1. Overview. This chapter focuses on how the results of RSTA operations are used within broad strategic, operational, and tactical areas. Reference mission areas and the manner in which the products are used are not meant to categorize types of systems as strategic, operational, or tactical. They illustrate RSTA support at the various levels of war and establish the scope of application for the products of those operations. The primary objective of RSTA operations is to support military operations across the operational continuum. RSTA operations are performed by forces with a primary RSTA mission and other forces with either a collateral mission or the capability to perform such a mission. Modern intelligence collection systems can accumulate vast amounts of information. To be useful, the information must be relevant, accurate, analyzed, properly formatted, and disseminated in a timely manner to the appropriate user. Also, the information must be appropriately classified to protect the RSTA system and its technology but sanitized to the degree necessary to allow dissemination to the appropriate user level.

2. RSTA Mission Areas. RSTA mission areas are essentially the same for the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of operations and interest. However, the tasking within these mission areas will vary based on the level, focus, need, and forces available. RSTA mission areas include: indications and warning (I&W), planning and employment, and assessment.

  1. Indications and Warning

      (1) Strategic and Operational. Strategic- and operational-level RSTA operations provide information necessary to assess forces and installations that threaten the United States and its allies. It may be used to enhance an allied nation's ability to conduct military operations on a global, theater, or regional basis. RSTA missions may require both continuous surveillance and as-required reconnaissance to provide timely I&W of a threat or impending attack. RSTA assets can assist in monitoring or verifying compliance with international agreements, e.g., arms control agreements.

      (2) Tactical. Tactical RSTA operations provide information and intelligence similar to the strategic and operational level necessary to assess force strength and deployment, defensive and offensive capabilities, and other factors that may affect US and/or allied military plans and operations. RSTA missions may require both continuous surveillance and as-required reconnaissance. They can assist in providing I&W of a threat or impending attack in sufficient time for an appropriate response.

  2. Planning and Employment

      (1) Strategic. Strategic RSTA operations may be used to support the planning and conduct of nuclear and nonnuclear operations for all military environments, including:

        (a) Monitoring centers of gravity critical to a nation's warmaking capability.

        (b) Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP)/-limited attack option (LAO) data base planning, adaptive planning, Unified Command Plan (UCP) responsibilities, and Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP) taskings.

        (c) Information on system capabilities, location, and other installations for the National Target Base (NTB) and other target bases.

      (2) Operational. Operational RSTA operations provide commanders with current data on areas to include the environment, organizations, infrastructures, and forces necessary for planning theater campaigns and major operations, including contingencies. Additionally, they can provide for adaptive real-time planning for current operations. RSTA operational-level support includes the following:

        (a) Monitoring centers of gravity critical to a nation's warmaking ability and enemy orders of battle against which the JFC must concentrate his operations.

        (b) Strategic conventional attack data base planning.

        (c) Information on enemy offensive and defensive system capabilities, locations, and other data bases.

        (d) Collection of information on the conduct of combat or support operations across the operational continuum.

      (3) Tactical. Tactical RSTA operations forces and assets can provide the required detailed information (i.e., terrain, enemy disposition, orders of battle, movement, offensive and defensive capabilities) needed to plan and to employ forces successfully. This support includes providing target detection and acquisition, near-real-time intelligence, etc., that provide opportunities for offensive and defensive actions and help reduce casualties and achieve victory.

  3. Assessment. RSTA operations provide assessment support to all levels of command before, during, and after the conduct of military operations. They can provide an important means for assessing friendly deception efforts. Assessments like BDA can provide information on the success of military operations and the need for follow-up or new operations. They can assist in determining where and when to employ scarce resources and concentrate efforts. Such assessments will affect the formulation of policy and military plans at all levels of conflict.

3. Operations Security (OPSEC). Operations security must be used when generating RSTA resources, while sustaining and protecting the forces, and in planning and conducting reconnaissance and surveillance operations. The purpose is to enhance combat effectiveness by gaining and maintaining essential secrecy about friendly military capabilities, intentions, and operations. RSTA operations and planning must be closely coordinated with primary mission strategies and objectives to ensure activities and communications do not reveal indications of the primary mission that may be exploited by adversaries. Essential secrecy is required about the specific characteristics of sensors and data links, wartime reserve mode designs, deployment intentions, areas under surveillance, when and where reconnaissance will take place, patterns of operations that may imply operational objectives, and processing capabilities. For more detailed discussion on OPSEC, see Joint Pub 3-54, "Joint Doctrine for Operations Security."

4. Operational Deception (OPDEC). RSTA operations may be used in four ways to support OPDEC. The first way tasks RSTA assets to identify and locate appropriate targets for OPDEC within the enemy C2 structure. The second way involves RSTA operations to monitor enemy actions or inactions relative to deception plans being implemented by the JFC. Enemy actions may include troop movement in reaction to perceived friendly movement or increased surveillance activity by the enemy in attempts to monitor friendly activities. Third, increased RSTA activity in a specific area away from the main thrust of a planned operation may deceive the enemy into thinking that friendly forces may be preparing an operation into a specific area. Such RSTA activities, along with other OPDEC inputs, confuse enemy commanders, allowing friendly commanders to exploit the situation. And fourth, RSTA assets may be used to support detection of enemy OPDEC. For more detailed discussion on OPDEC, see Joint Pub 3-58, "Doctrine for Joint Operational Deception."

12-26-1996; 11:33:45