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Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, a tactical enabling operation, is a broad category of activities designed to support the battalion's intelligence development, planning, and decision-making. Intelligence, the product gained by analyzing combat information for its relevance to the unit's mission, has always been critical to successfully accomplishing the mission. Reconnaissance is a combined-arms maneuver operation that employs the battalion's reconnaissance assets to observe named areas of interest and target areas of interest, by visual or other detection methods, in order to collect combat information. Surveillance involves the systematic observation of a particular named area of interest by visual, electronic, photographic, or other means. The combat information collected by the battalion reconnaissance platoon and other assets is analyzed and evaluated by different echelons in order to become intelligence. The goal of ISR operations is to answer the battalion commander's critical intelligence requirements and other information requirements to enable timely and effective decision-making. The SBCT infantry battalion reconnaissance platoon is the eyes and ears of the battalion commander and provides him with an organic reconnaissance capability.



The Army has conducted reconnaissance and surveillance tasks since its inception. The production of intelligence—the product gained by analyzing combat information for its relevance to the unit's mission—has always been critical to successfully accomplishing the mission. In today's Army, information is a critical element of combat power. The speed, reliability, and availability of combat information have changed considerably from the methods of the past, and they continue to change.


ISR is the term presently applied to a combined arms enabling operation that combines what was previously described as reconnaissance and surveillance (a maneuver task) with the production and dissemination of intelligence (previously depicted as a staff task). ISR is a continuous, recursive operation focused on the collection of relevant information that is analyzed to create intelligence to inform the commander's visualization and support the operational cycle. The following definition of ISR is extracted from FM 3-0:

    • Intelligence is (1) the product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of available information concerning foreign countries or areas; (2) information and knowledge about an adversary obtained through observation, investigation, analysis, or understanding.
    • Surveillance is the systematic observation of aerospace, surface or subsurface areas, places, persons, or things, by visual, aural, electronic, photographic or other means.
    • Reconnaissance is a mission undertaken to obtain by visual observation or other detection methods, information about the activities and resources of an enemy or potential enemy, or to secure data concerning the meteorological, hydrographic, or geographic characteristics of a particular area.


Commanders integrate ISR missions into a single plan that capitalizes on the different capabilities of each element and other information gathering assets. They synchronize reconnaissance and surveillance missions that employ maneuver units with both the ISR plan and scheme of maneuver. The battalion uses intelligence products developed at higher echelons to identify gaps in the intelligence process. The battalion conducts reconnaissance and surveillance operations to fill the battalion commanders CCIR and to collect information based upon the information requirements defined by the SBCT commander. Successful battalion reconnaissance and surveillance depend on the following battalion-level fundamentals:

    • Initiate reconnaissance and surveillance early and conduct them continuously.
    • Initiate appropriate reconnaissance and surveillance forward.
    • Focus reconnaissance on CCIR and decision points (DPs).
    • Integrate battalion reconnaissance with cavalry squadron (RSTA) reconnaissance and surveillance assets.
    • Integrate the staff in reconnaissance and surveillance planning.
    • Maximize reconnaissance and surveillance assets.
    • Report, analyze, and disseminate information rapidly and accurately.

    a.     Conduct Reconnaissance Continuously and Early. Reconnaissance, surveillance, and security are continuous processes that should be conducted 24 hours a day. For security and surveillance missions, the reconnaissance platoon should be augmented with elements from maneuver companies. The battalion staff should also make full use of broadcast dissemination from the SBCT to answer PIR. The cavalry squadron (RSTA), tactical UAVs, and the joint surveillance target attack radar system (JSTARS) common ground station (CGS) can provide information to the battalion staff to help answer the commander's CCIR.

    b.     Focus Reconnaissance and Surveillance on CCIR and Decision Points. The PIR derived from the commander's critical information requirements identify the information about the enemy needed by the commander to support his battlefield visualization and to make critical decisions. PIR help the commander filter information available to him by defining what is important to mission accomplishment. The commander and the staff use PIR to focus collection efforts and avoid wasting reconnaissance resources. With the limited number of reconnaissance and surveillance assets available at the battalion level, it is vital that the reconnaissance and surveillance effort be focused. In addition to the battalion's PIR, there will also be PIR from the SBCT and higher that will influence the focus of battalion reconnaissance and surveillance efforts. Focusing the reconnaissance and surveillance effort ensures that the commander's PIR and IR are answered and assets are not wasted looking for the wrong information. The reconnaissance and surveillance plan should focus on the collection of information required to support the ground maneuver plan and provide observation of the decision points on the battlefield.

    c.     Initiate Appropriate Reconnaissance and Surveillance Forward. Reconnaissance and surveillance assets are normally not held in reserve. Maximum reconnaissance force forward has always been stressed. In the contemporary operation environment the fluid, non-linear, and non-contiguous nature of operations requires that reconnaissance and surveillance be continuous throughout the area of operations. In some situations the critical reconnaissance objectives may not be forward of the maneuver forces. Reconnaissance platoons of certain battalions may also be used to relieve elements of the cavalry squadron (RSTA) or other reconnaissance platoons during protracted counterreconnaissance or security operations.

    d.     Integrate the Staff in Reconnaissance and Surveillance Planning. The S3 and S2 rely upon the entire staff to assist in the planning and execution of the battalion ISR plan by providing:

    • A combined arms focus to the ISR plan.
    • Subject matter expertise in respective battlefield operating systems.
    • Augmentation to the reconnaissance platoon (engineers, artillery observers).
    • Combat support and combat service support.
    • Communications and connectivity planning.
    • Information requirement submissions.

    e.     Maximize Reconnaissance and Surveillance Assets. The battalion must maximize the capabilities of its limited reconnaissance and surveillance assets. For the battalion to conduct its operations, collection requirements should specify exactly what needs to be collected and where and when it needs to be collected and reported. Close coordination and integration with the SBCT staff is required to ensure that SBCT and battalion assets are not being double tasked to find the same information. The S3 must also ensure that artillery observers are integrated into the effort.

    f.     Report, Process, and Disseminate Information Rapidly and Accurately. The C2 INFOSYS within the battalion enhance both the accuracy of the intelligence collected and the timeliness with which it can be processed and disseminated. Once data or information arrives at the S2, it is processed and disseminated to users (such as the battalion commander, key staff officers, and the FSE) through the C2 INFOSYS. Combat information goes directly (unprocessed) to the commander for his consideration. In order to conduct reconnaissance and surveillance continuously, the battalion supplements its organic reconnaissance and surveillance assets with intelligence from the SBCT and additional maneuver, fires and effects, or force protection assets. These assets provide the battalion with a variety of options to draw upon, each with its own capabilities. Table 3-1 shows the ISR collection assets that are generally direct support to an SBCT.

Table 3-1. ISR collection assets

Table 3-1. ISR collection assets.


The military decision-making process revolves around an established, proven analytical process. Commanders and staffs use the decision-making process to select COAs and develop an OPLAN, OPORD, or FRAGO. It is a dynamic, continuous process that allows the commander and his staff to examine the battlefield and reach logical decisions. With digitization, staffs at different echelons can now conduct collaborative planning. Collaborative planning dramatically reduces the amount of time required to conduct the MDMP process and aids in publishing the reconnaissance and surveillance matrix and annex/operations order early. For example, the battalion S2 can now view enemy situation templates from the SBCT as soon as they are completed. Additionally, once the battalion reconnaissance and surveillance assets are deployed, changes in the plan can be digitally transmitted to the reconnaissance platoon leader or sergeant. (See also Chapter 2 on Battle Command and specific considerations for offense and defense planning in Chapters 4 and 5.)


IPB is the cornerstone of the decision-making process and forms the basis for developing intelligence requirements, named areas of interest, the reconnaissance and surveillance matrix, and the ISR annex/plan. IR, PIR, and NAIs form the basis for the reconnaissance plan. PIR and IR tell the reconnaissance platoon what information is required for the successful completion of the battalion mission. NAIs tell the reconnaissance platoon where the information may be found on the battlefield. PIR are further defined as specific information requests (SIR) and specific orders or requests (SOR) on the reconnaissance and surveillance tasking matrix. SIR and SOR further define the commander's PIR for the reconnaissance platoon by telling them what to look for on the ground in terms of unique vehicles, formations, key signatures, and indicators.

    a.     High Pay-off Targets. The high pay-off target list is developed during staff planning and war gaming. The identification and attack of HPTs requires the establishment of target areas of interest and the tasking of acquisition assets to detect, engage, and provide battle damage assessment (BDA). TAIs and the HPT list add target acquisition to the reconnaissance and surveillance mission. In all instances, target areas of interest and named areas of interest are limited to the same location. Battalion reconnaissance elements should plan to accomplish target acquisition simultaneously with reconnaissance and surveillance. Along with company fire support teams, reconnaissance platoons are the primary target acquisition assets available to the battalion. The battalion staff must monitor the conduct of the reconnaissance and surveillance operation in order to ensure that there are no deviations from the ISR and fire support plan. The S3 and S2 must ensure that the engagement of high pay-off targets is synchronized to the reconnaissance and surveillance operation. This provides for the most effective use of the battalion's reconnaissance platoon. When the battalion reconnaissance platoon engages targets with indirect fire, the enemy will realize they are under observation. This fact must be considered because it will trigger an aggressive counterreconnaissance effort by the enemy to eliminate the observer.

    b.     Time. Though aided by C2 INFOSYS, the battalion staff has the least amount of time to prepare detailed plans and orders. The S2 has the greatest amount of work to do during the mission analysis portion of the MDMP. Much of this work, such as the examination of the battlefield environment, the terrain, and weather, can be done before the receipt of IPB products from the SBCT. Other staff sections, such as the engineers, air defense platoon leader, and fire support officer, provide subject matter expertise in their battlefield functional areas to help the S2 in preparing his mission analysis products.

    c.     SBCT IPB Products. Once IPB products are received from the SBCT, the S2 will refine the enemy situation template two levels down to show enemy platoons. Many commanders may demand that the S2 show individual positions and vehicles on the situation template as well. At the end of mission analysis, the S2 will have the following products completed:

    • Modified combined obstacle overlay.
    • Avenue of approach overlay.
    • Situation template for enemy reconnaissance, infiltration routes, and objectives.
    • Situation templates for up to three enemy courses of action.
    • Event template with NAIs and enemy timelines.
    • High value target (HVT) and HPT list.
    • An initial reconnaissance and surveillance overlay and annex/order.
    • An initial reconnaissance and surveillance tasking matrix.

    (1)     The battalion will receive the initial SBCT ISR plan and tasking matrix prior to the SBCT's issuance of WARNO 2. Intelligence acquisition tasks that the battalion must accomplish will be located in Annex B of the OPORD. The staff must analyze the ISR plan from the SBCT to ensure that there is no unnecessary duplication of effort or gaps in coverage. SBCT acquisition tasks need to be incorporated into the battalion plan. After mission analysis, the staff will continue to refine these products and make changes based upon new intelligence, war gaming, and the commander's guidance. After completing the initial battalion reconnaissance and surveillance plan, the S3 will forward a copy to the SBCT so that the staff can integrate it into the SBCT ISR plan. The S3 gives the reconnaissance platoon their mission and can task attached and maneuver units to augment the reconnaissance platoon. With the limited reconnaissance and surveillance assets and time available to the battalion, the S3 must ensure that the reconnaissance platoon is not over-tasked with too many intelligence and target acquisition tasks or NAIs.

    (2)     Developing and publishing the reconnaissance and surveillance matrix and ISR order early in the MDMP process is critical to the success of the reconnaissance and surveillance effort and subsequently to the battalion mission. The benefit of beginning reconnaissance and surveillance early is that the information gained can be used to create maneuver plans that exploit enemy weaknesses. The reconnaissance and surveillance plan must remain a living document. Changes driven by new intelligence, staff war gaming, and new courses of action create new PIR, IR, NAIs, and TAIs that may invalidate or supercede older ones. New NAIs and intelligence acquisition tasks will be sent to the reconnaissance platoon digitally or by FM voice.


The reconnaissance and surveillance tasking matrix, overlay, annex, and order are used to provide detailed instructions for each reconnaissance and surveillance asset.

    a.     In the battalion, maneuver units are also tasked to find and report combat information. Figure 3-1 shows an example of a reconnaissance and surveillance tasking matrix. The first column shows the priority of each mission and depicts which ones are the commander's CCIR. The next column provides the asset with the NAI number and grid coordinate. The start/stop column informs the reconnaissance and surveillance asset the time when the NAI should be observed. The SIR column explains to the reconnaissance and surveillance asset exactly what it is looking for (target). The next set of columns lists the actual assets tasked to conduct each mission. An "X" placed under each unit identifies the tasking. The coordination column tells which units to coordinate with for the mission. The last column provides the unit with reporting requirements.

Figure 3-1. Sample reconnaissance and surveillance tasking matrix

Figure 3-1. Sample reconnaissance and surveillance tasking matrix.

    b.     The reconnaissance and surveillance overlay depicts the reconnaissance and surveillance plan in graphic form. The purpose of the reconnaissance and surveillance overlay is to show where the battalion reconnaissance platoon and other tasked reconnaissance and surveillance assets or units are operating. There are two parts to the reconnaissance and surveillance overlay. The first part is the graphic display of deployed or planned deployment of RSTA assets. The second part is the marginal data consisting of the legend, administrative data, specific instructions to each asset, and the distribution list. The reconnaissance and surveillance overlay, at a minimum, should contain:

    • Friendly boundaries.
    • Limits of responsibilities.
    • Limits of advance/limits of reconnaissance (LOA/LOR).
    • Named areas of interest/target areas of interest.
    • No fire areas (NFAs).
    • Restricted fire lines (RFLs).
    • Current and planned families of scatterable mines (FASCAMs).
    • Start points, release points, and checkpoints.
    • Infiltration routes, exfiltration routes, and resupply routes.
    • Known friendly and enemy obstacles.
    • Graphics depicting zone, area, or route reconnaissance.
    • Primary, alternate, and supplementary positions.
    • Ambulance exchange points (AXP) and logistics resupply points.
    • Phase lines, passage points, contact points, and boundaries.
    • Line of departure/line of contact.
    • Retransmission (Retrans) location.

    c.     The initial ISR annex should contain the following information.

    • The area of operations for reconnaissance.
    • Mission statement.
    • Task organization.
    • Line of departure/line of contact.
    • Initial named areas of interest.
    • Routes to AO and passage of line instructions.
    • Communications, digital architecture, and logistics support.
    • Fire support measures.
    • Medical evacuation plan.
    • Fratricide avoidance measures.

    d.     The OPORD will include the overall reconnaissance objective and the reconnaissance and surveillance plan with tasks and purposes. The OPORD details how reconnaissance and surveillance assets will operate in relation to the rest of the maneuver force and how the reconnaissance and surveillance elements will get to their assigned areas. It includes requirements for specific reconnaissance and surveillance assets. Each special staff officer and battlefield functional area representative will detail his scheme of support for the reconnaissance and surveillance plan. (The complete reconnaissance and surveillance OPORD format is detailed in FM 101-5.) The reconnaissance and surveillance OPORD is briefed to the commander at the end of the mission analysis brief and then issued to the battalion commander, reconnaissance platoon leader, and platoon sergeant. Ideally, reconnaissance and surveillance operations will commence 18 to 36 hours prior to the battalion offensive operation or defend-no-later-than time.

    e.     Reconnaissance and surveillance operations must be supported by indirect fires; this requires the development of a fire support plan. Positioning and ammunition requirements of the battalion fire support plan must be considered and included in the plan. The battalion reconnaissance platoon will also need to know the general scheme of maneuver for the cavalry squadron (RSTA) and adjacent unit reconnaissance and surveillance assets.


The battalion commander is responsible for the planning and execution of the reconnaissance and surveillance operation. He is an integral member of the planning team and must provide the staff clear and concise guidance. His involvement in the planning process is critical, and he must provide the staff with his CCIR early in the process. He must clearly articulate to the staff and XO their responsibilities in the planning and execution process. These responsibilities are discussed in the following paragraphs.

    a.     Executive Officer. The XO is responsible for staff synchronization during reconnaissance and surveillance planning. He helps direct execution of the reconnaissance and surveillance effort along with the S3 and S2 and the battalion staff.

    b.     S1. The S1 and his staff section provide projected personnel status of reconnaissance and surveillance assets at the time the reconnaissance and surveillance commences. The S1 also coordinates and plans health service support for the reconnaissance and surveillance assets, to include casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and MEDEVAC.

    c.     S2. The S2 and his staff section recommend initial information and priority intelligence requirements. Additionally, the S2 staff section—

    • Collects IR from other staff and special staff sections.

    • Conducts IPB with staff input; develops the modified combined obstacle overlay (MCOO), enemy situation templates, and event template.

    • Identifies intelligence gaps.
    • Translates the commander's PIR into specific information requirement and specific orders and requests.
    • Determines and designates NAIs.
    • Identifies sources and non-organic assets that can be used to answer the battalion PIR.
    • Prepares and submits requests for information (RFIs) to the SBCT.
    • Has overall responsibility for developing the reconnaissance and surveillance matrix.

    • Develops portions of the reconnaissance and surveillance annex/order: Paragraph 1 (situation), Paragraph 2 (mission), and Paragraph 3c (assignment of specific collection tasks [SOR] and where to look [NAIs] for each asset).

    d.     S3. The S3 and his staff section are responsible for overall execution of the reconnaissance and surveillance plan. They also —

    • Identify and task battalion assets.
    • Coordinate times and locations of linkup and logistics support relationships for attached reconnaissance and surveillance assets.
    • Deconflict terrain with SBCT and adjacent battalion for reconnaissance and surveillance assets forward of the line of departure (LD)/line of contact (LC).
    • Work with the battalion S2 to ensure that all intelligence requirements are covered.
    • Develop the initial graphics overlay.

    • Develop portions of the reconnaissance and surveillance annex/order: Paragraph 3a, and 3d (concept of operations and coordinating instructions).

    e.     Fire Support Officer. The FSO and his fire support element develop a fire support plan to support reconnaissance and surveillance assets, ensure observers are integrated into the reconnaissance and surveillance plan to execute the battalion indirect fire plan, and facilitate fire support coordination between battalion, SBCT combat observation lazing teams (COLTs) and the cavalry squadron (RSTA). They also ensure fire support coordination measures are in place to protect friendly troops during reconnaissance and surveillance operations and coordinate and integrate battalion mortar platoon support.

    f.     S4. The S4 and his staff section develop the logistical support plan for the operation and develop paragraph 4 (in conjunction with the S1) of the reconnaissance and surveillance annex/order (service support, maintenance, recovery, and resupply).

    g.     S-6. The S6 and his staff element recommend initial information requirements and develop paragraph 5 (Signal) to the reconnaissance and surveillance annex. They ensure retrans locations for voice systems and digital architecture support scout platoon and reconnaissance and surveillance missions and monitor the status of digital and voice systems to ensure continuous communications with the reconnaissance platoon and other ISR assets.

    h.     Reconnaissance Platoon Leader. The platoon leader is responsible for the tactical employment, collective training, administration, personnel management, and logistics of the platoon. He must know his soldiers and how to employ the platoon and its weapons. He is personally responsible for positioning and employing all assigned or attached weapons. The platoon leader—

    • Leads the platoon in supporting the battalion missions. He bases his actions on the missions the battalion commander assigns to him and on the battalion commander's concepts.
    • Informs his commander of his actions when operating without orders.
    • Plans operations with the help of the platoon sergeant, section leaders, team leaders, and other key personnel.
    • Stays abreast of the situation and goes where needed to supervise, issue FRAGOs, and accomplish the mission.
    • Requests necessary support from the battalion for his platoon to perform its mission.
    • Provides guidance to the platoon sergeant in planning and coordinating the platoon's CSS effort.
    • During planning, receives on-hand status reports from the platoon sergeant, section leaders, and team leaders.
    • Reviews platoon requirements based on the tactical plan.
    • During execution, supervises the platoon sergeant and squad leaders.
    • Develops the fire support plan with the platoon sergeant, section leaders, and team leaders.

    • Coordinates the obstacle plan.
    • Analyzes tactical situations, disseminates information, and employs the full capabilities of his platoon's equipment to accomplish the mission.
    • Manages information.

    • Ensures subordinates follow database protection procedures to prevent the compromise of digital information.
    • Ensures that situation reports (SITREPs) are accurate and are forwarded to the commander and staff as applicable.
    • Analyzes and then disseminates pertinent tactical friendly and enemy updates to his subordinates.
    • During limited visibility, employs all available own the night (OTN) assets to designate targets for the direct- and indirect-fire weapons and for situation updates.

    • As leader of section A, keeps his crew and wingman informed.

    i.     Medical Platoon Leader. The medical platoon leader provides health service support to the battalion. The platoon leader is responsible for providing support to the battalion's attached, OPCON, and organic reconnaissance and surveillance assets. The medical platoon leader—

    • Provides immediate trauma and combat medical treatment.
    • Provides preventive medical support.
    • Monitors the health and hygiene of the battalion.
    • Trains the battalion's combat lifesaver personnel.
    • Treats and evacuates casualties requiring more definitive care during tactical operations.
    • As a special staff member, assists the commander in assuring assigned and attached battalion personnel meet all deployment readiness criteria.


The SBCT and battalion staffs must coordinate their ISR efforts to prevent duplication of effort. Without integration, the battalion reconnaissance platoon and the cavalry squadron (RSTA) could easily find that they are being tasked to find the same information while leaving gaps in other parts of the collection plan. Reconnaissance elements from the cavalry squadron (RSTA) and the infantry battalions may also inadvertently compete for the same observation post (OP) positions. Although greatly reduced with digitization and FBCB2-generated COP, the possibility still exists that one reconnaissance section may call for fire on another.


There are numerous ways that the battalion reconnaissance platoon and the cavalry squadron (RSTA) can work together to perform their reconnaissance missions.

    a.     Offense. During an SBCT movement to contact (MTC), the cavalry squadron (RSTA) reconnaissance platoons can hand over key observation post positions to the battalion reconnaissance teams as they advance through the AO (Figure 3-2). The RSTA elements can vector the battalion reconnaissance teams into position and keep them informed about terrain, enemy positions, and obstacles that have already been found. The battalion reconnaissance teams can provide over-watch for the RSTA elements as they continue on to their next series of OPs or reconnaissance of the area.

Figure 3-2. RSTA troop and SBCT infantry battalion reconnaissance platoon employment during SBCT movement to contact.

Figure 3-2. RSTA troop and SBCT infantry battalion reconnaissance
platoon employment during SBCT movement to contact.

    b.     Defense. In the defense, the primary mission of the reconnaissance platoon is to provide security and early warning for the battalion. Battalion reconnaissance elements may also be integrated into the SBCT counterreconnaissance mission. Battalion and RSTA elements provide stealthy observation and early warning of the enemy's reconnaissance elements.

    (1)     The reconnaissance teams maintain a low signature by not engaging targets. MGS or rifle platoons in the counterreconnaissance team kill the enemy reconnaissance. The reconnaissance teams locate the enemy reconnaissance forces and then vector the counterreconnaissance elements to them. The COP provided by FBCB2 allows the reconnaissance teams and the counterreconnaissance teams to execute a more fluid and dynamic counterreconnaissance fight with less chance of fratricide.

    (2)     The employment and coordination of the battalion reconnaissance platoon and the cavalry squadron (RSTA) reconnaissance elements in the counterreconnaissance operation is unit-and SOP-driven (Figure 3-3). The RSTA elements and battalion reconnaissance can be employed in depth to provide multiple screens for the counterreconnaissance force. RSTA scouts and counterreconnaissance teams occupy the most forward positions. Battalion reconnaissance elements screen behind the counterreconnaissance force. Each battalion employs a counterreconnaissance force to its front capable of fixing and finishing the enemy reconnaissance forces

    (3)     Unit SOPs must also address procedures for inoperative FBCB2 systems. Reconnaissance elements that have inoperative systems risk fratricide and will need to be accounted for in the command posts with analog methods and by manual input of platforms into the COP. The command posts must also have some method of tracking the operational status of each FBCB2 system.

    (4)     In order for the battalion reconnaissance platoon and the RSTA elements to work together, the battalion and SBCT staffs must coordinate the following:

    • Communications and digital architecture.

    • Command and control architecture.
    • Terrain management.
    • NAI and TAI coverage and intelligence gaps.
    • Fire support control measures.
    • Fratricide avoidance measures.

Figure 3-3. Counterreconnaissance organization RSTA troop and battalion reconnaissance platoon

Figure 3-3. Counterreconnaissance organization RSTA troop and battalion
reconnaissance platoon.


The reconnaissance platoon is the battalion's primary means of conducting reconnaissance and surveillance. The reconnaissance platoon is organized into two sections with two RVs each and three 5-man dismounted reconnaissance teams. One section is "heavy" and transports two reconnaissance teams. The other "light" section transports one reconnaissance team and the platoon leader. The reconnaissance platoon rarely uses a headquarters element during tactical operations, relying instead on the leaders of its sections or teams. The battalion reconnaissance platoon may be augmented with additional assets such as engineers, Javelin teams, snipers, NBC reconnaissance, multi-sensor teams, COLT teams, or a fire support team (FIST).

    a.     Engineers. Engineers are attached to provide expertise on obstacle belts, minefields, and route and bridge classification.

    b.     Javelin Teams. Infantrymen from the line companies may form "Javelin teams" to augment the platoon for surveillance and target acquisition purposes during limited visibility operations. The nondisposable section of the Javelin is the command launch unit (CLU). The night sight and day sight of the Javelin are integrated into the CLU. The thermal sight has a 3,000-meter plus range under most conditions, which greatly increases target acquisition by the infantryman. The Javelin uses a passive infrared system for target acquisition and lock-on. This means that it emits no infrared or radar beam which enemy systems or smart munitions can detect.

    c.     Snipers. The sniper team can be used as an integral part of the reconnaissance and surveillance effort. The team can help detect targets and cue reconnaissance and surveillance assets to specific areas or targets. It can augment the counterreconnaissance element by occupying concealed positions for long periods. It also can observe direct and indirect fires and execute calls for fire. The sniper team's stealth skills counter the skills of enemy reconnaissance elements. The sniper team can be used where commitment of the infantry squads is unnecessary, freeing squad designated marksmen to cover other areas. The sniper team also can be used to direct ground maneuver elements toward detected targets. (See Appendix C, Sniper Employment, for more information.)

    d.     NBC Reconnaissance. The reconnaissance platoon may also be augmented with NBC reconnaissance assets from the cavalry squadron (RSTA), based upon the factors of METT-TC.

    e.     Fire Support Team. The FIST operates out of the FIST fire support vehicle (FSV). The FSV is equipped with digital and voice communications links to all available indirect fires and effects assets. The large targeting head atop the FSV houses the ground/vehicle laser locator designator (G/VLLD), which can accurately determine the range, azimuth, and vertical angle to targets and can designate targets for laser-guided munitions.

    f.     COLT Teams. Occasionally the reconnaissance platoon will be augmented with a COLT team from the SBCT field artillery battalion. The COLT teams perform fire support and reconnaissance missions as directed and are equipped with the lightweight laser designator/range-finder (LLDR) that will laze targets for those munitions requiring reflected laser energy for final ballistic guidance. They are also equipped with the forward observer system computer for digital connectivity.

    g.     Multi-Sensor Team. The multi-sensor team from the military intelligence (MI) company is another asset that is organic to the SBCT but may be task-organized to the battalion. The improved remotely monitored battlefield sensor system (IREMBASS) is an unattended ground sensor that will detect, classify, and determine direction of movement of intruding personnel and vehicles. The ground surveillance radar (GSR) is an attended ground sensor that will detect, classify, and determine the direction of movement of intruding personnel and vehicles. The Prophet is an attended emitter locator sensor that can detect, intercept, determine direction of bearing, and possibly the location of intruding personnel communications emitters.


The communications architecture for the RSTA platoons and the battalion reconnaissance is METT-TC- and unit SOP-dependent. The battalion reconnaissance and the RSTA platoons must have the same COP and digital connectivity in order to prevent fratricide. Spot reports from the battalion reconnaissance platoon are transmitted digitally over FBCB2 or via FM voice.

    a.     FM. Net structure and reporting procedures are unit- and SOP-dependent. The battalion reconnaissance platoon uses the battalion operation and intelligence (OI) net for reporting enemy information and asset locations. The reconnaissance platoon also has an internal platoon net for command and control within the platoon. When the reconnaissance platoon is acting as part of a counterreconnaissance force, it communicates on the counterreconnaissance unit command net. Reconnaissance teams from the battalion will need to communicate with elements of the cavalry squadron (RSTA) in order to pass information and deconflict OP positions. This may be done on the RSTA troop or platoon nets or internal platoon nets.

    b.     Digital. Each RV will have FBCB2 that will enable the battalion command post to track its locations (Figure 3-4). The TOC does not have an FBCB2 terminal. Blue positional information is displayed on the MCS system. Enemy spot reports sent through FBCB2 are routed by the TOC server to the ASAS-light. Future versions of FBCB2 will automatically create an icon when the reconnaissance element lazes a target in order to determine its grid coordinate. (See Appendix D, Digital Division Supplement.) The data will be transmitted over FBCB2 back to the battalion command post. Because of FBCB2's illuminated display, light discipline may dictate that reconnaissance teams use FBCB2 only occasionally at night. In those instances, messages and spot reports will need to be sent over FM. Periodically, however, light discipline measures should be taken so that vehicle commanders can check their FBCB2 display for updates on the friendly and enemy situation.

    c.     Analog Reporting. If a reconnaissance element is unable to report using its FBCB2 system, it can send information over FM to another reconnaissance team that will manually enter the spot report into the FBCB2 system. The spot report goes through the FBCB2 system to the TOC server, which sends it to the C2 INFOSYS. If the report is sent directly via FM to the TOC, the operator will then manually enter the spot report into ASAS-light. ASAS-light receives data from FBCB2, top-down intelligence feeds, the ASAS at SBCT, and manually-entered spot reports at the battalion level. The battalion S2 analyzes the red picture created, eliminates duplicate icons and non-relevant data, and creates the correlated enemy picture. The correlated enemy picture is then disseminated to the INFOSYS through the TOC server and transmitted on the tactical internet to FBCB2 systems.


Figure 3-4. Digital connectivity

Figure 3-4. Digital connectivity.


Commanders depend on subordinate initiative to accomplish missions, even in the absence of orders or a COP. Digital technology enhances SBCT operations but does not govern them. Inevitably, some information systems will fail, either of their own accord or because of enemy action. Commanders develop and communicate their vision to subordinates with enough clarity to allow them to act when this happens. Subordinates complement initiative with constant coordination and by keeping their higher commanders informed. Because units must be able to execute in the absence of a COP, commanders avoid the temptation to over-control subordinates.

    a.     Emplacement and Routes. The battalion staff develops a general picture of where assets should locate on the battlefield. Understanding the SOR and NAIs to cover, the reconnaissance platoon leader/sergeant and team leaders determine the exact OP locations and routes for the reconnaissance teams. The battalion S3 and S2 must closely monitor OP locations to ensure that there is no conflict with the RSTA elements or other SBCT assets. The battalion S3 must also conduct direct coordination with the cavalry squadron (RSTA).

    b.     Insertion and Extraction Routes. While deconflicting terrain with the S3, the S2 and reconnaissance platoon leader identify the methods the platoon will use to infiltrate or bypass enemy forces in order to enhance its survivability and ensure mission success. Inserting assets requires the coordination of the entire staff and will require the battalion to conduct a forward passage of lines for the scout platoon. Critical coordination tasks and actions should be listed in the reconnaissance and surveillance tasking matrix.

    c.     Process and Disseminate the Information. In a digitized environment, commanders and staff officers at the battalion level can expect to receive voluminous amounts of data prior to, during, and after the start of the battle. Procedures must be in place to filter critical information. The battalion S2 must be able to quickly review the incoming combat information, sort it according to criticality and the PIR and IR it answers, and transmit it to the user in the shortest amount of time. Command post personnel must be aware of the commander's critical information requirements. The CCIRs are essential elements of friendly information, friendly force information requirements (FFIR), and PIR. When a CCIR is answered, the commander must be notified immediately because these answers often influence his decision-making process and battalion employment. While fused intelligence may be the best intelligence, partially analyzed intelligence or combat information may serve to cue the commander as to enemy intentions that were not previously addressed during the war gaming process.

    d.     Modify the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Plan. Whether modifying reporting requirements because of new reporting criteria, new or adjusted PIR, loss of a reconnaissance team or vehicle, or changes in the mission, the battalion S3 must be ready to adjust the reconnaissance and surveillance plan to fit the commander's needs and continue the reconnaissance and surveillance mission. The following items need to be considered during the modification of the reconnaissance and surveillance plan:

    • What reconnaissance teams need to be moved?
    • What is the new collection requirement and or focus?
    • What is the risk in moving the reconnaissance scout team? Is it worth the potential information that might be gained?
    • Does the communications and digital architecture require modification?

During the planning process the staff should also consider how to compensate for the loss of a reconnaissance and surveillance asset during critical points in the mission. Staffs will need to consider which unit or asset will replace the lost surveillance and target acquisition asset and issue a "be prepared mission" to the unit or asset in the operations order.


The SBCT staff must plan, prepare, and synchronize fire support, health service support, and communication and logistical support for the ISR assets. Concurrent with other operational planning, the staff develops its plan during mission analysis and refines it in the war gaming portion of the MDMP. CS and CSS rehearsals should be an integral step in preparation for reconnaissance and surveillance operations. (Refer to Chapters 10 and 11 for detailed discussion of CS and CSS considerations.)

3-10.     FIRE SUPPORT

The S3 ensures that indirect fires support the reconnaissance plan and that communication links are maintained with observers and the main CP at all times. The distance the reconnaissance platoon can operate away from the main body is normally limited to the range of supporting indirect fires. For some missions, however, the staff and commander need to assess the risk and value of operating the reconnaissance platoon beyond the range of supporting fires.


Providing service support to reconnaissance and surveillance assets forward of the LD/LC provides a significant logistics challenge since the support elements also risk exposure to enemy contact. It is dangerous to conduct logistics resupply operations across the forward line of own trooops (FLOT) with thin-skinned cargo vehicles. A maintenance team or logistics package can be dedicated to the reconnaissance platoon. The team responds to the needs of the platoon and is brought forward by the headquarters 1SG, the HHC XO, or another responsible individual. The logistics package (LOGPAC) links up with the reconnaissance platoon's PSG at a specifically designated release point as far forward as possible. The PSG is then responsible for the distribution of supplies to the reconnaissance teams. The actual time when the reconnaissance platoon needs to resupply often does not coincide with the standard LOGPAC times for the rest of the battalion. The battalion S4, reconnaissance platoon leader, and platoon sergeant must anticipate events to coordinate the best time for resupply. When the battalion reconnaissance platoon is augmented with assets from the SBCT, the battalion will assume responsibility for logistics support. To minimize risks during logistics operations, the HHC commander and reconnaissance platoon leader may choose to adopt the following procedures:

    • Develop vehicle load plans to carry at least five (5) days of Class I, water, and III(B) supply.

    • Cross train soldiers in maintenance and recovery tasks.
    • Coordinate for aerial resupply (METT-TC dependent).

3-12.     MEDICAL

Treating and evacuating wounded soldiers provides another challenge to reconnaissance and surveillance planning since the reconnaissance and surveillance asset has most likely been engaged by the enemy and possesses no dedicated medical support. Sending ground based medical assets in a manner that enhances their survivability, such as attached to a combat patrol or moving undetected under the cover of darkness, often contradicts the necessity to treat wounded soldiers quickly. During aerial evacuation of wounded in action (WIA), planners need to consider landing zone (LZ) security, weather, terrain, possible compromise of the reconnaissance and surveillance effort, possible loss of the aircraft, and the actual urgency of patient care. To help the survivability of soldiers in the reconnaissance platoon, the battalion will need to train the reconnaissance platoon soldiers in basic combat lifesaving techniques. Additionally, the reconnaissance team members should rely primarily on their teams and sections to transfer wounded to designated casualty collection points or pickup zones (PZs) for ambulance or aerial evacuation.


The S3, S2, and S6 develop the signal architecture to support the reconnaissance platoon and other reconnaissance and surveillance assets deployed throughout the area of operation. All reconnaissance and surveillance assets must have continuous, two-way, secure communications with the battalion main CP. This requirement and the size of the reconnaissance and surveillance area of operations may require the SBCT to establish retrans sites forward in the battalion AO.


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