Applying the National Training Center Experience

Tactical Reconnaissance

by Martin Goldsmith, James S. Hodges


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Many observers have noted shortcomings in tactical reconnaissance during battles at the National Training Center. This study systematically examines battle data from two sources: take-home packages prepared for unit remedial training, and field data specifically collected for the present study. The author finds a clear correlation between success in offensive missions and reconnaissance. However, data indicate that essential reconnaissance tasks are accomplished in only half the battles studied. Generally, units do not exploit all the assets potentially available for reconnaissance. Task forces do not seem to give emphasis to the reconnaissance task. Review of doctrinal literature and courses of instruction indicate that added emphasis needs to be placed on reconnaissance in the Army training system. The author makes specific recommendations for changes in doctrine and for additional instruction. He also suggests several equipment changes and additions, as well as courses of action for task force commanders and staffs.

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