Command and control in the reconnaissance platoon depends on sound leadership, training, SOPs, and communications techniques in pursuit of well-defined and attainable objectives. This chapter discusses how leaders within the reconnaissance platoon implement the decision-making process and use troop-leading procedures (TLPs) to plan and conduct reconnaissance platoon operations. It also discusses the battalion's role in command and control and the generation of information requirements by the battalion staff.
A command and control system includes the facilities, equipment, communications, procedures, and personnel essential to a commander for planning, directing, and controlling operations of assigned forces pursuant to the missions assigned.
The battalion commander exercises command and control of all elements assigned to the battalion for a specific mission. The battalion commander exercises his command authority by issuing clear and concise instructions. These instructions are either written, transmitted via radio, or given face to face. These instructions are given in mission-type orders, organized and formatted into warning, operation, or fragmentary orders. These orders explain what the commander wants done--not how it is to be done. Once subordinates receive, understand, and finally begin to execute orders, the commander supervises to ensure his orders are being executed according to his intent.
The battalion commander exercises his control over subordinates through the use of graphic control measures such as boundaries, phase lines, objectives, assault positions, and so forth. Graphic control measures help the battalion commander control and synchronize assets and the flow of the battle. The commander can also restrict subordinates by establishing not-earlier-than (NET) or not-later-than (NLT) times. A battalion's command and control system directly influences reconnaissance platoon operations. A reconnaissance platoon is effective if the battalion can inform the platoon of its mission, notify the platoon of major changes, and control assets that affect reconnaissance platoon operations.
The platoon leader must understand what the battalion commander's intent and concept are for a given operation. This understanding enables the reconnaissance platoon to use its initiative during the execution of an operation. The battalion commander's intent and concept are developed during the early stages of planning. However, the reconnaissance platoon is normally executing its assigned mission while the battalion is developing its plan. Whenever the tactical situation permits, the reconnaissance platoon leader should coordinate with the battalion commander to ensure that the platoon leader understands the commander's initial intent and concept. Even if the commander has not fully developed his intent and concept, he can tell the platoon leader what he expects the reconnaissance platoon to accomplish. Usually, information provided by the reconnaissance platoon directly affects the battalion commander's intent and concept.
a. Intent. The battalion commander's intent is stated in clear and
concise terms to ensure understanding throughout the force. The intent is
the commander's stated vision, which defines the purpose of the operation
and the end state with respect to the relationship among the force, the
enemy, and the terrain. The platoon leader uses this information along
with any specified tasks to guide the platoon's actions. For example, the
battalion commander's intent is to force the commitment of the enemy
counterattack force. In this scenario, the platoon leader positions his
platoon so that they are able to provide information on the counterattack
force. All other actions are secondary. The platoon leader ensures that
all members of the reconnaissance platoon understand the battalion
b. Concept. The battalion commander's concept explains in broad terms how he visualizes the force as a whole achieving his intent. The concept is stated in sufficient detail to ensure subordinates act properly in the absence of further instructions. The battalion's concept guides the actions of the platoon. A reconnaissance platoon obtaining information for a specific company must understand how that information will assist that company in executing the overall battalion plan. At platoon level, the platoon leader states how the reconnaissance platoon will operate in support of the battalion plan. This allows subordinates to understand their relationship with the battalion and other elements within the platoon.
At platoon level, effective command and control depends on leadership, training, discipline, a sound SOP, and effective use of control measures and communications techniques. In addition to controlling squads and keeping the battalion abreast of the tactical situation, effective command and control also reduces the potential for fratricide.
a. Leadership is the most important element of exercising command
of the reconnaissance platoon. Orders are developed by the platoon
leader and disseminated through the platoon sergeant and squad leaders.
The platoon leader issues mission-type orders. He tells the squad leaders
what he wants done, not how to get it done. The squad leaders use their
experience, judgment, and knowledge of tactics, techniques and procedures
to accomplish the reconnaissance platoon leader's plan.
b. Control of the reconnaissance platoon is difficult due to the decentralization of platoon operations. Squads are normally dispersed throughout the battalion's or platoon's area of operation. Graphic control measures assist the platoon leader in controlling the movement and actions of the squads. The platoon leader positions himself where he can best control the reconnaissance platoon. He may be with the squad that has the most important task to accomplish, or he may operate separately from the squads. The platoon leader also directs where the platoon sergeant locates. Regardless of where the platoon leader and platoon sergeant are located, they must be able to control the squads and maintain a communications link with battalion.
The platoon leader uses the command and control process to determine what is occurring, to decide what to do about it, to tell soldiers what to do, and then to keep track of how well his soldiers are doing. The TLPs are the leader's tool to guide the command and control process. These procedures provide a common framework for all echelons of command to apply the command and control process. Other tools that are also part of the TLP include the estimate of the situation; mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time available (METT-T); observation and fields of fire, avenues of approach, key terrain, obstacles, and cover and concealment (OAKOC); intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB); and reconnaissance. The relationships among these tools are not fixed, since they are used in different combinations, depending on the situation. (Table 2-1.)
Troop-leading procedures (TLPs) are the dynamic process by which a leader receives a mission, plans it, and executes it. TLPs should be an instinctive and familiar way of thinking for a leader. The TLP sequence is not rigid. It is modified to meet the mission, situation, and available time. Some steps are performed concurrently; while others may continue throughout the operation. The TLP is a time-saver; as such, the leader conducts it in the order that most effectively uses the time available.
Table 2-1. Relationship between the tactitian's tool.
a. Receive the Mission. Once the battalion receives a change of
mission from brigade, the battalion commander and his staff analyze their
requirements and publish a warning order. This warning order normally
tasks the reconnaissance platoon to move into a designated area to
conduct reconnaissance. During the initial planning stages, the commander
and his staff identify information requirements concerning the enemy and
terrain. This information is obtained by the reconnaissance platoon, relayed
back to the commander, then used to develop and adjust the battalion's plan.
(1) Upon notification of a change in mission, the platoon leader
prepares a warning order for the reconnaissance platoon. Once the
platoon leader receives the battalion's warning order, he conducts an
initial METT-T analysis to determine the requirements for his warning
order. If the reconnaissance platoon is located near the battalion main
CP, the platoon leader coordinates with the battalion staff, particularly
with the S3, S2, and the battalion commander for specific requirements.
This coordination is important, especially if the reconnaissance platoon
is going to depart the area.
- 0600, battalion executes mission.
- 0400, update battalion.
- 0130, reconnaissance in position.
- 0100, establish ORP.
- 2300, begin movement.
- 2100, inspect squads.
- 1730, rest.
- 1645, eat.
- 1530, issue squad orders.
- 1430, briefback (squads).
- 1300, issue OPORD.
- 1045, coordinate route with S3.
- 1030, update platoon warning order.
- 1000, receive battalion OPORD.
- 0900, receive battalion warning order.
(2) The platoon leader uses all available information to develop a time schedule. He identifies the actions (time-critical tasks) required to prepare his platoon for the operation. To do this, he considers information on the mission, enemy, terrain, and own troops. He conducts an initial reconnaissance (at least a map reconnaissance) to understand the time requirements for the mission. The platoon leader then develops his time schedule by starting at "mission time" and working backward to the current time (reverse planning). The mission time is normally the most critical time in the operation.
(3) The platoon leader ensures that all subordinate leaders have sufficient time for their own planning needs. Leaders at all levels should try to use no more than one-third of the available time for planning and issuance of the OPORD. This leaves the rest of the available time for squad leaders to use for their planning and preparation. The following is an example of a tentative reverse-planned time schedule. The platoon leader adjusts throughout the TLP process.
b. Issue a Warning Order. The platoon leader should issue the best warning order possible with the information at hand and update it as needed with additional warning orders. The warning order lets the reconnaissance platoon prepare for combat as soon as possible. Issuing a warning order involves a number of standard actions that should be addressed by SOP (see Appendix D). The warning order should address all necessary actions not covered in the SOP. The specific contents for each warning order vary based upon the tactical situation.
c. Make a Tentative Plan. The platoon leader, aided by the platoon sergeant, develops the reconnaissance platoon's tentative plan. This plan is based on information obtained from the battalion warning order, coordination with the staff, and METT-T analysis. The tentative plan may be nothing more than the platoon leader's concept, a mission statement, and movement instructions. The more information provided by battalion, the more detailed the tentative plan must be. The battalion's need for battlefield information and the time required to move into an area and obtain that information are critical. Ideally, the reconnaissance platoon obtains the information in time for the commander and staff to use it to adjust and finalize the battalion's plan. All members of the reconnaissance platoon must understand the importance of accomplishing the mission and how information obtained from the mission will affect the battalion during development of the battalion's plan.
d. Initiate Movement. The type of transportation used (foot, vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft) is normally dictated by battalion based on mission requirements and available assets. The platoon leader arranges to have the transportation means inspected at a specific time and place. He completes his estimate of the total time required for conducting movement based on the mode of transportation used. He briefs the reconnaissance platoon chain of command on the critical times, primary and alternate routes, and control measures.
e. Reconnoitering. The reconnaissance platoon is the battalion commander's primary reconnaissance element. The battalion commander approves or alters the battalion's tentative plan based upon information obtained by the reconnaissance platoon. The platoon's reconnaissance efforts serve two purposes--first, to obtain information for the battalion commander and his staff; second, to confirm or deny the platoon leader's tentative plan. Adjustments are made at both battalion and platoon levels based on information obtained.
f. Complete the Plan. The platoon leader should bring his tentative plan close to completion after the initial reconnaissance. He continues to refine his plan based on new information from the battalion commander and staff. Coordination continues with all supporting agencies, higher headquarters, and adjacent units. Information the platoon leader obtains through this coordination and from the reconnaissance enables him to expand the tentative plan into a five-paragraph OPORD.
g. Issue the Order. The platoon leader, whenever possible, should issue the order while viewing the avenues of approach, the objective area, or both. He uses visual aids (sketches and terrain models) to ensure the order is understood by squad leaders. If he issues the tentative plan before conducting reconnaissance, he issues a FRAGO to finalize the plan before execution, if necessary.
h. Supervise. The best plan may fail if it is not managed correctly. Leaders must use briefbacks, rehearsals, inspections, and continuous coordination of plans to supervise and refine TLPs. Briefbacks and rehearsals are not the same; briefbacks focus on the planning process, and rehearsals focus on execution.
(1) Squad leaders should briefback the platoon leader immediately
after the OPORD to ensure they understand the instructions. They should
also briefback the squad's tentative plan. They may conduct the briefback
collectively or individually. The collective method is preferred, because
it allows exchange of information, coordination among squads, and rapid
distribution of changes to the initial plan.
- Weapons and ammunition.
- Uniforms and equipment.
- Mission-essential equipment.
- Soldiers' knowledge and understanding of the mission and their specific responsibilities.
- Rations and water.
(2) Rehearsals are always conducted. They are essential to ensure complete coordination and subordinate understanding. The warning order should provide subordinate leaders sufficient detail to schedule and rehearse drills, SOPs, or both before they receive the platoon OPORD. Rehearsals should be conducted in an area similar to the objective and under similar light and weather conditions. Leaders can briefback individual tasks and use sand tables or sketches while they discuss the execution of the plan. The platoon always rehearses actions on the objective and other critical events that may affect the mission.
(3) The platoon leader checks the following during precombat inspections:
(4) The platoon leader or platoon sergeant coordinates with battalion staff and adjacent units. He ensures that all necessary coordination occurs, including coordination for fire support and engineer activities, maintenance, resupply, movement, and other required actions. Leaders must coordinate any adjustments to the plan, both before and during the operation, with the battalion commander and staff. During execution, the platoon leader issues FRAGOs to modify the plan as the situation develops. He personally supervises and or leads the critical actions.
The estimate of the situation and the use of METT-T help the platoon leader determine his mission, understand his situation, and select the best course of action (COA) to accomplish his assigned responsibilities. The platoon leader uses the factors of METT-T when conducting the estimate. The estimate process is conducted as Step 3 of the TLP (Make a Tentative Plan). The estimate provides the platoon leader with a logical process for analyzing information pertaining to a tactical situation. The process can be detailed or it can be brief. The available time and experience of the platoon leader conducting the analysis are the determining factors. The estimate is a continuous process. As additional information is received or obtained through reconnaissance, the platoon leader decides if and how it affects his tactical situation. (See FM 7-10 and FM 7-20 for detailed discussion of conducting the estimate.) The estimate has five steps as follows:
1. Conduct a detailed mission analysis.
2. Analyze the situation and develop COAs.
3. Analyze COAs (war game).
4. Compare COAs.
5. Make a decision.
a. Conduct Mission Analysis. Mission analysis is the mental process a leader goes through to analyze a mission. Mission analysis begins upon receipt of an order. A battalion staff normally writes these orders and issues them to the orders group during an orders brief. When the tactical situation prevents the orders group from gathering to receive an orders brief, the order is issued by radio. Though the reconnaissance platoon leader is normally part of the orders group, his proximity to the battalion leader prevents him from attending most orders briefs. Therefore, the platoon leader must be adept at conducting mission analysis from information acquired by radio. Mission analysis requires him to determine and understand the commander's intent and concept, the tasks the reconnaissance platoon must accomplish, any limitations on the platoon's freedom of action, time analysis, and the platoon's restated mission.
(1) Commander's intent and concept. The missions assigned to
the reconnaissance platoon normally have an affect upon the battalion.
Therefore, the platoon leader needs to understand how the platoon's
actions tie in with the battalion's actions. The best way to obtain this
understanding is to coordinate directly with the battalion commander. If
this is not possible, the commander's intent and concept are stated in
paragraph 3 (execution) of the operation order. (See Appendix E.)
(2) Tasks. The platoon leader determines the tasks the battalion wants the reconnaissance platoon to accomplish. Tasks are stated throughout the operation order, or they are shown on overlays. These tasks may relate specifically to the reconnaissance platoon or indirectly to the battalion.
(3) Limitations. Graphic control measures or instructions that restrict freedom of action are called limitations. Adhering to NET or NLT times often restricts a platoon's freedom of action. For example, the commander may specify that no reconnaissance will occur before 1500 hours or that the reconnaissance platoon must cross the LD at a specified time. Graphic control measures may restrict the platoon to a specific route or area.
(4) Time analysis. Proper and effective use of time is always a concern of the reconnaissance platoon. During mission analysis, the platoon leader adjusts the time schedule that was developed as part of the warning order. Time analysis may have a substantial effect on planning, preparation, and execution.
(5) Restated mission. The result of mission analysis is the determination of the reconnaissance platoon's mission. The restated mission is the tasks that enable the platoon and the battalion to accomplish its mission. The restated mission normally states WHO (reconnaissance platoon), WHAT (task), WHEN (the critical time), WHERE (grid coordinate), and WHY (the purpose behind the given task). An example of a mission statement is, "Reconnaissance platoon conducts zone reconnaissance of Axis Hammer NLT301700 Nov 91 to determine presence and disposition of enemy forces within the zone." This mission statement becomes paragraph 2 of the reconnaissance platoon's operation order (OPORD).
b. Analyze the Situation and Develop Courses of Action. Once the platoon leader determines the reconnaissance platoon's mission, he then determines how the platoon can accomplish that mission. In order to develop a COA, he analyzes terrain and weather, the enemy situation and the enemy's most probable COA, and the friendly situation. After the platoon leader completes this analysis, he then uses this information to develop his COA.
(1) Analyze terrain and weather. Terrain and weather analyses are
factors that are considered first, since they have the greatest effect on
both friendly and enemy COA. The platoon leader analyzes the terrain in
terms of its tactical aspects: Observation and fields of fire, avenues of
approach, key terrain, obstacles, and cover and concealment (OAKOC).
The platoon leader uses these factors to determine how the reconnaissance
platoon can get the greatest use of the terrain. Weather is analyzed
concurrently, since it may have a significant affect upon the terrain.
- Potential to support maneuver.
- Access to the terrain and adjacent avenues.
- Degree of canalization.
(a) Observation and fields of fire. Observation is the ability to
see over a particular area to acquire targets with either optical or
electronic line of sight. Systems considered include radios, radars,
signal intelligence, collectors, and jammers, as well as optical systems.
Field of fire refers to the area a weapon can cover effectively from a
given point. The platoon leader looks for those areas that provide the
reconnaissance platoon observation and fields of fire, especially
(b) Avenues of approach. Avenues of approach are routes by which the reconnaissance platoon may reach an objective or key terrain. The platoon leader considers ground, air and, when in a MOUT environment, underground avenues or routes. The reconnaissance platoon may be tasked to identify or confirm avenues of approach. It evaluates these in terms of its--
(c) Key terrain. The platoon leader identifies any feature or area he can use to a tactical advantage. Determining key terrain depends on the echelon, mission, enemy, and situation. For example, a hilltop that provides the reconnaissance platoon an excellent area from which to observe the enemy may not offer any tactical advantage to the battalion. Once the platoon leader identifies key terrain in his area of operations he uses that terrain to develop his plan. He can use key terrain to control movement or establish OPs.
(d) Obstacles. Obstacles are anything that stops, impedes, or diverts military movement. The obstacle's direct influence on mobility makes it one of the most important considerations in terrain analysis. The reconnaissance platoon may be tasked to identify or confirm obstacles. It may look at potential areas that might impede movement of forces. This includes existing obstacles such as rivers, steep ridges, and so forth. It must also consider reinforcing obstacles such as minefields, antitank obstacles, and roadblocks.
(e) Cover and concealment. Cover is protection from the effects of fire; concealment is protection from observation. The platoon leader looks primarily at areas that provide concealment. The indirect approach into an area normally provides concealment. In platoon operations, the reconnaissance platoon must remain undetected.
(2) Analyze the enemy and his most probable COA. The platoon leader must understand the enemy's doctrine and tactics. The battalion S2 is the primary staff officer responsible for providing information concerning the enemy. However, the battalion S2's analysis is based on a broader perspective with different concerns. The platoon leader must refine this information and narrow the focus on the enemy in his particular area. The focus of this analysis is to locate enemy strengths (to avoid them) and his weaknesses (to exploit them). The result is a detailed statement of the enemy's most probable COA. This analysis includes the following:
(a) Composition. Type of unit, weapons, or abilities.
(b) Disposition. How he is arrayed on the terrain, offensively or defensively.
(c) Recent activities. Recent and significant activities that may indicate the enemy's intentions.
(d) Reinforcement. Possible location of reserves, routes of counterattack forces.
(e) Possible COA. An estimate of how the enemy will defend or attack.
(f) Weaknesses. Doctrinal weaknesses, and or possible tactical weaknesses.
(3) Analyze friendly situation. The platoon leader must know the current status of the reconnaissance platoon and any attachments. The platoon leader must understand how adjacent and supporting units will affect his mission. How the reconnaissance platoon will be supported logistically, especially Class I and medical evacuation, is always a major concern. During this analysis, the platoon leader should adjust his time schedule based on current information.
(4) Develop a course of action. A COA is a possible plan that accomplishes the reconnaissance platoon's mission. The platoon leader considers all the information analyzed up to this point. Having a complete understanding of the mission, he develops his plan by incorporating the critical factors of terrain, enemy, and friendly situation. The following is a guide for developing a COA:
(a) Determine decisive points and times. If achieved, these will put
the platoon in a position to accomplish the purpose as stated in
the platoon's mission statement.
(b) Determine the results that must be achieved at the decisive points to accomplish the mission.
(c) Determine the purposes to be achieved by the main effort squad and the supporting effort squads.
(d) Determine what tasks to assign those squads.
(e) Determine how to task-organize for accomplishment of the platoon's mission, if necessary.
(f) Determine how to command and control the reconnaissance platoon.
(g) Establish control measures.
(h) Prepare a COA statement and sketch.
(i) Repeat this process for additional COAs.
c. Analysis Or Course of Action. Once the platoon leader develops two or more COAs, he war-games them against the enemy's most probable COA. When war-gaming the COAs, he must use both the mission-specific and general factors to measure each one. Mission factors are those that have a significant affect upon mission accomplishment. They may include security of route, chance of being compromised, continuous operations, and logistical support. General factors may include characteristics of the offense or defense and principles of war. War-game techniques include box, belt, and avenue of approach. (For a detailed discussion on the use of these techniques, see FM 7-10 and FM 7-20.)
d. Compare Courses of Action. The platoon leader's next step is to compare the COAs. This may require the platoon leader to do no more than choose the COA that he feels most comfortable with. The most common way to compare COAs is to use mission-specific and general factors to evaluate them. For example, if being compromised is significant, he determines which COA has the least chance of being compromised. This one is chosen over the others. (An example using a decision matrix is shown in Table 2-2.)
Table 2-2. Course of action decision matrix.
e. Make a Decision. The results of the comparison in Step 4 helps the
platoon leader choose a COA. He selects the COA that he believes offers
the best chance of accomplishing his mission. Then he expands the COA
into a plan. As the platoon leader receives additional information or as
the situation changes, he considers how these affect his plan. The estimate
process, like TLP, is a continuous process. The estimate can be an
invaluable tool for the reconnaissance platoon, especially in a combat
Intelligence is an important part of every combat decision. The battalion commander directs units within the battalion to obtain information about the enemy and terrain. The reconnaissance platoon's primary mission is to collect information for the commander and his staff. The commander and his staff process and analyze this information to determine its value Through analysis, this information becomes intelligence. Intelligence of a tactical value is disseminated to the subordinates that can use it. This process is known as the intelligence cycle. (The reconnaissance platoon's role in the intelligence cycle is shown in Figure 2-1.)
a. Directing. The intelligence effort begins by issuing these
requirements--establishing priorities and then communicating information or
collecting orders to subordinate elements. This is accomplished by the
commander and his staff. The tools used by the commander and his staff are
METT-T analysis and IPB. The battalion commander directs subordinates to
obtain information based on the requirements generated by METT-T and IPB.
Once the battalion determines the intelligence requirements, they are
analyzed, consolidated, and prioritized. The most important intelligence
requirements are designated as PIRs. These are requirements for which a
commander has an anticipated and stated priority in the task of planning
and decision making. The reconnaissance platoon is normally tasked with
obtaining information that answers the commander's PIR. Requirements of
a lesser priority are designated as information requirements (IRs). These
requirements are normally given to other collection sources (for example,
GSR, infantry platoons, and squads). The battalion will task subordinates
to conduct reconnaissance by developing a reconnaissance and security
matrix (Table 2-3), which assigns specific responsibility for information
collection. The tasking is accomplished by the battalion S3 and S2 subject
to the battalion commander's approval. Reconnaissance is the battalion's
primary means of collecting information.
Figure 2-1. The intelligence cycle.
Table 2-3. Reconnaissance and security responsibility matrix.
b. Collecting. The battalion commander employs the reconnaissance
platoon to collect critical information. Other reconnaissance collection
elements assist in the battalion's reconnaissance efforts. The
reconnaissance platoon is normally tasked to obtain information that
answers the commander's PIR. The battalion S2 has overall responsibility
for monitoring the battalion's reconnaissance efforts. The platoon leader
should coordinate with the S2 for specific guidance concerning
reconnaissance since the S2 has detailed information on the terrain and
enemy. During IPB, the S2 develops terrain overlays. These overlays
contain detailed information on the terrain and should be used by the
platoon leader to assist in terrain analysis. The S2 also develops a series
of templates, which the platoon leader can use to obtain information as to
how the enemy is expected to fight and on use of terrain. This information
is also available to the reconnaissance platoon. Information collected by
the reconnaissance platoon is critical to the intelligence cycle. The
reconnaissance platoon must collect the right information in a timely manner
and must send that information back to the battalion. The platoon leader
may use a reconnaissance matrix to assign responsibility for squad
reconnaissance (Table 2-4). The battalion commander depends on the
reconnaissance platoon and other elements for information to assist him in
the development of the battalion's plan. Inadequate information could
result in an ill-advised plan. (Chapter 4 discusses the techniques used by
the reconnaissance platoon in conducting reconnaissance.)
Table 2-4. A platoon reconnaissance matrix.
c. Processing and Analyzing. Although the reconnaissance platoon
is not directly involved in processing and analyzing information, it
should be familiar with the process of how information is translated
into intelligence. The reconnaissance platoon relays information gained
through reconnaissance over the battalion operations and intelligence (O&I)
net. The battalion S2 is responsible for controlling this net. Once the
S2 receives information from the reconnaissance platoon and other sources,
this information is recorded, evaluated, and analyzed. The battalion
commander and his staff use this information to make tactical decisions.
Intelligence is any information used in making tactical decisions.
Information concerning the battlefield is never complete since the
commander may generate additional requirements during the analysis. If
additional information is needed, then the S3 and S2 task subordinates
again to collect that information. The reconnaissance platoon continues
to conduct reconnaissance until directed to execute another mission.
d. Disseminating. The final step in the intelligence cycle is to disseminate intelligence or information. Normally, there is a time lag between the time an enemy target presents itself and the time the information becomes available to an element that can react to it. The reconnaissance platoon's mission is to obtain information in a timely manner. This requires the platoon leader to anticipate the time required for conducting reconnaissance and understanding when the information is needed by battalion. Once the reconnaissance platoon obtains the information and passes that information to battalion, the battalion disseminates that information in a timely manner.
The battalion's ability to command and control the reconnaissance platoon and the platoon leaders' ability to control his squads depend on FM communications. The primary means of communicating information is by FM radio. The battalion signal officer is responsible for planning, establishing, and maintaining communications with the reconnaissance platoon. The platoon leader assists the signal officer by maintaining the communication's link. When communications cannot be established, the signal officer, the reconnaissance platoon leader, and the affected RATELO identify the problem and correct it. Without effective communications, the reconnaissance platoon cannot perform its mission. ( Appendix E discusses techniques and procedures for establishing and maintaining communications.)
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