U.S. Army Heavy Brigade Reconnaissance During Offensive Operations
U.S. Army Heavy Brigade Reconnaissance During Offensive Operations, by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas C. McCarthy, USA, 59 pages This study examined what U.S. Arq heavy brigades should accomplish when conducting reconnaissance during offensive operations, what they actually accomplish, and why there is a shortfall. Doctrinal litezature fromthe capstone "how ton manual FM 100-5, beretione through PM 17-98, Scout Platoon establishes what brigade reconuaissance should accomplish. The 1987 RAND
... the 1988 CALL studies, r?l!c take-home packages from 1991-1993, the 1993 Tait Group papers and other DESERT STORM documents identify the discrepancy between expectation and perf o-ce. The 1987 RAND study statistically correlated effective reconnaissance and successful offensive operations at the NTC. Reconnaissance during these operations was effective only 8 percent of the time. When reconnaissance was effective, offensive operations succeeded 70 percent of the t h e . The more assets the c -e r emiployed and the more time he gave the reconuaissance force to axecute its tasks, the greater its chances for success. The 1988 CALL studies concludedthat 25 percent of reconnaissance missions at the NTC were effective. Successful offensive operations followed effective reconnaissance greater than 80 percent of the time. These studies found that RhS plan timeliness and scout platoon survivability were directly proportional to IOCOPP(L~SS(I~~CSUCCeSS. The NTC trend from 1991 to 1993 reveals that the effective reconuaissance rate rcrmains at 25 percent, butthe correlation to successful offensive operations has risen to 90 percent. Cormnanders and staffs. es~eciallv S-2s. have Droblems in planning, &paring and supervising the &ecu&on o f reco&xaissa&e, partly ax~laininu why it is not more effective. Colllmanders sometimes create ad hoc reconnais;anc; organizations under their control to improve results, but they generally lack cohesion and are difficult to sustain. Deficiencies in doctrine, organization, equismat and training contribute to the problems brigadms have in-conducting effective reconnaissance. Doctrinal litmrature lacks detail, consistency, and realism. Task force scout platoons canuot use both aggressive and stealth reconnaissance techniques, see deep, and survive as currently organized and equipped. S-2 sections are too under-staffed in officers and soldiers to function efficiently. Institutional training for S-2s does not prepare them for the rigors of their job. Finally, heavy brigades do not train adequately at home station to produce cohesive and effective reconnaissance forces. Commanders and staffs realize there is a causal relationship between effective reconnaissance and successful offensive operations. Despite this awareness, NTC and DESERT STORM performance damonstrates weaknesses in heavy brigade reconnaissance which can be attributed in some degree to the preceding deficiencies in doctrine, organization, equipment; and training. In light of these deficiencies 0.8. A r q heavy brigades are today only marginally capable of conducting effective reconuaissance during offensive operations.