Infantry Drills

6-179: Security Elements

Previous: 6-177: Reconnaissance Elements

6-179. The security element has two tasks: provide early warning of approaching enemy; and provide support by fire to the reconnaissance elements if they come in contact with the enemy. The security element’s purpose is to protect the reconnaissance element, thereby allowing it to obtain the information requirement. Security elements tasked to provide early warning must be able to observe avenues of approach into and out of the objective area. If the reconnaissance element is compromised, the security element must be able to quickly support it. It does so by occupying positions enabling it to observe the objective as well as cover the reconnaissance element. Soldiers in these positions must be able to engage the enemy with direct and indirect fire. They also must be able to facilitate communication to higher as well as all supporting assets. This worst-case scenario must be well rehearsed and well thought out.

6-180. Regardless of how the R&S elements are organized, each element always
maintains responsibility for its own local security. In a small reconnaissance patrol, the patrol headquarters may form a part of one of the subordinate elements rather than being a separate element. The number and size of the various teams and elements must be determined through the leader’s METT-TC analysis. There are three ways to organize the R&S elements. (See figure 6-14.)

6-181. The first technique is to organize the reconnaissance elements separate from security elements. This technique is used when the security element is able to support the reconnaissance element from one location. This requires the reconnaissance objective to be defined clearly and area to be fairly open.

6-182. The second technique is to organize the reconnaissance elements and security elements together into R&S teams. This technique is used when the reconnaissance objective is not defined clearly or the teams are not mutually supporting and each reconnaissance element potentially needs its own security force. Within the R&S team, the reconnaissance can be done by one or two individuals while the rest of the element provides security. The number of Soldiers in an R&S team varies depending on the mission. Usually a fire team (three to four Soldiers) is required for an adequate reconnaissance and still provide local security.

6-183. The third technique is to establish R&S teams with an additional, separate
security element. The separate security element also-can act as a reserve or as a quick reaction force.

Figure 6-14. Organization of reconnaissance patrols

Next: 6-184: Actions on the Reconnaissance Objective

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