About This File
Special reconnaissance (SR) is defined as reconnaissance and surveillance ac- tions conducted by Special Forces (SF) to obtain or verify, by visual observa- tion or other collection methods, information concerning the capabilities, intentions, and activities of an actual or potential enemy or to secure data con- cerning the meteorologic, hydrographic, geographic, or demographic charac- teristics 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).