Title: Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition Collection Planning--Embedded Within the MEF Intelligence and Operations Cycles

Authors: Intelligence Doctrine Working Group

May 1995

Chairman: Major J.C. Dereschuk, United States Marine Corps

Members: Major R. H. Chase Major J. A. Day (USMC) Major D. D. Cline Major J.G. O'Hagan

Thesis: Judicious employment of finite, high value RSTA resources to support myriad battlespace activities demands top-down planning, unity of effort, and Commander's synchronization of the intelligence and operations cycles.

Background: The emerging body of Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Targeting Acquisition (RSTA) resources brings a powerful contribution to battlespace domination. Diverse RSTA operations occur simultaneously within the battlespace--keyed to support a range of users from decision makers to "shooters." In addition to collecting information that develops situational awareness, RSTA assets contribute to many battle space activities: Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace, Indications and Warning, situation development, force protection, Battle Damage Assessment, targeting and collection queuing. Given this multi-dimensional capability, it is no longer desirable to relegate RSTA assets solely to the realm of intelligence collection management. The command and control of finite, high value RSTA resources is the Commander's responsibility, one demanding top-down planning and unity of effort throughout the MAGTF to achieve a synchronized intelligence-operations approach to RSTA employment.

Recommendation: To oversee the coordination and tasking of RSTA missions supporting battlespace domination, the Marine Corps must institutionalize a MEF-level coordination board--the Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition Board (RSTAB). Under the Commander's direction, the Board's concerted efforts to plan, coordinate, and task RSTA resources will embed RSTA collection planning within the intelligence-operations cycles.




LIST OF FIGURES........................................................................ iii

Chapter Page



PLANNING WITHIN THE MAGTF TODAY................................. 1-8



IV. RSTAB PROCEDURES..........................................................34-38



VI. CONCLUSIONS..................................................................53-56




UAV MISSION..............................................................60-64


NEW MEF SUPPORT GROUP............................................65-73




1. Intelligence Flow Within the MEF

(Page 2)

2. G2 Combat Intelligence Center (CIC)

(Page 5)

3. Divert Scenario: UAV Detects Targets of

Opportunity Beyond the FSCL

(Page 7)

4. RSTA Collection Planning Cycle--Embedded

Within MAGTF Planning Cycles

(Page 34)


The emerging body of Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Targeting Acquisition (RSTA) assets serves as a significant combat multiplier to a commander. In addition to collecting information that helps develop situational awareness, RSTA assets contribute to many battle space activities:

--Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace (IPB)

--Indications and Warning (I&W)

--Situation Development

--Force Protection

--Battle Damage Assessment (BDA)

--Targeting, Target Acquisition, and Target Development

--Collection Queuing

--Battle Management

Given this multi-dimensional capability, it is no longer desirable to relegate RSTA assets solely to the realm of intelligence collection management. The command and control of finite, high value RSTA resources is the Commander's responsibility, one demanding top-down planning and unity of effort throughout the MAGTF to achieve a synchronized intelligence-operations approach to RSTA employment.

Not surprisingly, synchronizing diverse RSTA capabilities to support operations involves complex coordination and planning considerations. During this process, the Commander and his staff must ask themselves: Are these assets best employed in general support of the MAGTF, direct support of subordinate units, or both? Will these assets fall under G2 or G3 purview, or should a Commander-designated board conduct oversight and management? What relationship must be established, what coordination effected between organic and nonorganic RSTA assets and the Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center (SARC), the Combat Intelligence Center (CIC), and the Combat Operations Center (COC)? Who orchestrates the coordination for RSTA planning, and who provides the sanity check on how well the collection strategy supports operations? Given that diverse RSTA operations occur simultaneously within the battlespace--keyed to support a range of users from decision makers to "shooters"--what parameters must define the information flow, and who should oversee the dissemination process to ensure usable intelligence reaches the Major Subordinate Commands?

RSTA assets provide a powerful contribution to battlespace domination. The finite nature of RSTA platforms and the complexities inherent in planning and executing their operations flag the RSTA collection process for commander's responsibility. The management demands unity of effort, top-down planning, and synchronization of the RSTA cycle. This paper proposes the formation of a MEF CE coordination board--the Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition Board (RSTAB)--to oversee the prioritization, validation, coordination, and tasking of RSTA missions. Key principal staff officers whose guidance is pivotal to synchronizing intelligence and operations are dual-hatted to form the RSTAB. Under the commander's direction, the Board's planning, coordination, and execution efforts would embed RSTA collection planning within the intelligence-operations cycles.







The Dilemma

As the spectrum of battlefield systems becomes more sophisticated and diverse, intelligence requirements to support battlefield operations grow astronomically--from collecting on and correlating battlefield activities to developing target packages; from analyzing Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) to relaying information in near-real-time

(NRT) to a tactical commander. (1) General Clapper, Director of DIA, recently commented on these demands placed on intelligence:

As a result, intelligence simply must situate itself within the operational cycle rather than outside it...the intelligence collection, production and dissemination cycle must be compressed so that it fits within the operational cycle for targeting to support strike and restrike operations. (2)

The MAGTF intelligence collection cycle must be tailored to support the operational cycle, and the entire spectrum of MAGTF operations and fires. The diverse array of reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting acquisition (RSTA) sensors and systems either organic, attached, or available to support a MAGTF challenges the current way we do business. The G2 and G3 must expand their partnership to maximize the multidiscipline capability inherent in finite RSTA assets. Importantly, synchronizing intelligence and operations planning to optimize RSTA advantages must stand as one of the commmander's priority concerns. The commander provides the top-down direction ensuring unity of effort in intelligence and operations cycles.

To understand the intricacies of RSTA planning and collection management, and how crucial coordinated staff planning is to successful RSTA operations, consider what generally occurs at the MEF during a collection planning cycle. Historically, the intelligence collection management process has often failed to integrate fully target acquisition. It must be noted that each MEF currently employs different procedures for collection planning and management, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center (SARC) employment, and development of a dissemination architecture. The following concept is based primarily on I MEF Command Element (CE) and Surveillance and Reconnaissance Intelligence Group (SRIG) operations. See

Figure 1.

MAGTF Intelligence Collection Management Cycle

The commander has the ultimate responsibility to determine, direct, and coordinate all intelligence collection through centralized, apportioned collection management. The commander determines his Critical Information Requirements (CCIR) for the operation, requirements that subsequently focus the collection process. Traditionally, the MEF G2 Collection Management Officer (CMO) and/or, Collection Requirements Management Officer (CRMO) if assigned, work with the Commanding Officer of the SRIG and his collection units to develop the MEF collection plan. The plan is based on the MEF commander's intent and planning guidance, CCIRs, staff Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIR), and Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace (IPB). Through IPB--the underpinning for collection and RSTA operations--the G2 forms a basis for determining possible enemy courses of action, intent, capabilities, and critical vulnerabilities. Once the IPB process has begun, the CMO (and usually the SRIG S3) participate in the MEF staff planning sessions that produce the Event and Decision Support Templates--replete with Named Areas of Interest (NAI), Target Areas of Interest (TAI), and Decision Points (DP).

Armed with this collection focus, the CMO meets with the G2's Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) planners, the SRIG S3 and representatives from his collection units, and CMOs of major subordinate commands (MSC) to develop a comprehensive plan to cover NAIs, TAIs, CCIR, PIR, and collection capability gaps. Before deciding on the need for new collection efforts, or prior to validating requirements for fulfillment at higher echelons, the G2 CMO confers with the MEF All Source Fusion Center (MAFC), Imagery Interpretation Unit (IIU), and the Topographic Platoon to determine if off-the-shelf products are available within the MEF to satisfy commander, staff, and MSC requirements. The CMO also must be aware of the capabilities, limitations, and leadtime for tasking intelligence collection assets and production agencies.

Once the gaps in organic intelligence products and collection capability are determined, the CMO/CRMO registers, validates, and prioritizes collection, exploitation, and dissemination requirements to satisfy the intelligence concerns of the MEF and MSC commanders. Requisite theater and national assets and agencies will be tasked through operational channels to support the MAGTF with collection emphasis, coverage, and/or production.

As collection/production results flow into the MEF, the CMO/CRMO monitors the overall satisfaction of command requirements and assesses the effectiveness of the collection strategy. Different types of collection capabilities are employed so information from one source can be validated by other sources or assets. The collection strategy ensures redundancy so the loss or failure of one asset can be compensated for by another of similar capability. The CMO strives for near continuous surveillance on a target through synchronization of different and complementary national, theater, and organic collection assets. This coordinated planning also allows cross-cueing and tipoff among collectors, and provides a sensor-to-shooter capability for exploitation of targets of opportunity. (3) Generally, data collected are integrated within the MAFC for dissemination as all-source, finished intelligence. However, when mission-essential, information is transmitted NRT to the tactical level for immediate operational exploitation.

The MEF G3, or sometimes the Chief of Staff, reviews the final G2 collection strategy. Once the plan has been approved, the SRIG S3 and representatives of individual SRIG units commence detailed mission planning with appropriate MEF staff sections (e.g., Force Reconnaissance Company confers with G3 Air for insertions/extraction as required, and Force Fires for establishment of RAO and NFA; Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Company consults with MEF and Air Combat Element (ACE) air space management and control authorities; Human Intelligence Company (HUMINT) teams work with the MEF HUMINT Branch (HIB) and the unit they are directly supporting). These planners keep the CMO apprised of major developments, but the CMO does not involve himself in the details unless there is "finessing" required with MEF staff elements. When coordination is complete, the SRIG units prepare their respective tabs for inclusion in Appendix 11 (the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Plan) of Annex B (Intelligence) to the OPLAN, and present them to the CMO for final approval.

SARC and G2 Operations. Once deployed, the SRIG establishes and mans the Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center (SARC), located in close proximity to the MEF Combat Intelligence Center (CIC). See Figure (2), "The Combat Intelligence Center." Note, with the exception of the MEF G2 Administration section, the entire CIC, less the SARC, is situated within a field Special Compartmented Intelligence Facility (SCIF) during most I MEF operations. In general, most SARC personnel do not have the requisite Special Intelligence clearance for access within a SCIF. Unfortunately, this precludes the SARC and CIC elements from conducting uninterrupted fusion of genser (secret) and higher levels of classified material. However, the SARC is located either immediately outside the SCIF wire, within easy G2 access, or located in the area between the Combat Operations Center (COC) and CIC entry point (Figure 2). Both layouts have merit, although certainly the optimum solution would be a SARC manned with SCI-cleared individuals, fully integrated within the CIC, or alternatively, a CIC that in some manner allowed for co-existence of both SCI and genser-only cleared individuals. (4)

The SRIG S3 normally is the OIC of the SARC. The SARC is under the staff cognizance of the G2/CMO, who directs collection planning and operations through the SARC OIC. While this situation generally provides for smooth operations, on occasion, deconflicting multi-mission capable assets becomes a mild tug-of-war between the G2, G3, and the Ground Combat Element (GCE). Final adjudication for the prioritization of missions for these scarce resource rests with the Commanding General.

Information Flow

Information from the deployed collection assets--Sensor Control and Management Platoon (SCAMP), Force Reconnaissance, UAVs--flows into the SARC via doctrinal nets. As an example, consider the UAV information flow. UAV voice reporting can be available to the ACE, GCE, and Force Service Support Group (FSSG) over various doctrinal nets, or a Remote Video Terminal (RVT) can be provided to the unit being directly supported by the UAV. Perishable targeting data collected by the UAV can be fed NRT to an MSC. Pre-planned UAV missions can be diverted to support unfolding battlespace events. If time does not permit consulting the SARC OIC and/or the G2 CMO for a divert mission, then divert authority can come immediately from the MEF COC Watch Officer--the direct representative of the Commander--through concurrence with G2 and G3 Watch Officers. Figure 3, "Divert of a Pre-planned UAV Mission," depicts a UAV executing three collateral missions while flying one preplanned orbit. Starting on a preplanned collection mission, the UAV detects targets of opportunity and reports back to the SARC. This activates a rapid targeting process involving the G2, G3, and Force Fires Coordination Center (FFCC). The UAV stays on station to provide immediate post strike BDA. This is an excellent example of intelligence and targeting synchronizing operations to maximize a RSTA asset. Appendix A elaborates on the events involved in a divert mission.

Ground sensor reports also feed into the SARC, are "analyzed" by the SCAMP platoon element, and passed to the CIC/MAFC. Generally, since the SARC and CIC are only a door apart, a hard copy report is hand-carried to the CIC. The CMO, G2 operations officer, the MEF All Source Fusion Center (MAFC) analysts, and/or the target intelligence officer quickly review the report in the context of the current battlespace. Based on its perishability and contents, a determination may be made to pass the information immediately to the COC and FFCC/Targeting section for target consideration. In some instances, the information may be further analyzed, integrated with other sources, and folded into the next published MEF Intelligence Summary (INTSUM). If the information is perishable and of vital concern to an MSC, the G2 Operations Officer directs immediate dissemination of the "information" to the subordinate G2 via the most expeditious means: phone, radio net, Local Area Network (LAN), Intelligence Analysis Station (IAS), Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System (JDISS), or courier.

Force Reconnaissance team reports either enter the SARC directly through the doctrinal net or flow first (or simultaneously) to the adjacent Reconnaissance Operations Center (ROC). The Force Reconnaissance Element manning the SARC collates the data and passes it through the SARC to the CIC/MAFC. The same process detailed above for SCAMP reports occurs: the report can receive immediate action/forwarding to the G3/COC, be further analyzed with other sources, and/or can be passed immediately to an MSC as perishable information.

During operations, the CMO and SARC OIC continuously update the collection strategy based on the enemy situation, collections input, commander's guidance, focus of main effort, scheme of maneuver, subordinate units' collection requirements, and future operations. In conjunction with current doctrinal operations planning, the MEF collection plan works on a 72 hour cycle, and is updated every 24 hours via record message traffic as the MEF Collections Operations Message.



Impact of Service-Related and National-Level Developments

MEF Collection Management (CM) procedures described in Chapter I work fairly well when the MEF G2 CMO deals solely with organic SRIG assets. However, over the past few years numerous developments at the national level, and a major change in the role assumed by the MEF Command Element during operations have expanded significantly the charter for RSTA asset employment, and prompted a review of RSTA management within the MEF:

--The MAGTF now operates frequently with joint and combined forces, gaining valuable exposure to RSTA sensors and assets at Service, theater and national levels.

--I MEF functioned as a Unified Task Force (UTF) in Somalia, experiencing unique RSTA planning during a combined, joint Humanitarian Operation.

--MAGTFs continue to exercise as JTFs or Component headquarters (MEF as the Warfighter) during CINC and MEF-level exercises, capturing lessons learned in the RSTA realm.

--The ongoing battle over roles and missions created an unexpected RSTA windfall: many national collection platforms uniquely configured for reconnaissance and surveillance during the heyday of the USSR are scrambling to redefine their role in the current threat environment. Several collection platforms have broadened their charter, increased accessibility to their assets, and have been more responsive to Service interoperability concerns. (5)

--Post Operation DESERT STORM, theater and national assets and agencies refocussed development of support measures from the strategic to the operational and tactical level. National agencies endeavored to inculcate collection management awareness at the Service and Component levels, assist Service collection planning and operations with a pool of experts, and educate the Services regarding the capability of the national community to support a combat commander. The desired end state being Service/Components with the knowledge and expertise to tap into the theater and national pipelines, subsequently enhancing the ability of the national intelligence community to successfully support future operations.

--The latest national top-down strategy for RSTA acquisition and upgrades stresses joint interoperability and streamlining the response time and accessibility of RSTA sensors and assets. There is a major emphasis on sensor-to-shooter capability in collection platforms, with NRT downlink to a common user ground station--one that is fielded with each Service and is interoperable with a variety of RSTA platforms.

--The Marine Corps Mid Range Threat Estimate 1995-2005 states there will be a steady advance to UAV technology, with integration of multispectral sensor technologies to increase target detection, identification, and acquisition. (6) This means Marine Corps intelligence and operations planners must exercise greater coordination to better utilize the enhanced potential. Moreover, as Near Real Time (NRT), sensor-to-shooter capability increases, the demand and necessity to deliver information directly to the tactical commander grows. The Marine Corps must build-in, up front, the requirement for the requisite downlink modules, communications equipment, and band width.

--Manning, training, and budgetary restraints compel Marine Corps leadership to make hard choices regarding billets filled, training conducted, and dollars allocated for special projects or capabilities. Unfortunately, the Marine Corps already is years behind the other Services regarding organic collection capability, funding for additional RSTA sensors, and trained collection management personnel. The Marine Corps must relook priorities in this arena, making a firm commitment to plus-up organic RSTA capability, and increase connectivity to and interoperability with other Service and theater/national sensors. At a minimum, this should include developing a core of Collection Managers within the Marine Corps, and participation in formal CM training programs such as the excellent Army courses conducted at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. (7)

Noting these shortcomings, standard MAGTF collection management operating procedures have reached overload and are inadequate to rapidly, judiciously, and safely synchronize the employment of finite, high-value RSTA assets within the operational sequence. New doctrinal procedures for the control, management, and integration of RSTA assets within the MAGTF intelligence and operational cycles are required. Vital to any implementation of doctrinal changes is commander and operator awareness that the proposal is sound, corrects a defined problem and contributes to more efficient mission accomplishment.

No matter how superb the informal working relationship is among the MEF Command Element staff, the burgeoning complexities in RSTA and collection synchronization mandate adoption of a new doctrinal approach. The significant developments outlined in the preceding section highlight changes in the way the national community approaches RSTA challenges, and the glaring requirement for the Marine Corps to get in step with changes in collection asset acquisition, management, and employment. There are specific areas within the MAGTF intelligence and operations cycles that are impacted directly by the "RSTA revolution." These are the areas that must receive optimum attention and focus.

MAGTF Target Areas

Communications and Intelligence Systems Architecture. The communications architecture required to support intelligence operations (collection, reporting, processing, and dissemination) has expanded greatly. New intelligence work stations/systems and communications capabilities have increased access to varied RSTA assets; but these advances also have increased requirements for interoperability and connectivity. Often, doctrinal nets are overloaded as multiple users share finite circuits. Hasty work-arounds are implemented to achieve connectivity during peacetime operations that may not be feasible under combat operations. More than ever, the G6 and G2 must combine efforts during development of the Intelligence Systems Architecture to ensure high value, perishable information is received in the appropriate form, by the appropriate user, in a timely fashion. Knowing the unique communications requirements of attached and supporting RSTA platforms is critical to ensuring compatibility and interoperability. Timely, multiparty dissemination of various forms of information and intelligence over redundant communications paths requires updating our intelligence systems architecture. Hard choices regarding finite satellite channel access, band width, and communications assets (radios, receivers, mobile ground stations, remote receive terminals) are a commander's responsibility and will reflect his concept of operations, focus of main effort, and vision for success.

Asset Allocation and Management. Top down planning must determine the allocation of high-value, finite RSTA assets. A unity of effort at the MEF level is required for responsible, judicious asset management. This must not be solely a G2 responsibility; rather, Commander's intent/guidance, coupled with future operations planning, must frame the process, and the intelligence and operations planners must share responsibility for synchronization. The complexities and simultaneity of RSTA operations demand coordinated management to ensure successful, productive results for the command.

Sound management covers both planning and execution phases. Rapidly unfolding events in the battlespace requires decision making to keep pace if a commander hopes to stay ahead of the enemy's observation, orientation, decision and action cycles. For example, a responsive, flexible decision making capability is vital when weighing the consequences of diverting a RSTA asset from a pre-assigned mission for support of immediate target exploitation. This should not be an issue of operations over intelligence; rather, a case of maximizing assets to accomplish the end state. Given the scarcity and high value of RSTA assets, it is the commander's responsibility to determine risk vs gain for their employment, based on his vision for success.

Asset Integration in Operational Cycles. Attached and/or supporting RSTA platforms must be integrated completely into the intelligence and operations cycles, with cognizant staff sections conducting requisite planning for each asset. For example, it is virtually impossible for the G2 CMO to involve himself intimately in the intricacies of air space management inherent in operational planning for an aerial RSTA asset while still trying to orchestrate a redundant, multisource MEF collection plan. Consider what is required to integrate an attached P3-C detachment into the intelligence-operations cycles. The MEF commander, his staff, and the MSCs receive an operational briefing from the P3 squadron to learn the capabilities and limitations of the platform, and brainstorm ways to best integrate the RSTA asset into the intelligence and operations cycles. Once a feasible concept is conceived, coordinating planned P3-C operations with the MEF's battle space activities begins. Integration of the P3-C demands full participation of the G3 Air Officer from the moment a request through channels for asset support is formulated. The G3 Air Officer must ensure that P3 pilots and crews are integrated into the operations planning and attend requisite briefings. Optimumly, a liaison officer is exchanged or identified early on. The G3 Air Officer conducts requisite planning/training ensuring P3-C crew familiarization with: the MAGTF air command, control, and tasking system; frequencies, call signs, air space restrictions, and control measures. All aviation matters--fuel, refueling, bed down sites, supply and maintenance--are planned and managed by the G3 Air Officer and the P3 LNO. The G6 and G2 Systems Officers work closely with the P3 intelligence and communications representative to determine unique communication requirements and plan for required nets, satellite channel, and encryption requirements; establish connectivity at appropriate sites and ensure system compatibility; and identify any additional MEF support required for successful P3-C integrated operations. The G2 Operations Officer, the CMO, Systems Officer, and G6 determine time sensitive dissemination requirements for the P3-C's NRT information, as well as dissemination paths for fused intelligence derived from P3 collection efforts. The G2 apprises the P3 crew of unique USMC intelligence collection and reporting requirements and procedures, provides intelligence briefs on the Area of Responsibility and Interest (AOR), (AOI), and tasks the ACE G2 with the conduct of P3-C pilot debriefs. (8)

The G2 CMO and SRIG coordinate requirements for imagery interpretation support, and determine any requirement for photographic lab or tape dubbing facilities/equipment. Physical security for the air platform and or crew may be an issue. Depending where the platform stages from (a benign, low or high threat site), the G2 may need to coordinate with other MAGTF agencies to establish a security plan for the platform/crew. (9)

Obviously, planning for just this one resource involved every MEF staff section, the SRIG, and MSCs to be supported. Only MEF level coordination of all the cycles ensured successful synchronization of the RSTA resource within MAGTF operations.

OPSEC, OPDEC, and Targeting Synchronization. Once a RSTA collection plan is drafted, the G2 CMO must ensure it supports the commander's planning guidance, answers critical information requirements, and supports current and future operational requirements. This balancing act requires constant coordination, prioritization, and deconfliction of collection, targeting, security, and other operations plans. Assets pivotal for collection on one area of interest may be equally critical for target acquisition or I&W in another area. Alternatively, use of a RSTA asset directed against a specific collection area could adversely affect MEF operational security (OPSEC) or operational deception (OPDEC) plans. Players must have situational awareness, and coordinate daily RSTA scheduling to ensure maximum targeting value is derived from assets; and that assets are considered to support a deception operation or assist in OPSEC.

The Dangers of Staying Our Present Course

The "new wave" RSTA assets offer a tantalizing potential to the MAGTF commander. However, their effective employment demands comprehensive MEF staff coordination. Mission planning and execution considerations must be coordinated, lest any one pivotal criteria is overlooked. In the past, the G2 CMO, the SARC OIC, the SRIG S3, individual SRIG units, and/or the MEF G3 attempted to coordinate the complexities and intricacies of RSTA operations in an ADHOC, "good faith" manner. For various reasons, planning sometimes is conducted in a vacuum or haphazardly. Key players may be left uninformed or only have pieces of the RSTA strategy. This ultimately degrades mission execution. For example, improper coordination could result in:

--No helo support arranged for extraction of a force reconnaissance team;

--No satellite communication channel allocated/available for a Special Operations Force (SOF) team;

--No Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) plan developed, no extraction plan coordinated;

--Air space deconfliction not conducted;

--Restricted Fire Areas (RFA) or Reconnaissance Operating Areas (ROA) not disseminated to appropriate command and control activities;

--Unclear mission assignment or collection direction provided to RSTA assets;

--Insufficient band width or connectivity planned for delivery of information to an MSC.

If current MEF collection planning and procedures do not adjust to meet the challenge, the Marine Corps risks falling further behind other Services in developing doctrine, systems, and capabilities to exploit new wave RSTA potential. Intelligence, operations, and communications officers must be conditioned to synchronize comprehensive RSTA collection planning. This ensures maximizing the commander's resources for unity of effort in mission accomplishment; provides timely dissemination of finished intelligence to the MAGTF, and allows perishable information to reach the MSCs in NRT.



Doctrinal Change

After consideration of RSTA developments from the national to the tactical level, and having reviewed standing MEF collection management procedures, it is evident a doctrinal change is required for the MEF's approach to RSTA collection planning. A new doctrine must embed RSTA collection management within intelligence and operations cycles. The proposed venue for accomplishing this is through institutionalizing a MEF-level oversight, planning, and management board--the Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition Board or RSTAB. This standing board should be comprised primarily of key staff members from the MEF Command Element. This dual-hatting alleviates any requirement for additional staffing, and imposes no extra layer of command and control.

Before considering the formation of a steering committee within a staff, are there any existing structures on which to build? Two frameworks, used predominantly in joint operations, exist: the Joint Reconnaissance Center (JRC) and the Daily Aerial Reconnaissance and Surveillance (DARS) Meeting. The RSTAB would combine the purpose and activities of both--joining the operations of the JRC with the collection management of the DARS--within a MEF level board. In both the short and long term, this better prepares MAGTFs for joint, combined RSTA coordination and management. Of overarching importance, the formation of a MEF level board that mirror-images joint board fosters a working comprehension by Marine commanders and staff with the intricacies of joint, combined RSTA collection process. In turn, they are better prepared to articulate and secure Marine targeting and collection requirements when faced with highly competitive brokering in a joint arena.

A brief overview of the JRC and DARS appears below. The RSTAB is presented as an attractive alternative at little cost but much gain to the command.

The Joint Reconnaissance Center. In a joint environment, the function of the Joint Reconnaissance Center (JRC) is to monitor the operational status of assigned or supporting RSTA assets, establish priorities to support current or new collection requirements, assign tasks to available RSTA systems, coordinate and deconflict RSTA missions with other operations within the AOR, assess the mission risk versus intelligence gain, and monitor ongoing operations. (10) In essence, the JRC is the brain center for theater RSTA management. A JRC concept has not been implemented at a MEF level; rather, the G3, SARC, and G2/CMO have fulfilled its functions adhoc. However, the typical JRC activities are precisely those requiring Commander's direction to achieve unity of effort in the intelligence and operations cycles.

Another coordinating body for RSTA operations in the joint environment is the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC), appointed by the Joint Force Commander (JFC). The JFACC'S responsibilities normally include:

...planning, coordinating, allocating and tasking of apportioned airborne RSTA

assets made available, based on the JFC's apportionment decision. Following

the JFC's guidance, and in coordination with other Service Component Commanders, the JFACC recommends to the JFC apportionment of air sorties....

For short-term arrangements, RSTA forces may also be attached to a subordinate command to which tactical control (TACON) authority is delegated. (11)

Marine commanders need to be sensitized to the JFACC role in RSTA management: one of the three types of sorties that a MAGTF commander is directed to make available to the JFC, for tasking through the JFACC, is long-range reconnaissance. (12) When the Advanced Tactical Aerial Reconnaissance System (ATARS) for the F-18, and the medium and long range UAVs enter the Marine Corps inventory, commanders must be cognizant of the organic RSTA capability they are providing to the JFC. So that a JFC's tasking for these high value sorties support--to some degree--MAGTF RSTA interests, Marine commanders and planners must understand the RSTA platforms' capabilities and limitations, be eloquent and persistent in their articulation of MAGTF RSTA requirements, and be prepared to demand additional JFC RSTA capability if organic support is depleted.

The Daily Aerial Reconnaissance and Surveillance Meeting (DARS). As implemented during DESERT STORM, this collection management group was the venue for prioritizing and coordinating joint collection and targeting requirements. The DARS meeting brought together collectors (platform experts) and collection management personnel on a daily basis to review the theater collection plan, assign Components' access to theater collection platforms, and prioritize collection for national collection systems. The meeting was scheduled after the daily Joint Target Board (JTB) so that RSTA prioritization would include the JTB's imagery nominations for prestrike validation, post strike BDA, and target development. The DARS's end state was to maximize RSTA assets to support operational requirements of the JFC and Components.

There were two drawbacks to the DARS. First, it generally concerned itself with theater and national-level RSTA assets. The fact that all Components had organic collection capability that could support the JTF was not fully exploited. To the credit of joint collection managers participating in such subsequent peacetime training exercises as the Air Force's Blue Flag series (a major air tasking and targeting evolution), the concept of the DARS has expanded since Operation DESERT STORM. Not only does an evolving DARS CONOPS validate and prioritize theater air breather collection and national overhead reconnaissance requirements, but the assembled CM group considers the collection operations and emphasis of each Component, to include SOF. In this manner, units operating in close proximity, knowing they have similar collection emphasis, can coordinate collection to maximize assets and benefit from each other's RSTA missions.

The second shortfall of the DESERT STORM era DARS meeting was that its major players were primarily intelligence personnel, with little participation from the operations side of the house. Most RSTA planning developed at the DARS's subsequently had to be coordinated and deconflicted with the J3 side. Better time management would have been achieved if the key J2 and J3 planners attended the same meeting and synchronized operations at that time.

Many intelligence personnel came away from the DESERT STORM DARS experience with a healthy respect for the value of embedding RSTA planning within the intelligence and operations cycles. However, as Marines who held this operational experience rotated to other billets or retired, many of the valuable lessons learned departed also. Thus it is MAGTFs now confront a brewing crisis regarding RSTA coordination and planning. To preserve and build on the best principles of RSTA oversight inherent within a JRC and DARS, the Marine Corps must institutionalize synchronized intelligence-operations management of RSTA assets.

In both garrison training and operational deployments, MEF G2s continue to expand on the DARS concept. However, Navy, Air Force, and Army operators often are better versed and attune to RSTA planning rigors than Marine commanders and operators. Whereas both collection managers and operators from other services acquiesce to RSTA planning, all too often Marine operators want to leave it in the G2's realm. (13)


The proposed MEF RSTAB would join and institutionalize the intelligence collection and targeting oversight embodied by the DARS and the operational mission planning inherent in the JRC. To replicate the planning cycles a MEF is likely to experience in a joint arena, a daily RSTAB meeting will be scheduled after the MEF Target Board (MTB) meets (Chapter IV details the process). The RSTAB (assuming DARS and JRC responsibilities) fulfills the purpose of a MAGTF-styled DARS meeting, and alleviates the need for a separate JRC-type structure at the MEF level. The RSTAB will reap immediate command and control benefits for the MAGTF commander. Through the Board, the Commander allocates judiciously limited resources to maximize RSTA support for mission success. Solely from a staffing view, institutionalizing the RSTAB will not be burdensome since the majority of all players (with the exception of LNOs and SRIG personnel) are resident on the MEF staff. Finally, by implementing a doctrinal approach to RSTA oversight within the MAGTF, Marine commanders prepare themselves for the complexities of RSTA mission management--via a JRC, DARS, and/or JFACC--in a joint or combined environment.

To ensure that the RSTAB has the right people, in one place, at the correct time for coordinating RSTA collection planning, the following board membership is essential (In the interest of personal time management, attendance guidelines are offered as notes below):
















(Note 6)


NOTE 1: Attendance of either the Target Information or Target Intelligence Officer is acceptable to field targeting issues.

NOTE 2: Either the Deputy G2 or G2 Operations Officer may attend, depending on which has the best situational awareness.

Note 3: The G2 Plans Officer augments G3 Future Operations during operational planning, and does most of his coordination prior to the board meeting with the CMO. Thus, his interests can be represented by the Deputy G3, Future Operations and/or the G2 CMO.

NOTE 4: The G2 Systems Officer and G6 Operations Officer conduct joint architecture planning; the one with the best grasp of intelligence-communications planning for RSTA operations should attend.

Note 5: Each supporting or attached RSTA asset must provide an LNO.

Note 6: CMOs and/or LNOs from each MSC and/or attached units are encouraged to attend.

RSTAB Membership

Deputy G3. The board will be chaired by the Deputy G3 to optimize integration of intelligence and operations. The Deputy G3 provides the punch behind RSTAB planning, coordination, and tasking. Importantly, key members of the RSTAB come from within the G3 (Air, Force Fires, Target Information, and Future Operations Officers). Specific direction and guidance from the Deputy G3 to the G3 staff will reduce significantly the time and effort other Board members spend coordinating intricate RSTA mission planning with various G3 sections. The Deputy G3 supervises MEF efforts to embed RSTA collection planning within the operations cycle.

SRIG Commander or the Intelligence Battalion Commander. Pending implementation of the Marine Corps' plan to reorganize the SRIG into the MEF Support Group, either the SRIG commander and/or his S3 (under the old SRIG concept), or the Intelligence Battalion Commander (under the new reorganization) will be a standing RSTAB member. Note, the Intelligence Battalion concept has merit; see Appendix B for a proposed mission statement and concept of command and control for the new Intelligence Battalion.

The majority of the MEF's organic RSTA collection assets reside within the SRIG. Moreover, either the SRIG S3 (old concept) or Intelligence Battalion CO (new concept) function as the OIC of the Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center (SARC). As such, he will be intimately involved with the capabilities, limitations, and operational status of organic collections assets. Additionally, LNOs for attached RSTA assets may also be located within the SARC. The Commander determines where attached RSTA platforms best support the MAGTF: in general support to the MAGTF--and located in either the Combat Operations Center, Combat Intelligence Center, or the SARC--or in direct support of an MSC. The SARC OIC represents his units {Force Reconnaissance Company, Imagery Interpretation Unit (IIU), Topographic Platoon, Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Company, and Sensor Control and Management Platoon (SCAMP)} at the RSTAB. Note, recent force structure changes have placed the UAV Company within the Aviation structure. However, Operational Control continues to reside with the MEF Commmander, exercised through the staff cognizance of the MEF G2. UAV Company personnel will still participate as part of the MEF-SRIG team. A UAV element will be fully integrated into MEF RSTA planning and operations, and continue to man the UAV downlink at the MEF SARC. (14)

G3 Air Officer. Many RSTA assets are either aerial platforms, or rely on air for insertion, extraction, and targeting operations. The G3 Air Officer must be actively, intimately involved in RSTA planning and implementation. As an example, he must coordinate MAGTF aviation planning efforts to ensure: RSTA flights are scheduled in a timely, coordinated fashion and appear on the ATO; air space restrictions are deconflicted; requisite CEOI documentation--frequencies, communications shifts, encryption guidance--is provided to RSTA crews/LNOs; air procedures are briefed to RSTA pilots and crews; and aviation-peculiar support measures (such as fueling, basing, and resupply issues) are coordinated fully. The G3 Air Officer's participation on the Board embeds RSTA planning within the Air Tasking and Operations cycles.

G3, Future Operations Officer. As a pivotal board player, the Future Operations Officer forces RSTA planners to balance collection requirements for both future and current operations. Future operations focus on possible course of friendly/enemy action/reaction, thereby driving future RSTA collection planning. The Future Operations Officer, working with the G2 Plans Officer, also coordinates and/or deconflicts Operational Security (OPSEC) and Operational Deception (OPDEC) operations with RSTA missions. His participation on the Board embeds RSTA planning within the Future Operations cycle.

Deputy Force Fires Coordination Officer, G3 . The Deputy Force Fires Coordination Officer brings additional operational and targeting depth to the RSTAB. During the meeting, the Force Fires Officer focuses on the scheduled RSTA collection effort for close and deep operations. He acquaints himself with RSTA assets that are on station throughout the day that could assist force fires planning and reactive targeting. The establishment and deconfliction of Restricted Fire Areas, Reconnaissance Operating Areas, and Protected Target Lists are other critical matters that require Force Fires coordination and that will be briefed to the Board. The participation of the FFC Officer on the RSTAB focuses members on the commander's priority of targets, and provides RSTA situational awareness to MAGTF target acquisition planning.

G3 Target Information Officer. This individual, in concert with the G2 Target Intelligence Officer, brings depth to the targeting acquisition facets of RSTA, and helps prioritize collection on target development, validation (pre-strike), and BDA. His continuous coordination with the G2 TIO guarantees timely, accurate intelligence will identify and satisfy fire support planning requirements. His participation on the Board embeds the targeting cycle within RSTA planning.

Deputy G2 or G2 Operations Officer. Either the Deputy G2 or G2 Operations Officer participates as the senior intelligence officer on the board, bringing situational awareness of all G2 operations to each meeting.

G2 Plans Officer. The G2 Plans Officer coordinates with G3 Future Operations, defining intelligence and collection requirements in support of future plans. This officer also works closely with the G2 CMO, ensuring operations past 72 hours are supported by RSTA collection operations.

G2 Collection Manager. The RSTAB is, after all, the proving ground for the CMO's collection strategy. To streamline RSTAB coordination, and limit the length of the daily RSTAB meeting, the CMO staff conducts continuous planning and coordination with the staff (as well as the G2 branch). The centerpiece of the RSTAB's daily agenda is review and coordination of the draft 72 hour RSTA Collection Operations Message. Based on the Commander's daily guidance and information requirements, this message assigns collection priorities and tasks for all organic and attached RSTA assets; identifies specific collectibles per mission; assigns exploitation/production responsibility; and details dissemination paths for collected information and finished intelligence. (15) From this message, Board members derive individual tasks, essential to mission accomplishment, they will coordinate. To ensure this draft collections marching order reflects synchronized intelligence and operations planning, the CMO must have continual situational awareness, and thoroughly understand the Commander's intent and CIRs. The CMO ensures the requirements of the MSCs and/or adjacent, attached units are tabled at the RSTAB, and that the MEF collection plan considers MSC Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIR) and collection gaps. The CMO identifies all gaps in the MEF RSTA collection capability and forwards requirements up the chain of command. Additional RSTA platforms, or the intelligence collected from a national asset that satisfies a MEF requirement, may be requested. The CMO works with the G2 Operations and Systems Officers to determine intelligence architecture requirements in support of RSTA strategy; ensure interoperability between RSTA platforms and MEF systems; and develop a dissemination plan to feed information RT or NRT to MSCs as required, and finished intelligence to the MAGTF. In conjunction with the SARC OIC and RSTA LNOs, the CMO maintains situational awareness of collection platform availability and capability. The CMO embeds collection planning within the operations cycle.

G2 Target Intelligence Officer. With the G3 Target Information Officer, the G2 Target Intelligence Officer performs target analysis and maintains a fusion cell for all-source BDA that includes integration of national-level collection/reporting. The G2 TIO helps determine what targeting products are required to support RSTA operations. His participation on the RSTAB provides an emphasis on target information collection planning.

The G2 Systems Officer. Without the coordination of the G2 Systems and G6 Operations Officers, RSTA planning can be squandered. These individuals examine connectivity, interoperability, and compatibility issues associated with employment of diverse RSTA assets. They coordinate on such matters as the feasibility of providing NRT feeds to an MSC or subordinate unit. They examine what communications path, data link, or system the MAGTF requires to receive certain data, collection products, and/or reports. Their participation on the RSTAB fosters continued awareness of RSTA communications-intelligence requirements, and embeds C4I within the operations cycles.

G6 Operations Officer. The G6 works closely with the G2 Systems Officer to ensure a robust, integrated, redundant Command, Control, Communications and Computers Plan supports the RSTA collection cycle. The G6 and G2 ensure appropriate coordination conducted during and after the meeting is reflected in the Communications-Electronics Operating Instructions (CEOI) and other communications planning; requisite band width, satellite channels, data links, secure LANs, etc. have been identified in support of RSTA employment; and any potential show stoppers have been flagged, with recommended alternatives or work-arounds tendered.

RSTA LNOs. The MEF CE requires a Liaison Officer for each attached or supporting RSTA asset. The LNO identifies his platform's operational requirements to MEF planners, and coordinates specific planning considerations (beddown sites, refueling requirements, maintenance issues, mission planning criteria, communications/intelligence architecture and processing requirements) with relavent MEF staff. As a RSTAB member, the LNO briefs planners on the capabilities and limitations of his platform to support a task.

MSC CMOs or LNOs. The MSCs submit their command requirements to the G2 daily via their Collection Emphasis Message. (16) However, their presence at the daily RSTAB meeting may clarify or refine their collection requirements and is to be encouraged. Obviously, there will be times when the distance between headquarters precludes their daily participation. Their participation on the Board embeds RSTA planning with the intelligence and operations cycles of the MSCs.

National Intelligence Support Team (NIST). When a NIST augments a MAGTF operation, a representative sits on the RSTAB. The NIST representative observes the MAGTF RSTA collection planning process, understands the Commander's focus of effort, and notes organic/attached collection potential. As the G2 CMO identifies collection gaps, the NIST representative briefs the Board on the availability and capability of national assets or collection/production efforts to support MAGTF RSTA planning. He also acquaints the Board with the national collection focus regarding the MAGTF operation, and indicates if other Service and theater collection priorities compete with or could support MAGTF requirements. His participation on the Board embeds situational awareness of the national collection

focus withing the MAGTF's RSTA planning process.

RSTAB: A Command and Control View

Organizing resources based on the task at hand is one of the functions of command and control. The RSTAB is ideally suited to support organizational theory (as defined in FMFRP 15-3) within the context of command and control. Likewise, although not always considered as such, organization is an important tool of command and control. (17) The RSTAB, as an "organization," becomes the commander's tool for managing RSTA resources. The Board brings together the specialized expertise of the MEF staff and LNOs to provide oversight and coordination of RSTA missions while fulfilling Commander's guidance. Through the RSTAB, the Commander establishes unity of command and unity of effort for RSTA planning and operations. The Board has no authority in its own right; any delegated authority to the Deputy G3 for day-to-day supervision and management comes from the Commander. The Commander retains responsibility for RSTA management, and is final arbitrator on the daily 72 hour RSTA Collection Operations Message.



A comprehensive schematic of RSTAG coordination and planning appears as Figure 4 (foldout). This section elaborates on that planning cycle.

During operations, the RSTAB must meet daily to support RSTA coordination and synchronization with all intelligence and operations cycles. The meeting should be scheduled sometime after the MEF Targeting Board (MTB) completes its daily planning, yet before the ATO cycle for the next 24-72 hours has progressed too far. Generally, the MTB meets sometime in the morning. An hour or so thereafter (allowing time for a break, coordination, and staff planning) would be the optimum scheduled time for the daily RSTAB meeting. Note, in a joint environment, the DARS meeting is scheduled soon after the JTB completes its meeting so that decisions reached therein can be passed to the DARS for collection planning. Similarly, MTB nominations for the next 24-72 hours must be incorporated in the RSTA collection cycle--along with nominations for such activities as intelligence collection, I&W, and/or deception operations.

The daily RSTAB meeting opens with an overview of RSTA results during the past 24 hours. A G2 analyst provides a brief overview of the current enemy situation; the G3 provides an overview of current and future operations. Updated CCIR and PIR are briefed to focus planners on Commander's intent and to focus the main collection effort. The G2 CMO briefs three RSTA planning cycles captured within the draft 72 hour RSTA Collections Operations Message: RSTA operations underway, those approved for 48 hours out, and those proposed for 72 hours out.

The CMO drafts the message prior to the meeting: this message serves as the stepping off point for the daily agenda.

As the CMO briefs ongoing RSTA operations for the 24 hour period underway, he notes any changes to the published message plan. Under the 72 hour planning cycle, these RSTA operations were briefed to the board two days earlier and now, fully coordinated and tasked, are in the execution phase. Next, the 48 hour RSTA collection plan is briefed--a plan approved as the 72 hour plan by the RSTAB one day earlier. Finally, the CMO presents the proposed RSTA plan for 72 hours out. This one incorporates the latest Commander's intent, information requirements, future operations, mission analysis, assumptions regarding potential enemy activity, operational requirements-- such as OPDEC--MSC collection focus, and results from previous collection.

RSTA Operations Under Way (24 hr). As the RSTA plan under execution is briefed for the day, any RSTAB member who has reason to request a change may do so. For example, the FFCC and MSC representatives request UAV's in direct support of the GCE based on indications of heavy vehicular movement into the AOR within 12 hours and the potential for enemy engagement. Or the G6 reports that satellite access is unavailable for the next six-10 hours and that alternative communications paths are being pursued for particular RSTA assets.

Two Day Plan (48 hr). After any adjustments to the 24 hour plan, the 48 hour plan is discussed (the 72 hour plan approved the day prior). Each member working to coordinate planning can indicate accomplishments, highlight problem areas regarding his part in mission planning. For example, a supporting P3-C is scheduled to fly a last-look, stand-off collection mission in support of a force reconnaissance team insertion at twilight. A review of operations for the 48 hour plan ensures that the P3-Cs are on the ATO, the weather is good, the insertion area/plan is the same; and dissemination to the Reconnaissance Operations Center (ROC) has been obtained.

Additional RSTA requirements for the P3-C mission may be tabled.

Three Day Plan. Finally, the CMO presents the 72 hour collection strategy, with a brief explanation of what factors drove the planning. At this stage, all RSTAB players have input, any changes can be discussed, routes redirected, targets reconsidered, insertion/extraction plans revisited, and risk vs gains considered for each collection operation.

One of the key selling point of the RSTAB is that all the right planners and operators are in one room at the same time, and coordinate such changes as ATO schedules, and revised ROA and RFA. Cognizant staff members get their marching orders directly, unequivocally, from the Commander, as passed by the RSTAB Chairman, the Deputy G3. Once the meeting adjourns, Board members disperse for further coordination: Force Fires and G3 Air make necessary adjustments to their plans and notify requisite personnel/units of any changes; the G6 can adjust the communications plan as required; and the SARC/Intelligence Battalion Commanding Officer briefs collection units/issues orders based on the final decisions of the

RSTAB. The CMO makes necessary changes to the RSTA collections operations messages before it goes to the Commander for final approval. Once approved, the MAGTF knows that unity of Command and unity of effort are tied to the RSTA planning and that coordination focused on sound resource management.

The purpose of the RSTAB meeting is not to conduct detailed, exhaustive mission

planning. Rather, members coordinate the broader issues such as examining the validity and necessity of missions; or coordinating and/or deconflicting RSTA operations with regard to OPSEC and OPDEC. Perhaps most importantly, the Board provides the unity of effort for intelligence and operations cycles supported by RSTA missions. As RSTA LNOs, SRIG representatives, and other Board members coordinate finite mission planning, the focus of effort from the RSTAB meeting permeates all layers of the MAGTF, and synchronization of operations and intelligence is more readily realized. (18)

RSTAB in Non-Deployed Environment

The RSTAB's role is equally important during garrison planning. In a pre-hostilities environment, Commander's guidance on OPLANS and CONPLANS generates intelligence requirements and operational planning within the MAGTF. The RSTAB's planning, and its analysis of operational and intelligence requirements, help define gaps in intelligence, and prioritize requirements to the CINC and national level for satisfaction. Thus, the requisite agencies and collection resources can be tasked to monitor, collect, and produce against validated MAGTF requirements.

A Commander must ensure that prioritized intelligence requirements are validated and tasked for collection/production in a timely fashion to the appropriate agency.

By tasking the RSTAB to develop Contingency Collection Problem Sets (CPS), the Commander generates an off-the-shelf collection package, validated at the national level, that can be "turned on" as required. These imagery target sets are keyed to operational planning and deployment (The set also can be collected on in peacetime to satisfy more limited planning needs). As a crisis erupts, the CPS can be activated, and full-fledged collection starts to run, based on prestated requirements. Thus, before organic collection capability can be deployed, the national level resources already are reacting to pre-registered requirements. The RSTAB, augmented with G4 and G5 planners, is the best conduit to develop standing MEF requirements that reflect coordinated operational needs.




The Commander must require that all RSTA and intelligence activities and assets are applied in time, space, and purpose to support the operations plan. This synchronization process occurs across the range of military operations to provide timely, accurate intelligence keyed to achieve operational objectives. This integration of intelligence and operations ensures the totality of effort against the enemy's center of gravity and critical vulnerabilities. (19)

Chapter II reviewed how MEF's historically have conducted collection planning and the pitfalls encountered. Now, availed of the RSTAB structure, the Marine Corps has the opportunity to revisit the process. Under the new philosophy, RSTA

management is the Commander's responsibility; he provides the top-down planning guidance and focus of effort for judicious management of the resources. He exercises his authority through the framework of the RSTAB that in turn sets in action the synchronization of intelligence and operations. This chapter focusses on the Commander's responsibility and the process required to embed RSTA planning within intelligence and operations cycles.

Command and Control

Technological improvements in mobility, range, lethality and information- gathering continue to compress time and space, necessitating higher operating tempos and creating a greater demand for information. Military forces move more quickly over greater distances...engaging the enemy at greater ranges... The consequence...is a fluid, rapidly changing military situation... The more quickly the situation changes, the greater the need for continuously updated information and the greater the strain on command and control. (20)

One of the three basic elements of command and control is information. (21) One form of information is intelligence about the enemy: getting it, judging the accuracy of it, processing it, and disseminating it to the MAGTF. Without information to provide the basis for his knowledge of the situation, the Commander cannot make sound decisions. Acquiring information and intelligence for his command is the Commander's responsibility. (22)

There is no better example of the criticality of RSTA to command and control that its role within the "OODA" Loop: the Commander's Observe, Orient, Decide, Action Loop.

OODA LOOP In the observation phase, a multi-discipline, multisource RSTA plan--based on IPB and coordinated to support all phases of an operation--ensures the Commander's observations will be timely and comprehensive. This also reduces the possibility of successful enemy deception operations.

After observing the situation, the Commander orients on it. In response, the Board fuses RSTA collection planning with all intelligence and operations efforts to provide the Commander analysis on the meaning and impact of observed enemy activity.

Once he has oriented on the situation, the Commander decides on a course of action based on his perception of collection efforts and intelligence analysis, and an assessment of the friendly situation and operation plan. The RSTAB coordinates missions that both support the friendly course of action and develop the enemy situation. Their RSTA plan ensures survivable, reliable, suitable, interoperable assets are synchronized to provide continuous, overlapping coverage on enemy activity of vital interest to the Commander.

Having decided on a plan, the Commander's executes his course of action, while RSTA operations monitor enemy reaction, and provide RT targeting acquisition and I&W. As the Commander observes RSTA collection efforts, the OODA loop cycle begins again.

The essence of the OODA Loop is the overarching importance of generating tempo in command and control. (23) Embedding multisource, multidiscipline RSTA collection planning within intelligence and operations cycles helps generate the tempo a Commander needs.

How can the Commander use the RSTAB as a command and control facilitator? One goal of effective command and control is recognizing enemy intent, capability, and critical vulnerabilities. The Commander has the best chance of achieving this goal through judicious management and tasking of all available RSTA resources. Effective RSTA employment serves as a combat multiplier, optimizing friendly strengths, exploiting enemy weaknesses, and countering enemy strengths. Commander's direction of the RSTA collection process provides requisite vision "to create vigorous and harmonious action among the various elements of the force." (24) Focus of Effort. The Commander's responsibility for RSTA management provides focus of effort to the MAGTF. Viewing his array of resources, the Commander concentrates RSTA assets where they best support the mission at a given time. Within Commander's guidance lies his image of the battlespace, his vision for success. This direction guides the RSTAB's efforts to concentrate, prioritize, and coordinate RSTA missions.

The RSTA Objective

Intelligence is the basis of operations. It underpins effective planning. Assembling an accurate picture of the battlespace requires centralized direction, simultaneous action at all levels of command, and timely distribution of information throughout the command.

The primary objective of RSTA operations is to support military operations across the operational continuum. RSTA operations are performed not only by forces with primary RSTA missions, but other resources with either collateral missions or the capability to perform such. (25) RSTA resources include units in contact with the adversary, patrols, air defense elements, intelligence units, reconnaissance units, and attached liaison officers. Whether planning for aerial reconnaissance, sea surveillance, or ground reconnaissance, the availability and capabilities of RSTA resources are critical to the success of military operations. Commanders must be aware of each asset's characteristics and thoroughly weigh risk to platform against value of information obtained. (26)

The RSTAB Contribution

Carefully coordinated RSTA missions provide the necessary information to develop plans and operations. As the Commander's RSTA resources manager, the Board ensures:

--Commander's guidance and intent are reflected in the RSTA plan;

--Unity of effort throughout the MAGTF in planning/executing RSTA missions;

--Maximum, responsible use of supporting, attached, and organic RSTA capability;

--Risk vs gain factored into asset employment;

--Coordination with OPSEC/OPDEC/Electronic Attack (EA) planning;

--Synchronization with air, targeting, intelligence, and future operations cycles.

Planning and Employment. RSTA operations provide Commanders with the current information necessary for planning operations, including contingencies.

When planning RSTA missions, the Board seeks the necessary information to assess enemy strengths and activity, defensive and offensive capabilities, and other factors affecting plans and operations. The same missions that provide this information can deliver I&W of a threat or impending attack in sufficient time for an appropriate response. Board members are involved in adaptive real-time planning for current operations as well as initial planning.

Operational Support. RSTA operational-level support includes:

--Monitoring centers of gravity and enemy OOB against which the Commander must concentrate his operations.

--Collecting information on enemy offensive and defensive system capabilities, locations, and other data bases.

--Collecting information on the conduct of combat or support operations. (27)

Tactical Support. RSTA tactical support provides the detailed information (terrain, enemy disposition, OOB, movement, offensive and defensive capabilities) a maneuver commander needs to plan for employment of forces. This support includes providing tactical forces with target detection and acquisition, and RT/NRT intelligence on enemy activity and intent. (28)

RSTA--Embedded within Intelligence and Operations Planning

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. (29) This is only achieved through synchronizing the RSTA collection cycle with intelligence and operations cycles.

The RSTA Collection Process. The RSTA collection process comprises:

--Direction: Commander's Intent and Guidance

--RSTA Collection Planning

--Execution of Collection Operations

--Processing, Evaluating Information; Analysis, Production


--Review and Revalidation of Results and Requirements

Direction. The RSTA collection cycle supports the Commander as he formulates his estimate of the situation, a concept of operations, and the operation plan. During the staff planning process, the Commander conveys his intent and information requirements to the Board. Through IPB--the underpinning for collection and RSTA operations--the G2 forms a basis for determining possible enemy courses of action, intent, capabilities, and critical vulnerabilities. Working with the Board, the CMO validates and prioritizes collection and intelligence requirements, and focuses the RSTA collection effort in support of the Commander's objectives. Here, it is absolutely crucial that the RSTAB understand the Commander's combat intelligence requirements and his vision for success. For example, the G3 Board members focus on how RSTA missions can best support friendly operations as well as develop information on the enemy situation; the G2 CMO identifies organic RSTA capabilities and gaps, accesses theater and/or national systems to cover shortfalls, and to provide redundancy and verification; and the G6 insures a robust intelligence-systems architecture can support receipt and delivery of RSTA information. (30)

Once hostilities begin, the commander continues to provide the direction and guidance that drive requirements, focus prioritization, and determine allocation of scarce assets.

A key to successful direction and execution of RSTA operations is unity of effort. The Commander establishes command relationships for all assigned forces, including RSTA resources. SRIG intelligence assets normally are in general support of the MAGTF. The commander may determine a particular asset is better used in direct support of an MSC for a given mission, and instruct the RSTAB to effect the requisite planning.

Subordinate commanders employ organic intelligence capabilities to support their assigned missions. However, should the MEF Commander decide an MSC's organic intelligence assets could also support another unit, he may elect to task one MSC to provide intelligence support to another. (31)

Planning. RSTAB planning never stops, extending throughout the 72 hour planning cycle. Synthesizing Commander's objectives and guidance, enemy threat, friendly force capabilities, and system availability challenges the Board. Only thorough analysis and effective coordination among all members ensures RSTA mission support will achieve the Commander's end state. As intelligence requirements are pitted against collection capabilities, factors such as risk to RSTA assets, timeliness of response, availability and suitability of assets, impacts of terrain, and sensor capabilities affect the Board's selection and employment of resources. While everyone preaches about timely and accurate information, the Board must consider a broader range of factors. Before ever planning a RSTA mission, the RSTAB first coordinates the assets' deployment, and determines all requisite operational support requirements. Survivability must be assessed for the entire RSTA system--the platforms, sensors, communications and data links, ground stations, processing facilities, personnel, operators, etc. Not only are many RSTA assets vulnerable, they are also scarce; careful mission planning, and intelligent tasking are the primary ways of ensuring their survivability. (32) The RSTAB also considers other operational parameters of available RSTA assets--range, endurance, and their collection, processing and dissemination capabilities.

When developing the RSTA collection plan, the Board will combine multisource, multisensor assets to provide accurate, reliable data, and ensure overlapping coverage and verification of information. System tasking must be based on an asset's capability and suitability within the context of the overall plan. For example, several assets may be able to collect against one target, but only one RSTA asset has the unique capability to collect against a second target. Good planning ensures the unique platform is allocated against the second target. Suitability also applies to the format of processed intelligence. The format and content must be what the MSC needs/requested for mission accomplishment. Of overarching importance is how the information will be received, processed, integrated, and disseminated. (33)

The RSTAB's G6 and G2 planners consider the interoperability, reliability, and robustness of sensors, data links, ADP, and C4I systems. Proper planning is crucial to the responsiveness, survivability, and overall combat effectiveness of RSTA systems.

Throughout the planning phase, RSTA strategy must be closely coordinated with Future Operations. For example, RSTA activities and communications must be so structured as to not reveal indications of the primary mission to the enemy (OPSEC).

Along with OPSEC considerations are Operational Deception (OPDEC) concerns; and RSTA missions have great potential to support OPDEC planning. For example, RSTA resources may identify and locate enemy targets ripe for OPDEC. RSTA operations may monitor enemy activity or reaction to friendly deception. Finally, RSTA missions may be part of the Commander's deception plan: RSTA activity in the deception area may deceive the enemy as to actual friendly intent. (34)

If theater and national RSTA systems are required, the Commander must remember these assets are controlled by the national intelligence community. The results from a tasked national level collection effort is received at the MAGTF via organic Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities Program (TENCAP) systems. In the Marine Corps, IMINT and SIGINT TENCAP allow receipt of imagery, raw data, and processed reports. Timeliness varies, depending on the intelligence discipline and competing national priorities. Also, the security of these systems and their sources may require sanitization of the information before it can be made available to an MSC. By establishing standing collection requirements for contingencies, as well as making optimum use of the RSTA 72 hour planning cycle, the Commander can provide theater and national collection/production agencies and assets with advance notice of MAGTF intelligence requirements.

Collection Operations. This step of the cycle includes the actual physical execution of RSTA missions, and the RT, NRT, and/or timely receipt of collected information at processing and production sites. This requires close coordination between operators, collectors, G2 Systems and G6 planners, and the CMO. As directed earlier through the RSTAB, collectors and planners had minutely planned the employment of RSTA systems to best satisfy operational maneuver and collection requirements. Often, multisensor platforms/assets will be operating simultaneously to provide overlapping, verifying target coverage. Targeting and Force Fires Officers in particular are cognizant of the cuing potential this presents--for both target acquisition and development. The Current Operations Officer and the MSCs must maintain situational awareness of RSTA operations underway. Here, the intelligence-communications architecture planned earlier proves pivotal, as RT receipt of information at the tactical level becomes critical to I&W, maneuver potential, and target acquisition.

As information from a RT RSTA mission feeds into the MAGTF, the RSTAB briefs the Commander on collection opportunity and countermeasure tradeoffs. The Board identifies and compares the longer term value of continued intelligence collection against enemy elements with the immediate tactical value of destroying or countering (EA) it. For example, having identified a division headquarters, should it be immediately destroyed or, rather, subjected to continuing collection and exploitation by SIGINT and HUMINT. The G2 Target Intelligence Officer and his G3 counterpart monitor collection results against such targets, feed it back to the RSTAB, and assist in determining whether a target should be nominated for attack. The G2/G3 Targeting Officers may recommend a "no strike" or protected list of targets for the Commander's approval. (35)

A recent joint warfare article aptly stated, "The need to identify, target, and attack in near real-time is now a fact of life." (36) Parallel targeting and collection are essential to economy of effort, and are essential tasks coordinated by the RSTAB.

Targeting plays a key role in the Commander's decision to employ forces. RSTA collection readily supports all phases of the targeting cycle. For example, a RSTA mission may detect potential targets, note unusual or undetermined activity, and capture significant changes occurring at existing targets. The G3 Target Information Officer and the G2 Target Intelligence Officer closely, continuously monitor "on station" RSTA missions, prepared to exploit targeting opportunities. (37) Collection redundancy by RSTA assets may be necessary to identify and verify targets under development. Cuing from one RSTA asset to another also can further identify a target. If a target is selected for destruction, RSTA assets may be tasked to determine enemy reaction to the attack or provide BDA on an target struck by MAGTF fires. The Targeting Officers then provide follow-up recommendations to the Commander.

Processing and production. Either while a mission is underway, or after the RSTA resource has returned to its operating base (be it land, air, or sea based), receipt of collected information is a constant concern of the Board. Some RSTA assets posses onboard data processing capabilities, which allows collected data to be processed into raw intelligence (though further processing may be necessary to produce finished intelligence). JSTARS is a good example. It can process the data it obtains either onboard and data link to the requester, or data link raw data directly to specific ground stations where processing is completed. In either case, the information can be sent directly to a user with the requisite receive station at his location. The results from the Board's earlier efforts to develop a robust intelligence- systems architecture are evident now. Properly planned, NRT and RT information is feeding into the correct user, in the right form, in a timely fashion.

Many systems do not deliver NRT information. However, retrieving their information rapidly--to either deliver it to a user in unfinished form, or to let the All Source Fusion sensor combine it with multisource intelligence--is a key step in the RSTA cycle. The Board has already planned for timely receipt and dissemination (either courier, computer, message, etc.) of this information. The goal is to ensure

that timely retrieval allows the data to be further analyzed, processed, and incorporated with other intelligence disciplines to present a complete picture of the battlespace to MAGTF forces.

Dissemination. Technological advances have enhanced dissemination potential for the MAGTF. As discussed, some RSTA assets disseminate collected information to consumers in RT or NRT. This is especially critical for those RSTA operations supporting battlefield activities in which the situation may be evolving rapidly and perishable information could lose its usefulness within a matter of minutes. Real-time planning and targeting systems depend on these RSTA capabilities of interoperability and connectivity.

The dissemination process requires continuous management. Collection is irrelevant if CM do not ensure requested information and intelligence gets down to the consumer. G2 and G6 Officers develop the dissemination network with the Commander's and the MSC requirements foremost in their minds. Robust, redundant networks are the goal.

There are myriad ways intelligence can be disseminated throughout the MAGTF: tactical data systems, radio circuits, radio and satellite broadcasts, personal courier, digital and analog media (magnetic tape and optical disks), video-teleconference, telephones, FAX, messages, remote terminal access to computer data bases and direct data transfers. However, an intelligence dissemination architecture must factor in the consumer's ability to receive secure or nonsecure information; whether there are dedicated or common-user communications available; or if raw or finished intelligence will serve the consumer's needs. The diversity of forms and dissemination paths reinforces the need for interoperability among C4I systems; the Board must consider all available conduits to maximize the dissemination of collection results. (38)

Revalidation of Requirements. As information is received, processed and analyzed, the RSTAB checks to see if collection, targeting, and other operational requirements are being met. The cycle is not complete until the Collection Requirements Management Officer reviews the information and/or intelligence product, ensures that it has been received by the requesting consumer, and, importantly, verifies that the consumer feels the requirement has been met.

Commander's guidance will refocus requirements on a daily basis. The daily RSTAB meeting in his prime venue for ensuring unity and focus of effort for RSTA missions.



The emerging body of RSTA resources brings a powerful contribution to battlespace domination. With multi-dimensional RSTA operations occurring simultaneously within the battle space--keyed to support a range of users while contributing to varied battle space activities--it is no longer desirable to relegate RSTA management solely to the realm of intelligence. The command and control of finite, high value RSTA resources is the Commander's responsibility, one demanding top-down planning and unity of effort throughout the MAGTF to achieve a synchronized intelligence-operations approach to RSTA planning.

Past efforts by the G2 CMO, SARC OIC, SRIG S3, individual SRIG units, and/or the MEF G3 to coordinate the complexities and intricacies of RSTA operations in an ADHOC, "good faith" manner often proved inadequate. Collection managers have failed to integrate fully target acquisition within the collection process; multi-asset resources have not been used to their maximum potential, to the detriment of mission accomplishment. Yet the rapid pace of modern, joint operations dictates synchronous targeting and collection cycles with near real time (NRT) capability; and targeting data linked to planners and shooters, delivered in usable form, when required, NRT.

MEF Collection Management (CM) procedures (described in Chapter I) worked fairly well when the G2 CMO dealt solely with organic SRIG assets. However, over the past few years numerous developments at the national level, major changes in the role assumed by the MEF Command Element during operations, and technological advancements that increase RSTA accessibility at the MAGTF level have expanded significantly the charter for RSTA resource management. Moreover, as NRT, sensor-to-shooter capability increases, the demand and necessity to deliver information directly to the MSCs grows.

Standard MAGTF collection management operating procedures have reached overload and are inadequate to rapidly, judiciously, and safely synchronize the employment of finite, high-value RSTA assets within operations cycles. After consideration of RSTA developments from the national to the tactical level, and having reviewed standing MEF collection management procedures, it is evident a doctrinal change is required for the MEF's approach to RSTA collection planning. New doctrine must embed RSTA collection management within intelligence and operations cycles. The proposed venue for accomplishing this, the RSTAB, must be institutionalized within the Marine Corps. This standing board joins and institutionalizes the intelligence collection and targeting oversight embodied by the DARS structure, and the operational mission planning inherent in the JRC. In short, the RSTAB fulfills the purpose of a MAGTF-styled DARS meeting, alleviates the need for a separate JRC-type structure at the MEF level, and brings unity of effort and focus to RSTA planning in support of a Commander's domination of the battlespace.

In both the short and long term, implementing the MEF RSTAB structure better prepares MAGTFs for joint operations. Of overarching importance, the formation of a MEF Board that mirror-images joint boards with similar objectives imbues Marine commanders and staff with a working knowledge of intricacies associated with a joint, combined RSTA collection process. In turn, they are better prepared to articulate and secure Marine targeting and collection requirements when faced with highly competitive brokering in a joint arena.

Given that one of the three types of sorties a MAGTF commander makes available to the JFC is long-range reconnaissance, Marine Commanders must be sensitized to the JFACC role in RSTA management. When the Advanced Tactical Aerial

Reconnaissance System (ATARS) for the F-18, and the medium and long range UAVs enter the Marine Corps inventory, Marine Commanders and planners must understand the powerful RSTA potential of these resources to support battlespace activities. The Commander must be eloquent and persistent in his articulation of MAGTF RSTA requirements, and be prepared to demand additional JFC RSTA capability if organic support is depleted.

Vital to any implementation of doctrinal changes--particularly one that confronts intelligence and operations cycles--is Commander and operator awareness that the proposal is sound, corrects a defined problem, and contributes to more efficient mission accomplishment. Admittedly, the RSTAB is not a panacea for all that ails RSTA resource planning within the MAGTF today. However, at the MAGTF level, institutionalizing RSTAB is one big step a Commander can take that reaps tangible benefits rapidly.

To manage the coordination and tasking of RSTA missions supporting battlespace activities, the Marine Corps must embrace RSTAB as a cost-effective doctrinal approach. Under the Commander's direction, the Board's concerted efforts to plan, coordinate, and task RSTA resources will embed RSTA collection planning within the intelligence and operations cycles.

On a broader front, the Marine Corps must relook its priorities in this arena, making a firm commitment to enhance organic RSTA capability, and increase connectivity to, and interoperability with, other Service and theater/national sensors.


1 LtGen James R. Clapper, Jr., "Challenging Joint Military Intelligence," JFQ, (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, Spring 1994, no. 4), 94.

2 LtGen Clapper, 95.

3 Department of Defense, Joint Pub 2-0, Joint Doctrine for Intelligence Support to Operations, (Washington, DC: GPO, October 1993), II-4, II-6.

4 Under unique deployment circumstances, I MEF established a non-SCIF CIC, with the SARC located right next to the Collections and Targeting Officers. This was an optimum set-up for coordination and provided excellent situational awareness of RSTA assets. Unfortunately, given that the majority of SRIG personnel manning the SARC are not cleared for SCI, physical integration of the organic MEF SARC into the CIC generally will not occur. This must not preclude close coordination, and the SARC must be located in the closest possible proximity to the COC and CIC to ensure unity of RSTA efforts.

5 For example, P3-C's are scrambling to redefine their role in the Naval and Joint areas. They are eager to conduct joint training with the MAGTF, and have provided excellent opportunities for the MSCs to exercise with them. New stand-off NRT video capability, that downlinks into the UAV RRS, is an excellent example of the new wave RSTA potential.

6 Department of Defense, United States Marine Corps, Marine Corps Mid- Range Threat Estimate, 1995-2005, (Quantico, Va: Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, October 1994), 25-26.

7 The Marine Corps' Intelligence Road Map offers a step in the right direction. However, the Corps must take advantage of the wealth of Army Collection Management training--not just their basic intelligence training--if Marine CMOs ever hope to hold their own in a joint world.

8 For example, if attached or supporting P3s or RF-4s are based with Marine Air assets, then the MEF G2 tasks the ACE G2 to conduct mission debriefs and forward pertinent information to the MEF. If the P3s are based remote from the ACE, alternate debriefing procedures will be planned (e.g., debriefed by their squadron S2; data provided to MEF via available communications paths).

9 For example, during Operation RESTORE HOPE in Somalia, the EP3 crew launched from Djibouti. A classified storage and communications capability was available through proximity to the American Embassy. Additionally, since the crew did not deploy from CONUS with personal weapons, the UTF U-2 ensured that personnel weapons were checked out to each member from the UNITAF armory (I MEF armory in this case). The potential always existed that the aircraft could go down in transit to and from Somalia or in Somalia "bandit" country; it was imperative that the crew be prepared to deal with this. Note, these are the other type of coordination issues that fall under the rubric of RSTA planning.

10 Department of Defense, Joint Pub 3-55, Doctrine for Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition Support for Joint Operations (RSTA), (Washington, DC: GPO, April 1993), III-6, III-7.

11 IBID, III-3, III-4.

12 Department of Defense, Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF), (Washington, DC: GPO, August 1994), IV-6-7.

13 At the Air Force BLUE FLAG (BF) exercises held at Hurlbut Field, the DARs has evolved into a major evolution. The focus in not only on theater and national air breathers and overhead assets. Thanks to the persistence of the Marines, Component collection assets are also briefed to the gathering. Moreover, at the last BF I attended, a SOF representative even attended the DARS and provided a general overview of operations. During the meeting, the duty experts on the platforms briefed the committee on platform capabilities, limitations. Particularly welcome were the JSTARS players--effectively replicating their system so that Component players could use it in a sensor to shooter mode. The addition of SOF at the Blue Flag DARS was what the elusive SOF were up to. This information proved critical since on more than one occasion, MARCENT players had planned for force reconnaissance insertions that could have potentially comprised SOF. With the shared RSTA planning, the Marines were able to go through the CINC, and task SOF to take on our collection and reporting requirements in that particular area. This freed up one of the MEF commander's RSTA assets, allowing him to insert the team an another critical NAI.

14 The parameters of the UAV Company's move from SRIG to the ACE appear to be a matter of discussion to many. It is in the best interests of the MAGTF that any policies or doctrine reflect that the UAVs are ADCON to the Aircraft Wing, still OPCON to the MEF, and under staff cognizance of the MEF G2. Moreover, doctrine must ensure the UAV Company's continuing role within the SARC (or Intel Bn), and their participation in RSTA planning.

15 AS I MEF CMO, I developed an adaptive format for this message that was a combination of the US Army's Collection Emphasis Message, a Joint Tactical Air Request (JTAR), and free text to provide necessary guidance on mission, collection priorities, dissemination, etc. The message also included any changes to Force Reconnaissance team locations, additional ground sensor placement, and other changes to the MEF RSTA collection plan.

16 The MSCs forward a similar, though less detailed, message to the MEF daily, the Collection Emphasis Message. This is patterned after the US Army's Collection Emphasis Message and provides the MEF CMO with the MSC's focus of collection effort; identifies their collection requirements and gaps in collection capability; and provides the MEF with situational awareness of the MSC's organic collection assets.

17 Department of Defense, Fleet Marine Force, FMFRP 15-3, A Concept of Command and Control, (Quantico, Va: MCCDC, August 1994), 30.

18 Theoretically, this allows the Intelligence Battalion Commander to leave the meeting, tell his Force Reconnaissance Platoon leader that the mission as briefed has been accepted by the Board. Completing all final details with the MEF staff should meet no resistance since the RSTAB laid the groundwork for unity of effort and focus, and the Commander approved the plan.

19 Joint Pub 2-0, IV-4.

20 FMFRP 15-3, 21.

21 IBID, 16-20.

22 Joint Pub 2-0, IV-3, IV-4.

23 FMFRP 15-3, 23-25.

24 IBID, 18.

25 Joint Pub 3-55, I-1.

26 IBID, Appendix A.

27 IBID, I-2, I-3, I-4.

28 IBID, I-3.

29 IBID, I-1.

30 Joint Pub 2-0, IV-3, IV-4.

31 IBID, IV-6, IV-7.

32 Joint Pub 3-55, II-10, II-11, II-12.

33 IBID, II-10, II-11.

34 IBID, I-4.

35 Joint Pub 2-0, II-7.

36 Frederick R. Strain, "The New Joint Warfare," JFQ, (Washington, DC: NDU, Autumn 1993).

37 Clapper, 94.

38 Joint Pub 3-55, III-2, III-3.


By capturing an appreciation of the advanced technologies and capabilities inherent in today's weapon systems, the following scenario illustrates the dynamics of Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) level battlespace activities. To orchestrate these activities a fully functional, integrated intelligence and operational planning/controlling cell is required. The ability of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Command Element to integrate the various activities and functions of the ground combat, aviation combat, and combat service support elements--as well as the current and future battle--determines operational success. The scenario below highlights the importance of the MEF Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center (SARC) as well as the need for a planning/controlling activity such as the Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition Board (RSTAB).

The Divert

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), nearing completion of a pre-planned, optical intelligence mission (in general support of the MAGTF), is traveling along a designated flight path from its terminal loiter area, and nearing the portable control station (PCS) hand-over-control point. While not specified as a surveillance mission, the UAV's flight path overflies terrain which is unfamiliar to ground control station (GCS) personnel. As such, and in order to optimize their battlespace awareness, the UAV mission commander advises both the internal pilot and the payload operator--a captain/9910 and sergeant/0861 respectively--to monitor the real-time (RT) video imaging product provided by the UAV's day sensor device (a TV camera) and the GCS systems. Downlink telemetry reveals an open terrain composite, generally flat, with little elevation relief and sparse vegetation. Unexpectedly, the GCS video monitor displays the unmistakable dust signature of what appears to be a formation of armored vehicles moving at a high rate of speed. Upon detection, the UAV payload operator immediately signals the UAV via the primary up-link control (C-band) radio link, and changes the day sensor field of view profile from wide band to narrow band. Concurrently, the payload operator--a seasoned scout observer, NCO--also activates the day sensor's zoom lens. While this unexpected ground vehicle movement is occurring just slightly abeam the UAV's flight path, the immediate actions of the payload operator fails to achieve anything more that a tentative identification. Nonetheless, relying on an extensive forward observer background, the payload operator knows the UAV has detected a choice target of opportunity and thus advises both the UAV internal pilot and mission commander.

Recognizing that these suspected armored vehicles represent much more than a simple target of opportunity, but rather, a very real threat to ground units operating just a few kilometers away, the UAV mission commander inquires into the air vehicle's fuel status and, with acknowledgment that sufficient fuel is onboard, orders the internal pilot to immediately modify the UAV's flight path to allow continued surveillance of these suspected armored vehicles.

In order to gain a positive target identification, the UAV mission commander recognizes the need to loiter the UAV and that in doing so, the UAV will deviate from its pre-planned loiter areas/surveillance routes. Thus, the mission commander initially coordinates the UAV's revised positioning and altitude with both the Ground Combat Element (GCE) Direct Air Support Center (DASC) and GCE Fire Support Coordination Center (FSCC) and then advises the MEF SARC of the UAV's discovery.

The SARC watch officer acknowledges the message and advises the UAV mission commander to continue as if an immediate tasking had been received. The SARC watch officer conducts the requisite advisory with G-3/G-2 agencies, and using one of the two remote receiving stations (RRS), monitors the identical real-time, video imaging product available to the GCS. The UAV's reprogrammed flight plan is no sooner coordinated with all concerned agencies and up-linked to the air vehicle when its first fly-by confirms what the payload operator suspected--this is a formation of four enemy armored vehicles traveling at high speed.

With positive identification established, the UAV mission commander, located at the GCS, provides the target description, location, direction of travel and estimated rate of march to both the MEF SARC and GCE FSCC. Additionally, based on the advice of the internal pilot, the UAV mission commander informs the SARC that the UAV has constrained loiter time, due to limited fuel, and recommends transfer of target observation responsibility to a manned, airborne platform.

The SARC watch officer informs the UAV mission commander that all concerned want the target immediately engaged and directs that the GCE DASC/FSCC be contacted in order to coordinate observation and attack responsibility. Surface observation is not 1possible due to the extended range, just as attack via surface means, i.e., artillery/ naval surface fires, is impossible for the same reason. This fleeting target, not yet in range of surface fires, requires an immediate air attack, or a target rich environment will be lost.

DASC and Tactical Air Operations Center (TAOC) coordination of two F/A-18s returning from a combat air patrol (CAP) mission is accomplished, and these aircraft are sortied-in to attack this target of opportunity. However, the inbound aircraft must traverse 150 kilometers, then acquire the fast moving vehicles prior to attacking.

Fortunately, a Tactical Air Coordinator (Airborne) (TAC(A)) aircraft is operating nearby and is diverted from its primary mission of coordinating close support to assist the attacking F/A-18s. While not a forward air controller (airborne) (FAC(A)), the TAC(A) is capable of acquiring the target and orienting the two F/A-18s.

Having confirmation that the TAC(A) has acquired the moving armored vehicles, the DASC informs the UAV mission commander that observation pass-off is completed. So ends the UAV's role in the acquisition and surveillance of this target. The two F/A-18s roll-in on the enemy formation, deliver their ordnance and the TAC(A) reports four armored vehicles destroyed.


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