1. Overview. This chapter focuses on the broad capabilities that RSTA assets must possess. No single system can stand alone to meet all the JFC's information needs; therefore, the types of data that may be needed will be addressed along with general characteristics of RSTA platforms and capabilities.

2. Types of Information

  1. Different types of information are required to support various types of military operations; for example, the needs of a fleet commander differ from those of an armored brigade commander. It is important to note that RSTA operations do not always collect intelligence; rather, they collect data that becomes intelligence after it is processed, evaluated, and integrated with other pieces of information and data (fused). The following is a list of intelligence source types through which RSTA operations gather data and information. This list reflects the variety of information that may be needed by or be available to the JFC.

      (1) Human resources intelligence (HUMINT).

      (2) Imagery intelligence (IMINT).

        (a) Electro-optical-infrared (EO-IR).
        (b) Photographic intelligence (PHOTINT).
        (c) Synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

      (3) Measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT).
        (a) Acoustic intelligence (ACINT).
        (b) Infrared intelligence (IRINT).
        (c) Optical intelligence (OPTINT).
        (d) Laser intelligence (LASINT).
        (e) Nuclear intelligence (NUCINT).
        (f) Unintentional radiation intelligence (RINT).
        (g) Radar intelligence (RADINT).

      (4) Signals intelligence (SIGINT).
        (a) Communications intelligence (COMINT).
        (b) Electronic intelligence (ELINT).
        (c) Foreign instrumentation signals intelligence (FISINT).

      (5) Counterintelligence (CI)

  2. Although there are many forms of intelligence, not all of them are of immediate use to commanders and their staffs in planning and conducting operations. For example, FISINT can provide important technical information on enemy systems supporting technical threat assessments and US weapon system acquisition activities; however, it usually has very limited utility in the near term for planning or conducting military operations. Comprehensive intelligence support to the JFC requires analysis and integration of multiple intelligence collection products in order to resolve ambiguities and provide the most accurate information. Sanitization may be necessary to protect sensitive sources and methods for information requiring broad dissemination. Timely support also requires that information be properly formatted for processing, display, and dissemination in a manner that makes efficient use of available communications resources and is in a form useful to the users.

  3. Although not an intelligence discipline, meteorologic and oceanographic information is required by the JFC to plan and conduct combat operations. RSTA assets can provide timely data to meteorological and oceanographic support forces that process the data into information for JFC use.

  4. Commanders also require mapping, charting, and geodesy (MC&G) support to conduct military operations. MC&G support is provided through the Defense Mapping Agency (DMA). Commanders identify prioritized MC&G product and component requirements to DMA for validation in accordance with CJCS MOP 31. DMA then requests RSTA support to update the areas of interest. DMA normally requests national-level RSTA support directly to national agencies.

  5. Counterintelligence is a discipline separate and distinct from foreign intelligence. Through the implementation of the four functions of CI, operations, investigations, collection, and analysis and production, CI can support the commander's RSTA capabilities. Joint Pub 2-03, "Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Counterintelligence Support," provides commanders information on the capabilities and responsibilities for CI support to the JFC and component commanders.

3. Collection Capabilities and Limitations

  1. RSTA forces and assets that may be used in support of the joint force encompass a broad range of capabilities and limitations to include:

      (1) Comprehensive collection systems with a narrow range of data.

      (2) Limited specific collection capability with a broad range of data.

      (3) Near-real-time (NRT) collection systems that cover limited geographical areas.

      (4) Limited response systems that cover large geographical areas.

    These assets provide the JFC the capability to obtain the information required to plan and conduct successful combat operations. The assets discussed here include aerial systems (manned and unmanned), subsurface systems, surface systems (ground and sea), space systems (military and nonmilitary), and national systems.

  2. Aerial systems are the primary source of RSTA assets for the JFC. All the Services possess and operate these systems, which have varying, but complimentary, capabilities, limitations, and operating characteristics.

  3. Subsurface systems vary greatly in size, complexity, and capability. These include sensors generally best suited for long-term surveillance of a specific and limited geographic region. Seismic detectors, for example, can indicate that enemy forces might be moving in an area, making further reconnaissance of the area useful. Submarines, on the other hand, are invaluable platforms for clandestine reconnaissance operations within waters peripheral to enemy territory.

  4. Surface platforms also vary greatly in size and complexity, with great differences between land-based and sea-based assets.

    (1) Land-based RSTA assets provide a diverse mix of capabilities that can range from a small force conducting a reconnaissance patrol, to dedicated SIGINT and electronic warfare units, to highly technical target acquisition radars. Such assets can be employed to support operations across the operational continuum and can obtain extremely diverse types of information. For example, a reconnaissance patrol can determine the extent and location of obstacles and defensive positions while also performing counterreconnaissance operations to deceive and deny friendly force disposition to the enemy.

    As with aerial platforms, there are advantages and disadvantages to land-based RSTA systems. The primary advantage is that they are generally organic to the tactical commander, allowing direct access to the required information. However, their range is usually limited by physical constraints or the military situation and the risk factor of personnel assigned will need to be taken into account.

    (2) Sea-based surface platforms have varying degrees of RSTA capability, including organic manned and unmanned aerial platforms. Part of this capability is required for defense of maritime forces, such as sonar and underwater acoustic surveillance of enemy submarines and surface ships and various radar for air and surface targets. Other capabilities, such as SIGINT-gathering assets, can support a broad range of military activities ranging from monitoring arms control treaty compliance to establishing enemy orders of battle and preparation of combat strike plans.

    Deployment aboard ships also provides sea-based RSTA assets with several advantages. Ships have greater power and load-carrying capabilities than do some other RSTA platforms, enabling them to carry heavier and bulkier equipment that may have greater information gathering and processing capabilities. Ships also possess the advantages of mobility and sustainability, enabling them to position and reposition RSTA assets. Access is relatively unrestricted because maritime areas of interest to RSTA are often close to international waters. Many classes of ships have organic air assets that can extend shipboard sensor horizons and provide valuable on-site reconnaissance. These qualities at times provide advantages over other RSTA assets.

    (3) Special operations forces (SOF) are valuable assets and should be considered for employment in joint RSTA operations. Special reconnaissance (SR) operations can be conducted when there is a need to obtain or verify information about enemy capabilities, intentions, and activities, or to gather data about meteorological, hydrographic, or geographic characteristics of an area not available using technical sensors. SR operations complement national and theater RSTA assets across the operational continuum to obtain specific, time-sensitive information of strategic and operational significance. SOF offer the availability of technically knowledgeable observers to verify critical information about targets or target complexes. These observers will use their human judgment to defeat enemy deception attempts and transmit a more complete picture of what is happening on the target.

  5. Space systems have become an integral part of the national military forces providing support across the operational continuum and at all levels of war. Space systems provide information allowing commanders to assess the situation, develop concepts of operations, and disseminate changes to their forces quickly. During Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, space systems provided a myriad of support functions. These include communications, navigation, surveillance, and environmental monitoring support functions. However, commanders must be aware of the advantages and limitations of these systems.

    The prime advantage of these systems as it pertains to RSTA is their ability to provide worldwide, quick-reaction coverage of areas of interest, especially those remote or hostile areas where little or no data can be obtained from conventional sources. Other advantages these RSTA system possess are their survivability and relative immunity to enemy action, the ability to place satellites into orbits that maximize their effectiveness, their mission longevity, and their ability to maneuver. Their limitations, especially to surveillance systems, include atmospheric and weather disturbances that effect most imagery systems. In addition, space systems schedules are predictable and are therefore vulnerable to deception practices and signature control activities such as emission control, camouflage, etc. The kinds of support provided by space systems are divided into military and nonmilitary space systems.

  6. National RSTA systems are controlled by the US Intelligence Community and provide direct support to the National Command Authorities (NCA). The information provided by these systems is used by senior government leaders to make strategic political or military decisions, and is also of great utility to combatant commanders. Information from national systems is provided to the JFC via Service component Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities Program (TENCAP) systems. Army corps, numbered Air Force, or numbered Navy fleet, or Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) receive raw data or processed reports, dependent upon the specific TENCAP equipment organic within the element. Dependent upon the specific intelligence discipline, timelines can be good--within seconds of collection. Other disciplines are inherently slow--hours to days from the request. Accuracy is system dependent. Additionally, the security of these systems and their sources may require sanitization of the information before it can be made available to the user. National RSTA systems provide invaluable intelligence, especially when local access by conventional RSTA systems is denied by range limitation, lack of air superiority, or political reasons. The JFC must develop specific requirements well in advance so the responses will be usable and timely. These systems should be considered when the JFC's organic RSTA assets cannot satisfy the intelligence requirements or to verify information using another collection source. The JFC has the ability to request specific support from these systems and should exercise the process during peacetime exercises.

4. Required Capabilities. Lessons learned from Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM demonstrated that the speed of modern warfare dictates that commanders receive timely and accurate information to support them in the decisionmaking process. Along with being timely and accurate, RSTA forces must be survivable, reliable, suitable, and interoperable (connectivity). To achieve these capabilities, they must be exercised during peacetime with the goal of being able to operate within the commander's operational planning cycle. RSTA forces require the following:

  1. Timeliness. Joint RSTA assets must be sufficiently responsive to meet the needs of the JFC at any point along the operational continuum and in any scenario. The commander should have RSTA assets available to provide information when and where needed. The responsiveness of the RSTA assets available to any commander must be looked at in aggregate and is driven by the missions that must be accomplished. The JFC must examine the range of required missions and ensure that appropriate and sufficient RSTA assets are obtained and positioned to meet C2 needs.

  2. Geolocation Accuracy. Geolocation accuracy is a crucial requirement for target acquisition, especially with the employment of precision-guided munitions. Reconnaissance and surveillance may not require pinpoint accuracy, but target acquisition requires a sensor suite that ultimately produces a target location or aim point suitable for attacking systems.

  3. Survivability. The same principles that the JFC must examine with timelines hold true for the survivability of RSTA capabilities. Survivability must be assessed for the entire RSTA system--collection platforms, sensors, communications and data links, ground stations, processing facilities, personnel and operators, etc. Not all systems, or nodes within a system, will have the same degree of survivability, nor is it necessary. Such an effort would be far too costly. RSTA systems should possess survivability of the aggregate functions, e.g., survivability of an ELINT collection or photographic reconnaissance capability. Survivability must be commensurate with the threats to which the RSTA assets will be exposed during the course of operations. These assets must be as survivable as the operational systems and forces they support. Not only are many RSTA assets vulnerable, they are also scarce, and commanders must consider how they would compensate for the loss of a RSTA capability should any specific asset or group of assets be destroyed or otherwise become unavailable. Besides careful mission planning, intelligent tasking, and effective employment tactics, redundancy and overlap of capability are perhaps the best ways of ensuring the survivability of specific RSTA capabilities and functions.

  4. Reliability. RSTA systems must be able to provide reliable information despite enemy deception measures such as camouflage and decoys. This may require the employment of other RSTA systems to verify information acquired by the previous systems. Operation DESERT STORM provided many examples of one RSTA system identifying a potential target or target set and cueing another system to verify the target. As an example, Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (STARS) was able to use its wide area radar search capability to identify potential SCUD missile sites and relay the information to an orbiting F-15E, which then used its radar to search the area and attack the target if verified as a SCUD site. The development and evaluation of RSTA systems should be integrated with the development and evaluation of potential enemy concealment and deception capabilities.

  5. Suitability. Suitability is an important consideration in planning the employment of collective RSTA assets. Tasking must be based on an asset's capability and on its suitability within the context of the overall plan. For example, several assets may be capable of collecting against a single target, although one or more of these have unique capabilities against a second target. Intelligence requirements may necessitate tasking these RSTA assets against the second target if other assets can maintain adequate coverage of the first target. Suitability also applies to the format of the processed intelligence. Both the information and format must be useful to the user. Intelligence analysts must avoid disseminating technical data that only other intelligence analysts would understand. A key objective of training exercises should be to determine new requirements for RSTA systems and countermeasures, as well as better ways to employ these complementary capabilities.

  6. Connectivity. Connectivity is a critical aspect of any RSTA system. Interoperability, commonality, reliability, and robustness of sensors, data links, supporting ADP, and C3I systems are crucial to the responsiveness, survivability, and overall combat effectiveness of an RSTA system. If the components of a RSTA system are dissimilar, or if connectivity among sensors, supporting systems, and supported systems and elements is too fragile to withstand the stress of combat, commanders will be deprived of important intelligence information essential to conducting combat operations. The RSTA network must be able to transmit accurate and timely information to those who must receive it when they need it. Connectivity depends on active management of the information flow. Tailoring information to the needs of the commander prevents critical intelligence from being delayed or lost in irrelevant data. Information on vital enemy targets acquired by RSTA assets becomes useless unless disseminated in a timely fashion to the forces tasked to attack and destroy the targets. Interoperability, commonality, and connectivity improve and unify RSTA capabilities and enhance execution planning. Interoperability and commonality also improve the overall capability of RSTA through cross-cuing, information enhancement, and analytical exchange to accurately portray the battlefield. The multidiscipline, multisource approach reduces the possibilities of being deceived by the enemy.

12-26-1996; 11:36:13