Academic journal article Military Review

The Reconnaissance Squadron and ISR Operations

Academic journal article Military Review

The Reconnaissance Squadron and ISR Operations

Article excerpt

To guess at the intention of the

enemy; to divine his opinion of yourself; to

hide from both your intentions and opinions;

to mislead him by feigned manoeuvres; to

invoke ruses, as well as digested schemes, so

as to fight under the best conditions-this is

and will always be the art of war.


AS THE U.S. ARMY continues to transform and until the Objective Force is finally realized, the Army has made great efforts to field an interim force-the interim brigade combat team (IBCT). This Transformation force will lead the Army into the future. The IBCT is a force-projection force that can rapidly deploy anywhere in the world to protect U.S. interests or serve the needs of the National Command Authority and regional commanders in chief Designed specifically to conduct small-scale contingency operations in complex terrain against asymmetric tactics, the IBCT will be capable of responding to the country's needs.

The IBCT is a unique and lethal combined arms organization comprised of three infantry battalions, a reconnaissance (recce) squadron, a field artillery battalion, a brigade support battalion, an antitank company, an engineer company, a military intelligence company, and various other combat support elements. But, what truly makes the IBCT a lethal and effective combat force is its ability to achieve information superiority. With all elements in the IBCT connected via the Army Battle Command System (ABCS) and Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2), every echelon can gain and maintain situational awareness (SA), and can quickly pass and receive intelligence information and mission orders.

There are several unique aspects of the IBCT, but the most important is its ability to gain and maintain situational understanding of the battlefield. The primary means of achieving situational understanding is through intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. ISR is defined as "the integration and synchronization of all battlefield operating systems to collect and process information about the enemy and environment that produces relevant information to facilitate the commander's decisionmaking."1 By achieving situational understanding, the brigade commander can best employ lethal and nonlethal effects to defeat an enemy force.

Emerging doctrine addresses an additional element of combat power-information. The IBCT's ability to gain information superiority and maintain information dominance will be critical to future military operations in an increasingly complex battlespace. In the future, the IBCT will conduct operations across the spectrum of conflict from major theater war to small-scale contingency operations to peacetime military engagements-facing adversaries that will range from conventional military forces, to paramilitary and guerrilla forces, to terrorists and organized crime groups. Additionally, as these threats attempt to gain an advantage over U.S. forces, the enemy will seek to attack U.S. forces using unconventional and asymmetric attacks while operating in varying types of terrain, including not only open, rolling terrain but also urban areas and severely restricted mountainous and heavily wooded terrain.

To ensure success on the future battlefield, commanders must achieve information superiority, defined as "the operational advantage derived from the ability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary's ability to do the same."2 The ability to rapidly collect, process, and disseminate information enhances a commander's ability to make better military decisions, and command and control his unit.

Each subordinate element in the IBCT contributes to ISR operations. Intelligence is "(1) the product resulting from the collection, integration, analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of available information concerning the threat or environment, or (2) information and knowledge about an adversary obtained through observation, investigation, analysis, or understanding. …

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