Although not a part of this subcourse, it should be noted that many of these devices have applicability
in peacetime law enforcement and physical security operations. This is not their primary purpose, and
they should not replace those devices specifically developed for law enforcement operations. They
can, however, be used to augment those systems and provide training at the same time.
This lesson will cover the RSTA devices more commonly used by the military police. You will learn the
capabilities and limitations of these devices, permitting you to employ them to the maximum effect.
On the battlefield, there are conditions other than darkness that limit visibility. All armies use smoke to
assist in concealing their movements. The dust and smoke of the battlefield obscures vision.
Inclement weather, such as rain, fog, and snow, also affect the ability of the army to see. All of these
conditions also have an effect on many night vision devices.
At night, a battlefield may be illuminated by artificial light to improve visibility. When this is the case, a
unit may fight almost as if it were daylight. On the other hand, military police should use limited visibility
conditions to conceal them, help achieve surprise, and reduce the ability of the enemy to aim well.
There are problems that are associated with operating during a period of reduced visibility. Your ability
to control personnel is substantially reduced. Weapons employment becomes much more difficult and
effective ranges are reduced due to the inability of individuals to see well. Targets become more
difficult to locate. It is difficult to distinguish friend from foe. Some of the RSTA devices may be
neutralized either by the environment or the enemy.
A serious problem for military police is the difficulty soldiers have in navigating. This can create traffic
problems where there were none before. It also affects the ability of the MP themselves to perform
their duties. Effective employment of RSTA devices can substantially reduce these problems.
As with most subjects, there is a set of definitions with which you must become familiar. The following
paragraphs will deal with the devices most commonly found in an MP unit. There are many other
devices that are employed, both by military police and other units. An understanding of these
definitions will allow you to more easily employ those other devices should the occasion arise.
Reconnaissance includes all the measures actively taken to collect information about the battlefield.