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3rd and 4th Quarters, FY 97

Organized by BOS, these are the trends submitted by NTC O/Cs for 3rd and 4th quarters, FY97. As appropriate and/or available, they provide doctrinal references and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) for the needed training emphasis. Each trend is annotated with Blueprint of the Battlefield codes for use in long-term trend analysis.


(Trends are numbered sequentially for cross-reference and are not in any priority order.)

Needs Emphasis

TREND 1: Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) plan development. Task Force (TF) S2s and assistant S2s continue their role as the only planners in the R&S effort.


1. Leaving the TF S2 to solely develop the R&S effort means no integrated product (i.e., no R&S OPORD).

2. Fire integration, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), and task and purpose are often left out.

3. NAIs are often not prioritized, infiltration routes and OP repositioning plans are not addressed.

4. Weak PIRs are not linked to NAIs.

5. Scouts are often sent out late without an enemy SITEMP. Most TFs only provide the scouts with an R&S matrix, frequently giving inaccurate start and stop times.


1. R&S plans must be integrated with input from other staff planners.

2. TFs should produce an R&S OPORD written by the S3 with input from all staff elements.

3. The S2 should include the enemy SITEMP in the R&S order for timely receipt of this information by the scouts.

4. Staff synchronization is necessary for the TF R&S plan (OPORD) to work.

(TA.5.1 Develop Tactical Intelligence Requirements)

TREND 2: Task Force integration of reconnaissance training into Home Station training.

PROBLEM: Task forces (TFs) do not adequately train reconnaissance planning, preparation, execution, and support at Home Station. Home Station recon training is often left up to the scout platoon leader.

RESULT: Recon training is limited to section or platoon training with very narrow objectives and no integration of other TF assets.


1. Recon is a mission, not a unit. The TF must take responsibility for the integration of all available assets toward achieving the recon objective.

  1. First, the commander and S3, with the S2's recommendation, identify what information is required for the TF to be successful in the upcoming operation. This information should focus on both friendly and enemy decision points and how to influence (enemy) or facilitate (friendly) decisions. Setting these proirities normally provides sufficient focus for the limited assets available to the TF and prevents overwhelming reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) tasking.

  2. Second, the S3 determines the force necessary to defeat enemy forces templated or known between his TF and the recon objective.

  3. Third, the S3 creates a recon force that has sufficient combat power to achieve that objective or recommends a new objective based on availability of forces.

2. Consider the following planning factors in recon operations:


  2. Indirect fire support

  3. Communications

  4. Resupply

Against an armored and dedicated enemy, all of these things quickly exceed the capabilities of a HMMWV-equipped scout platoon. Bradley-equipped scouts are more likely to achieve recon objectives without TF support, but the planning factors remain the same. Limitations are often not discovered until scout platoons are rendered combat ineffective, unable to contribute to TF success.

3. The TF must ensure the integration of recon training at Home Station. R&S planning must be integrated into every orders drill so that usable products are produced prior to R&S execution.

4. The TF recon must have sufficient force to accomplish the mission.

(TA.5.1 Develop Tactical Intelligence Requirements)

TREND 3: Scout platoon execution of reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) operations.


1. Task forces often task only scout platoon assets for R&S execution.

2. As the rotation continues, the scout platoon is tasked to conduct either recon or surveillance on a constant basis.

3. Some missions may require a larger number of assets to cover NAIs than the scout platoon can provide.

4. Little consideration is given for allowing time to rest, conduct rehearsals, or perform maintenance.

5. No other elements are tasked to replace or augment the scout platoon mission.

6. METT-T is not taken into consideration when executing the R&S plan.

RESULT: The scout platoon is over-tasked and unable to maintain the level of readiness required to achieve the R&S mission.


1. Train other infantry platoon elements to augment or replace the scout platoon according to METT-T. All mechanized infantry squads, sections, or platoons should be capable of such a mission.

2. Assess the scout platoon readiness level when developing the R&S plan.

  1. If the organic scout platoon is not at a readiness level to complete the mission, then another trained asset should be tasked.

  2. If the NAI coverage for a particular mission exceeds the scout platoon's capabilities, task other assets to augment the recon force.

(TA.5.1 Develop Tactical Intelligence Requirements)

TREND 4: (LTP) Planning and supervising the reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) effort.


1. Brigades rarely think of R&S as a continuous process. When brigade staffs plan the R&S effort in support of a mission, they rarely identify R&S as a continuous process to include preparation and execution phases.

2. Once R&S assets are in place, brigades rarely follow-up; they do not put pressure on specific collectors to provide the information that they were tasked to provide.

3. When the brigade issues the R&S order, subordinate units are rarely tasked to provide their plans back to the brigade to be deconflicted.

RESULT: Major issues such as terrain management of forces, identification of gaps in collection, verification of coverage for surveillance, and conflicts in tasks are not readily identified nor resolved prior to R&S execution.


1. The brigade must address R&S as a continuous operation for all phases of the mission.

2. The brigade must deconflict and integrate R&S plans into a finished brigade product; therefore, tasking subordinate units to submit their plans to the brigade is a must.

3. The R&S plan is a wasted effort if the brigade is not prepared to supervise the subordinate unit's assigned tasks. Brigade XOs, Battle Captains, staff members, and command post (CP) personnel must be trained to support and supervise the R&S operation.

(TA.5.1 Develop Tactical Intelligence Requirements)

TREND 5: (LTP) Brigade S2 products preparation.

PROBLEM: Brigade S2s often arrive at NTC having conducted little or no Home Station preparation of checklists or formatted charts.

RESULT: Brigade S2s are normally unable to provide timely support for the brigade planning process.


1. Recommend that each S2 section develop a SOP with a checklist and formatted charts.

  1. The SOP should address the products that will be routinely required of the S2 section for each phase of the staff planning process as well as battle tracking.

  2. These products would be based on standard requirements as well as staff and commander-driven requirements.

2. Recommend the following items be developed as part of the unit S2 Home Station preparation:

  1. Terrain Analysis in the form of a Modified Combined Obstacle Overlay (MCOO) and Intervisibility Line (IV) overlay

  2. Light data chart

  3. Doctrinal templates

  4. S2 mission analysis and battle tracking charts.

(TA.5.1 Develop Tactical Intelligence Requirements)

TREND 6: (LTP) S2 understanding of enemy tactics.

PROBLEM: Task force (TF) S2s are too often coming to LTP with a rudimentary knowledge of OPFOR composition and tactics.


1. Planning processes are continually slowed down because of lengthy discussions on how the OPFOR fights.

2. Lack of a thorough knowledge of OPFOR doctrine has adversely affected battle tracking during execution because the S2s have difficulty trying to identify the "big picture."

Technique: S2s should come to NTC with a comprehensive knowledge on how the OPFOR fights. (TRADOC Pam 350-16, Take Home Packages from previous rotations, CALL products and the OPFOR homepage are good starts).

(TA.5.1 Develop Tactical Intelligence Requirements)

TREND 7: (LTP) Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) plan refinement.

PROBLEM: Although reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) planning is detailed and fundamentally sound at the task force (TF) level, TFs fail to follow-up with brigade on many R&S issues during the later stages of R&S planning and preparation.

  1. TFs seldom plan for air movement for the COLTs that were OPCON to them.

  2. TFs seldom plan for the employment of ground surveillance radar (GSR) in their zone.

  3. TFs still have difficulty with terrain management in their area of operation (AO). They often do not know exact locations of brigade assets in their AOs.

Technique: TFs should plan R&S operations as they would a combat operation with continuous refinement during planning, preparation, and execution.

(TA.5.1 Develop Tactical Intelligence Requirements)

TREND 8: (LTP) Engineer involvement in reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) planning.

PROBLEM: Engineer efforts in support of R&S is normally inadequate.

  1. The engineer battalion rarely plays a major part in the brigade's R&S planning.

  2. Proposed locations for the assets going forward, i.e., COLTs, scouts, C2, ADA, IEW etc., are not addressed by the engineers.

  3. A relationship between the assistant battalion engineer (ABE) and the R&S planning cell rarely occurs.

  4. When engineers accompany task force (TF) scouts or COLTs on a collection mission, they normally cross the forward line of own troops (FLOT) with minimal guidance.


1. The ABE should assertively participate as a key player during R&S planning.

2. Engineer terrain products should be produced that support the R&S plan.

3. During a deliberate attack especially, engineer specific NAIs should be developed and refined.

(TA.5.1 Develop Tactical Intelligence Requirements)

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