Special Reconnaissance (SR) is defined as reconnaissance and surveillance actions conducted by Special Forces (SF) to obtain or verify, by visual observation or other collection methods, information concerning the capabilities, intentions, and activities of an actual or potential enemy or to secure data concerning the meteorologic, hydrographic, geographic, or demographic characteristics of a particular area. It includes target acquisition, area assessment, and poststrike reconnaissance.
Field manual (FM) 31-20-5 provides the doctrinal basis for the conduct of SR missions across the operational continuum. It is a continuation of the doctrinal education process that begins with Joint Publication 3-05.5 and FMs 100-25 and 31-20. This manual provides information and guidance to SF commanders, staffs, and operational personnel at battalion and lower echelons (Special Forces operational detachments [SFODs] C, B, and A) in their conduct of SR. It is a general guide and does not eliminate the requirement for well-written, practiced, and mission-essential task list (METL)-driven standing operating procedures (SOPs). It was written under the assumption that the user understands the basic fundamentals of reconnaissance and surveillance operations.
However, it expands on this basic information by providing a number of historical examples to highlight key points throughout the text as well as advanced tactics, techniques, procedures, and references to support future SF operations. Users of this FM should adapt its contents to meet the situation and knowledge and skill levels of the SFOD to be employed through the mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time available (METT-T) analysis system.The chapters provide general SR mission procedures and information. This information is ordered chronologically from receipt of the unit mission letter through postmission activities.
Examples of specific SR techniques and procedures are provided in the appendices. The order of the appendices follows the order they appear in the text. This organization permits the user of this FM to review the basics of SR mission performance from beginning to end without becoming embroiled in a mass of detail with which the user may be thoroughly familiar.For those users only interested in the details of specific techniques, the appendices provide reference material keyed to the generic activities in the text.
• Publication date: February 2, 2021
• Language: English
• Print length: 231 pages