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



During the battle, your commander will probably have several PIR that need to be answered. As the S2, you will weigh those PIR in some way to organize your collection effort. Remember the first principle of R&S: tell commanders what they need to know in time for them to act.

This principle implies that, as the S2, you must monitor your collection effort at all times so you can make sure you answer your commander's PIR.

If your commander develops new PIR during the battle, you may have to modify your R&S plan to address the new PIR. Suppose a PIR becomes obsolete. For example, let's say your commander was very concerned about enemy reconnaissance locations. This PIR would be valid as your unit prepared to cross the LD/LC. However, once your unit consolidates on its objective, this particular PIR would be less important. The point is, you should constantly monitor the status of your R&S effort so you will know when to update PIR or to modify your R&S plan.


There are other reasons you must monitor your R&S or collection plan. Remember the term "high payoff target," or HPT? These are specific enemy weapon systems or specific enemy units that are identified which must be destroyed, degraded, or suppressed for your unit to succeed in its mission. Many times, locating an HPT may be one of your commander's PIR. Other times, it might be an IR. In either case, your R&S plan must account for HPTs. During the execution of your R&S plan, you must be able to identify HPTs and quickly forward their location to the S3 and FSO for action. This is especially critical for CR operations.

Another reason for monitoring your R&S operation is to keep track of your asset status and location. You will need to know which of your assets are still mission capable and which are inoperative, so you will not waste time retasking inoperable assets. Obviously, if you need to retask assets from one location to another, you need to know where those assets are.

One technique to keep track of your assets is to have them report in at predetermined intervals based on METT-T, criticality of the area covered by the asset, or communications available. You can even show this graphically by using TPLs for moving assets.

For example, let us say you have given your scouts the mission of route reconnaissance. On your event template, you have developed a series of TPLs depicting 15-minute increments. As your scouts cross a TPL, they report in to you. In this way, you can easily monitor where your scouts are on the battlefield. (Instead of TPLs, you can use existing friendly control graphics as well.)

If you lose contact with your scouts, you at least have an approximate idea of where they last were. When you use TPLs, try to have recognizable features represent them. Figure 7-1 is an example of this technique.


You should monitor your R&S plan to evaluate how well your assets are reporting information back to you. If your assets are not reporting quickly enough, accurately enough, or reporting the wrong information, you will need to make corrections.

At the brigade and battalion levels, many times you will find your assets may not always provide you with timely or complete information. There are many reasons for this. Most of the time it is difficult to discern what is happening on the battlefield. The company commander or platoon leader is preoccupied with fighting and winning the battle.

Nevertheless, do not accept incomplete information! If a spot report lacks the type of vehicle, number of vehicles, or direction of movement, get back on the radio and ask for it. If your scouts send back a report that does not make sense to you, ask for clarification. If you have not heard from your ground surveillance radars for an unusually long time, call them and ask for a situation report.

You should enforce negative situation reports at predetermined intervals. Too many times in the past, S2s thought no news was good news. They were content to sit in their vehicles in silence. Be aggressive! Remember, you are trying to answer your commander's questions. You cannot, and commanders cannot do their jobs, unless incoming information is timely, accurate, and complete. Nevertheless, you must be realistic.

There is much confusion in battle, and some information will not be attainable. You cannot tie up the radio nets trying to get "perfect" reports. Some information you will have to live without.

The reporting criteria you have specified in your intelligence annex or on your R&S overlay will tell your assets how and when they are to report. As you monitor your R&S operation, you should evaluate two things:

  • Are my R&S assets reporting per my published reporting criteria?
  • Are my published reporting criteria adequate to provide the specific information used to answer my commanders PIR?

NOTE : Sometimes reports using only size, activity, location, and time (SALT) will be more feasible and timely than the full size, activity, location, unit, time, equipment (SALUTE) report.

If your assets are not reporting per your criteria, it is simple to correct the asset; your S3 can help with this. However, you should continually assess whether or not your reporting criteria are sufficient to give you answers to your commander's questions.

If your assets are reporting per your criteria and you are not getting the detailed information you need, you should consider modifying your reporting criteria.

For example, let us suppose you wanted A Company to report enemy motorized rifle units by number and type of vehicles and their location. Later, however, you discover that in order to answer your commander's PIR, you must calculate the enemy rate of advance. You should modify A Company's reporting criteria to include speed and direction of movement.

Remember a good R&S collection plan tells the commander what he or she needs to know in time for the commander to act. Therefore, assets must report information to you quickly so you can process and relay it to the commander, S3, or FSO. It does no good to report an enemy counterattack 30 minutes after the fact. As the S2, you need to enforce timely reporting of information.

Here again, the commander and/or the S3 can help. Remember, be aggressive! The S2 must also inform the commander when information on the PIR cannot be collected or if the R&S assets have been destroyed.


Now that you have evaluated reporting, assume that you have been able to answer your commander's first PIR. The next logical step is for you to focus your R&S effort on answering the commander's second highest PIR, then the third, fourth, and so on. Realistically, your R&S plan will probably address more than one PIR simultaneously. The point for you to remember is that R&S does not stop. Once you have satisfied a requirement, shift your attention to the next highest priority.

Many times you may have answered a PIR out of sequence. For example, you may be able to answer PIR 2 and 3 although you still have not been able to collect enough information to answer PIR 1. Or you may find the battlefield situation has changed so drastically your PIR 1 is no longer a valid concern.

These cases prove you must continually reevaluate the priority of your commander s PIR. If you have answered PIR 2 and 3, does PIR 4 become your second priority? If PIR 1 is no longer a valid concern, does PIR 2 become your top priority? You must support your commander. Knowing and understanding your commander's intent will help you reevaluate priorities and anticipate possible changes, as will a solid relationship with your commander and S3.

One useful technique that will aid you in managing PIR priorities is to "time phase" your commander's PIR based on how you anticipate events on the battlefield. Essentially, you tie each PIR to a phase in the battle through use of the DST.

Normally, each PIR has a time relative to a point in the battle when answering it will be important, and another time when the PIR will no longer be a valid concern. For example, let us suppose your unit's mission is to attack. Initially, the most important thing your commander might need to know is the location of enemy reconnaissance and security zone units.

However, after a certain point in the attack (after you have penetrated the security zone), this question becomes meaningless. Now, the most important thing might be to locate the enemy's main defensive area. Once you have consolidated on the objective, the most important thing might be locating any possible enemy counterattack. Therefore, before the attack, your commander's PIR might look like this:

  • PIR 1: What are the locations of the 34th motorized rifle regiment (MRR) reconnaissance and platoon strong points in the security zone?
  • PIR 2: What are the locations of the 34th MRR's MRC and AT positions within the main defensive area?
  • PIR 3: What is the location of the 4th Tank Battalion (TB) (-) of the 34th MRR?

Once you have reached your intermediate objective, you might change your commander's PIR priorities to look like this:

  • PIR 1: What are the locations of the 34th MRR's MRC and AT positions within the main defensive area?
  • PIR 2: What is the location of the 4th TB (-) of the 34th MRR?
  • PIR 3: What are the locations of the 34th MRR's reconnaissance and platoon strong points in the security zone?

In fact, you might delete PIR 3 altogether. Later, as you consolidate on your subsequent objective, you may reprioritize like this:

  • PIR 1: What is the location of the 4th TB (-) of the 34th MRR?
  • PIR 2: What are the locations of the 34th MRR's MRC and AT positions within the main defensive area?

Since PIR relate to events on the battlefield, you can anticipate them by war gaming; and enter these changes onto the intelligence BOS of your unit's DST. Figure 7-2 shows the process of time phasing PIR.


Whether modifying reporting requirements because of new reporting criteria or because of new or modified PIR, you must be ready to change your R&S plan to fit the commanders needs. Basically, you will have to decide--

  • Where you want your R&S assets to shift their attention.
  • Where you want those assets to actually move.
  • What you want your assets to look for.
  • How you want your assets to report.

Here is where doing your homework (IPB) ahead of time comes in handy. If most or all of your IPB products were prepared ahead of time, all you need do is review and update those products as necessary.

Looking at your updated situation templates and event templates will give you a good idea of where to shift your R&S focus, and what you should expect to see. Your updated terrain and weather products will tell you where to place your assets.

However, if you have not been able to update or produce situation and event templates, or you have advanced past your AI, you still need to mentally envision what you think the enemy will look like on the terrain, applying the effects of weather. Your mental picture will help you quickly come up with NAI and TPLs.

The next step is to retask your R&S assets. Remember, when you shift your R&S assets, their vulnerability to enemy collection and target acquisition capabilities may change.


Chapter 5 described many ways of tasking assets, including using a matrix format. A matrix is easy to use and can be quickly modified. Figure 7-3 is an example of a modified matrix.

Each column has a letter designator. For example, the Priority column is "A," the NAI column is "B," and so on. The lettering makes it easy to quickly assign a new R&S mission, or modify an existing mission. All you need do is transmit pertinent information within each column. For example:

  • Column B - 4.
  • Column C - 1800 to 2000.
  • Column D - BRDM, BMP, platoon-size (three vehicles) with possible tanks.
  • Column L - Action.
  • Column N - Coordinate with ECHO.
  • Column O - Report by type (light and heavy wheeled and tracked), number of vehicles, location, speed, and direction of movement.

You have told the attached GSR team to monitor NAI 4 from 1800 to 2000. They should expect to see BRDM or BMP vehicles (possibly reinforced with tanks) up to platoon size (three vehicles). You have also told the GSR team they must coordinate with A Company, and should report targets by type (light or heavy wheeled and light or heavy tracked) and number of vehicles, location, speed, and direction of movement.

Figure 7-4 shows a similar R&S tasking matrix with its horizontal lines numbered and its vertical columns identified by letters. Use this system if you wish to modify only one specific asset tasking on the matrix. For example:

  • Line 3C - 8.
  • Line 3D - AB434160.
  • Line 3E - Refer to 7E.

In this example, you have just told Task Force 1-10 to establish an OP at an NAI. The OP is to observe an alternate position for an MRC at NAI 8. You updated the mission of one asset without reconstructing the entire matrix.

These are just two examples of a technique you can use to quickly retask your deployed R&S assets. There are many more. The key is to establish a standard to quickly and easily modify your R&S plan based on your commanders changing needs.

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