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Tactics 101 071 – Reconnaissance and Surveillance PlanningBy Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland | Tactics101|War College | Published: April 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm
RECONNAISSANCE and SURVEILLANCE
“Agitate the enemy and ascertain the pattern of his movement. Determine his dispositions and so ascertain the field of battle. Probe him and learn where his strength is abundant and where deficient.”
This background should provide you the knowledge you need to glean more out of this month’s discussion.
STEP 1 – DEVELOP YOUR REQUIREMENTS
In developing those requirements, you look at three categories. These are:
1. Information Requirements
Information requirements are generally derived from three sources. First, you will have questions about the terrain in which you will be fighting upon. Second, you will have questions regarding the enemy you will be fighting against. Finally, there will be questions that once answered will assist you in executing your mission. Some of these information requirements will be converted to Priority Information Requirements (PIR). We will address this shortly.
In crafting your information requirements, you want to address the following five questions:
This information will pay dividends when you begin to craft the R&S Operations Order.
2. Higher Headquarters Specific Requirements
3. Requests from your Subordinates
Prioritize and then Develop your PIRs
Once you have compiled your information requirements, determined your higher headquarters’ requirements, and received your requests from your subordinates; it is time to prioritize. Take this group and rank order them from most critical to least critical. The reason is simple – You can’t answer all of them. You just do not have the time or assets.
Once you have completed your prioritized list, you will begin to group them into categories. The first group is the essential information requirements. This is information that is vital to complete your plan, tied directly to an anticipated commander’s decision, will aid you in executing a key target, or assist you in confirming or denying an enemy course of action. We call these essential information requirements – PIRs. Based on experience, you will probably have 6 or 7 of these in a particular mission.
The second group of information requirements is those that fall below a PIR in importance, but are requirements you know you need to recon against. For example, those specific tasks that your higher headquarters told you to do would fall into this category. This is your first cut line.
The last group are those requirements you would like to have answered, but are not essential or must do’s. This group will come into play once you have doled out assets to accomplish the first two groups. After doing this, you determine what assets you have still available. You will then decide what is achievable with what is left. This is then your final cut line. Everything below this line will not be an actionable requirement. As in all things tied to reconnaissance and surveillance; this list is, and should be subject to change. Recon and surveillance is 24 hour business.
Nevertheless, there are five specific areas which should always be addressed in R&S guidance. These are your R&S Purpose, R&S Focus, your Tempo, your Engagement Criteria, and Risk. Let’s discuss each below:
Reconnaissance Push – In a reconnaissance push, the commander sends out his assets after he has decided on a plan. Thus, he is pushing his assets out in order to gain information that will assist him in fighting this plan. Within this plan, he may have some critical decision points that he will require information in order to answer. As stated earlier, this information should ultimately be tied to a commander’s decision.
Reconnaissance Pull – In a reconnaissance pull, the commander sends out his assets before he has decided on his plan. Thus, he is deploying his assets to pull information so he can craft his plan. In a reconnaissance pull, the situation is normally unclear or the situation is rapidly changing.
With the requirements developed and prioritized and commander’s guidance provided, it is now time to synchronize the R&S Plan.
STEP 2 – DEVELOP YOUR SYNCHRONIZATION PLAN
There are several other issues you must consider in terms of availability. Such things as: What is the maintenance status of equipment and systems? When will down equipment be maintenance up? If you want to utilize manned aviation; what is the crew rest requirements for the aviators? How fatigued are your soldiers who you may utilize? Below is a good way of portraying what you have and when it may be available.
Capability – We’ve all heard the term, “You can’t put a square peg in a round hole.” This is certainly true in regards to R&S assets. You do not want to use an asset to do something it cannot do. Thus, you must know the capabilities of your available assets. The key is knowing if the asset is capable of gathering the information for the requirement.
Vulnerability – No asset is invincible. Each has vulnerabilities that an enemy can exploit if it possesses the expertise and assets. Vulnerabilities must be considered when analyzing assets. When looking at an asset’s vulnerability several things come into play. These include: Does your enemy possess the capability to track your asset from the start of the operation to the target area? Does your enemy possess the capability to destroy the asset if the opportunity arises? Is the benefit from utilizing the asset greater than the risk that it may get destroyed?
Performance History – Hey, if an asset has a proven track record in collecting information in certain environments don’t get clever. As long as your opponent has not figured out your methods, there is no need to change for change sake. Performance history must enter into the equation.
Cueing – When you conduct cueing, you first utilize one asset to collect fairly general information in a certain area. If certain information is found this then triggers (cues) another asset to go into the area and collect more specific information. Cueing is usually conducted when you have limited ground R&S assets (which are usually the case). In practice, here is how it works below.
JSTARS first reported that they identified 70 (plus) signatures at grid SLC123456 heading south. This report was clearly important to the Brigade Intelligence Officer. This ‘cued’ him to send his UAV to the location to get more definitive information.
Mixing – When you are mixing assets you are utilizing two or more different type of assets to collect information for the same information requirement. A mix system includes utilizing assets from the various ints (HUMINT – human intelligence, SIGENT – signal intelligence, MASINT– Measurement and Signature Intelligence, ELINT –electronic intelligence, IMINT – imagery intelligence, etc…).
Below is a good way to capture the difference in these areas;
Mixing is an excellent management tool if you have access to the various resources. The great thing about mixing is that it is difficult for an enemy to thwart each distinct asset. Thus, mixing is critical if you desperately need information on a specific requirement. Let’s look at an example below:
In this example, the commander has a definite concern on the enemy inside the black circle (specifically the small red circle). This enemy is planning an attack and the commander wants to disrupt the timing of the attack. Thus, he is requiring information that enables him to know when the attack is to commence. To do this, he is mixing his assets to provide this information. In the example, he is utilizing imagery intelligence, signals intelligence, electronic intelligence, and measurement and signatures intelligence.
Redundancy—Throughout this series, we have discussed the importance of redundancy as it relates to various areas. If something is clearly important, you can’t depend on one thing to accomplish the task. You must have contingencies and redundancy in assets. This is certainly true in the world of R&S. If information is clearly vital to assisting a commander in making a decision you must have redundant assets assigned to collect. In definition, redundancy is utilizing two or more like assets to collect information against the same requirement. Let’s see its’ use in the following example:
Above, the commander is interested in obtaining information on the armor brigade circled in black. To do this, he has committed two assets he has directly under his control – scouts (probably an observation post hidden in the terrain) and a UAV.
STEP 3 – DEVELOP YOUR R&S ORDER
There are several products you can produce that will greatly assist in preparing and executing R&S. Within the 5 paragraph operations order (see the link for more detail),
you should provide a concise discussion on how your R&S plan will assist in mission accomplishment in paragraph 3 – concept of operation. This paragraph should address the following:
You will address specifics in the next products we will discuss.
Brigade and Higher Level Annex
As you can see from this annex, it utilizes the same format as your basic five paragraph operations order. The example explains what you normally discuss in each of the paragraphs.
For us, if you can capture it all effectively on one page it is a good technique. If you can also throw in a sketch you have made it even better. In this example, the preponderance of the basics are captured here in one look. This order would be accompanied by a couple of additional documents (which we will discuss later) that will provide the details on the collection efforts at each NAI.
In this example, the battalion is providing its’ subordinates with a sketch and then adds the verbiage to it. As we addressed early in the series, the graphics and the words must complement each other and have no discrepancies.
Each of the above, are products and techniques a unit can use to explain their R&S plan. As always, the products and techniques you will use all depend on what works.
Appendix to the Annex
Of course, everything begins with the PIR. Our R&S efforts ultimately aim to provide the information that will lead to answering those PIR. Following the PIR, we focus on the information requirements that lead to the PIR. Within this discussion, we address the indicators that lead us to the requirement and the location (NAI) where we anticipate finding the information. The column LTIOV (Latest Time Information is of Value) is a crucial column. This states when the information is not needed anymore. Thus, after that time you can redirect your assets. The other columns are pretty self-explanatory. In total, this matrix provides a great deal of critical information that subordinates need for execution.
Below we will highlight some other matrix examples:
STEP 4 – PUBLISH YOUR ORDER
That is why it is critical to send out instructions as soon as it’s available. If time is available, utilize it well and conduct an R&S rehearsal. This rehearsal irons out many things and can be instrumental in enabling you to make the most of your R&S assets.
STEP 5 – INFORMATION DISSEMINATION PLAN
You can collect all the information you require, but if there is no plan to get it to the right people at the right time to make a crucial decision – it is fairly useless. You must have a plan to disseminate this info throughout the organization. There are several things that enter into the equation. First, you must determine how information is coming to you (or your staff). You must have a plan to receive information from the various assets you have working your R&S. That information will come in through various cells within your command post. As this info comes in, it must go through some type of clearing house to transfer the information to where it needs to go. There are several places it should go. First, it will go back out to the various cells in the command post that requires the information. Second, it will be provided to the group that assists the commander in making his critical decisions. They will make assessments on the information (we will discuss this in the following step). Third, it will go out to any of your subordinate units which require the information. Finally, you will send some of your information to your higher headquarters if they have asked for it or you believe they need it. The system a unit has in place to execute this must be solid and rehearsed. Misplaced information or untimely information can be the difference in accomplishing your mission. Key in ensuring these things do not become a bad habit is having an audit trail on information. A trail that tracks information from the time it comes in until the time it gets to the right destination.
STEP 6 – ASSESSMENTS
It is imperative that you have a system to track your information and its’ tie to the PIR. Below we have provided you a pretty simple technique to do this. Basically, you highlight your PIR; the information requirements which will assist you in answering the PIR; and the assets assigned to collect on the information requirements. Within this tool, there is one key area that must be continually updated. You must continually assess how you are coming on answering the information requirements. In this case, you use a simple green, yellow, red system. Each time you assess, make sure you update the date/time group in the lower right hand corner.
This assessment tool does several things for you. First, and most critical, it assists you in decision-making. Second, if a PIR is answered, you can retask your R&S assets to look for other things (we will expand on this in our next step). Third, if you are having difficulty collecting information with the assets you currently have assigned; you may make changes in your use of assets.
Your work on assessments flows perfectly into our final step …
STEP 7 – UPDATE PLAN
There are many things that should result in you updating your R&S plan. Of course, they should revolve around answering the Commander’s Critical Information Requirement (CCIR). Again, these requirements are tied directly to a commander’s decision. Things that should generate updating your plan are:
So what if one of the above things occur? How do you update your plan? Well, basically you should conduct a very abbreviated form of what we have discussed this month.
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