The joint force cannot fight and win if it is blind. In any future contingency, success rests on a few first principles: find the enemy, maintain contact, and determine his intent. Such imperatives spell out clear requirements that any reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) organization must meet to perform across the range of military operations.
As the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan developed and tactical headquarters became increasingly static, organic U.S. Army R&S assets were reinforced by national resources. In fact, the Army was fortunate and had first priority on many of the Nation’s strategic intelligence assets, such as those provided by the Defense Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, and National Reconnaissance Office. As long as the U.S. strategic focus remained on transnational terrorist threats, the Army could rely on these assets to fill most, if not all, of the gaps within its own R&S infrastructure. Moreover, Army investments in tactical R&S assets (for example, Shadow unmanned aerial systems or organic reconnaissance squadrons within Brigade Combat Teams [BCTs]) gave our tactical commanders— brigade level and below—unprecedented R&S capability.