR and SOR ensure assets are collecting specific information that answers the PIR and IR.

The event template is a product of IPB showing when and where the enemy could go. Compare the SIR to the event template; this comparison should indicate when and where to send friendly R&S assets. Those areas in which you expect enemy activity are labeled NAI.

Once you have a picture of the coverage required for the R&S effort, you should prioritize the SIR. Those SIR that, when answered, will provide the greatest amount of intelligence in the shortest amount of time should have a high priority. (This is part of the COA development phase of the planning process steps.)

By now you have set your SIR priorities, identified areas to send R&S assets, and know when to begin the R&S mission. For the next step, you must be familiar with the capabilities and limitations of all R&S assets at your particular level. Compare the SIR with available R&S assets. Close coordination between you and the other staff officers should help ensure the assets are properly deployed. Development of the R&S plan should involve all staff officers. Your concern is developing IR and guiding assets to the proper areas.


Other staff officers have a role in this process. The following is a list of these officers and their responsibilities:

  • The S3 makes sure the assets are available and can conduct the mission and the R&S plan supports the overall mission of the unit.
  • The CI officer apprises you of the vulnerability of your R&S assets to enemy collection and target capabilities.
  • The FSO coordinates indirect fires planned to support R&S assets and recommends establishing appropriate restrictive fire support coordination measures to provide for troop safety.
  • The R&S asset commander is responsible for planning targets and indirect fires for that element.
  • The engineer officer supports the R&S effort by collecting information on the terrain and obstacles.
  • The IEWSE officer supports the R&S effort by guiding the MI battalion assets to assist in answering the PIR.
  • The ADA officer plans air defense for the R&S assets and also provides information on enemy air activity.
  • The NBC officer integrates NBC operations with R&S missions.
  • The aviation officer provides air movement for R&S assets and also information on enemy activity while in flight.
  • The ALO provides close air support for R&S missions as well as in-flight reports on enemy movement.

These staff officers are not cast aside upon completion of the R&S plan. They should be kept updated on the current R&S situation. These officers provide recommendations during R&S operations and ensure their assets are operating as instructed.

The DST is a tool used in the IPB process that brings the staff officers together to plan the mission. The DST also ensures involvement among the S2, the S3, and the FSO in planning R&S missions.


Once you know which R&S assets are available to conduct R&S operations, you have to decide how to satisfy the SIR. To collect the greatest amount of intelligence with the fewest assets, you must know how to plan missions using basic collection management strategy such as augmenting, task organizing, cueing, and redundancy.


Chapter 8 has an in-depth discussion of augmenting.


To collect the most information, with the fewest assets and in the quickest way, task organize assets. This increases their overall effectiveness in gathering information and surviving on the battlefield. The following is an example of task organizing.

A scout platoon's mission is to conduct a 10-kilometer-wide by 10-kilometer-deep zone reconnaissance before a movement to contact. The scout platoon must accomplish this mission in one hour. You have determined the platoon needs augmentation to cover this much area in the time allowed. After you coordinate with the S3, the S3 attaches two mechanized infantry squads to the scout platoon. These two squads are given the mission to provide security and mark infiltration routes.

In this example the scout platoon is able to concentrate on reconnoitering the terrain and locating enemy positions; while the two mechanized squads provide security for the scout platoon and mark infiltration routes. If you had expected heavy enemy obstacles, the S3 could have attached an engineer section to mark, breach, or provide obstacle assessment while the scouts and infantry did their mission.

You should consider all the assets listed in Chapter 3 for augmentation or task organization roles. See Chapter 8 for further discussion of task organization.


Another collection strategy of R&S missions is cueing. Cueing is using limited assets to identify or verify enemy activity or using one asset to tip off or alert another asset. Use the event template to pinpoint the times and areas to collect on the enemy.

Instead of the R&S assets trying to cover large areas for extended periods of time, the assets are active only when cued. The cueing can be the time you expect the enemy to be at a specific NAI, or the reaction to information reported by another asset. An example of cueing follows:

You have identified three NAI needing surveillance, while using only one asset. For this example the only asset available to cover the three NAI is an OP. Due to the distance between the NAI, the OP cannot cover all three NAI at the same time. You determine a location central to all three NAI. From this location the OP can cover only one NAI with surveillance.

An aircraft reports enemy vehicles near one of the unsurveilled NAI. You inform the OP of the activity, thus cueing it; and the asset moves toward the NAI to verify the report. You may use any of the assets listed in Chapter 3 as cues for other assets.


Another collection strategy for R&S operations is redundancy. As the S2, your primary effort is to provide R&S coverage for as many NAI as possible. Based on the priority of the SIR and the number of NAI, you have to decide which areas you want more than one asset to cover. With more than one asset covering the same NAI, a backup system is available in case one asset breaks down. Redundancy guarantees continuous area coverage. An example of redundancy follows.

You have a GSR covering an NAI during limited visibility. Just in case the GSR breaks down, you have assigned two OPs/LPs with NODs to cover the NAI. The OPs also provide NAI coverage during daylight while the GSR crew rests. If the GSR breaks down, the OPs have NODs to pick up the responsibility of surveilling the NAI. The NODs can also specifically identify the moving intruders detected by the GSR.

Remember to include in the R&S planning efforts coordination with the CI team supporting your unit. The routes used by your scout platoon and the positions operated by your assets will be potential NAI to enemy collection assets. Whatever OPSEC and deception measures you incorporate into the R&S plan, they should be based on CI evaluation of the vulnerability of your R&S assets to enemy collection and target acquisition capabilities. As you expect to see the enemy at certain times and places on the battlefield, so the enemy will expect to see you.

Working with the S3, you are now ready to begin matching assets with missions. If the commander and the S3 approve the R&S plan, then give warning orders to the assets. The warning orders allow the assets enough time to conduct troop-leading procedures.

Once you issue the warning orders and refined R&S plan, prepare your portion of the mission briefing. The purpose of this briefing is to inform the collection assets of their missions and to provide them with as much information as possible about it (such as IPB products). Use all available information to provide as clear a picture as possible of what you expect of them on the battlefield and what they can expect to encounter.

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