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Reconnaissance and Surveillance: Looking Deep

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Journal article

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In the past, the Armys contribution for operational-level RS was provided by its Armored Cavalry Regiment ACR. In the scenarios that we were likely to encounter during the Cold War, we found that the ACR was a nearly perfect tool. Unfortunately, the optimization of the ACR for a particular environment meant that it lacked the adaptability to meet many of the RS challenges manifesting themselves across the current range of military operations. To meet these varied challenges, the Army built the Battlefield Surveillance Brigade BfSB. Though these units proved highly effective in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is increasingly obvious that they are not robust enough to fight for intent and survive on the future battlefield, particularly in close contact with the enemy. Just as crucially, the BfSB, as well as other smaller maneuver RS formations, lack the intelligence fusion and analysis capability that senior operational commanders require. As a result, the Army is making a new appraisal of the RS capabilities required to support campaigns at echelons above brigade, as well as how to obtain them during a prolonged period of austerity. What is clear is that the Army needs to provide the joint force an RS organization that is tailorable. In some instances, the formation will need a great deal of combat power in other cases, analytical capability will be central. Many missions will require a unique blend of specialized capabilities. The power in this formation will stem from its mission-specific adaptability. Unfortunately, an Army of 32 BCTs cannot afford to create new specialty formations. There simply is no latitude within the future force structure to build the modern-day equivalent of the ACR. The requirements discussed, however, do seem to point to a BCT-based solution. BCTs have the right combat power and a robust staff. If these BCTs are augmented, they possess the inherent adaptability to meet the majority of RS requirements.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Intelligence
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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