Current RSTA status

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Posts: 12
Joined: October 17th, 2006, 4:53 am
Location: FT. Smiley, Kansas

Current RSTA status

Post by trazel187 »

This is the world according to Wikipedia, but it helped clear up some of the confusion of who is doing what, how and where since I am in extreme legland, have no contacts and most of my former LRS buddies are in SF or pushing troops as CSMs or MSGs.
Still if, I could go back and do it, I would without a doubt...even as a RSTA dude.

Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition or RSTA, is a type of unit in the United States Army.


Overview and makeup
RSTA Mission Scope
Indications and Warning (I&W)
Planning and Employment
The Reconnaissance Squadron
RSTA Units in the U.S. Army

Overview and makeup

RSTA units are small reconnaissance units based on cavalry squadrons, and act both at the squadron (battalion) level as a Brigade Reconnaissance Team for the regiment, but the infantry troop (company) in the regiment serves as a scout/sniper (with a similar role to the STA sniper (USMC) teams) company for the squadron and the brigade. The order of battle varies widely among RSTA squadrons, depending on tasking and type. Some units, such as the Stryker brigades have a relatively standard order of battle for a RSTA squadron. Typically the Department of the Army designates a battalion within a brigade/regiment as a RSTA squadron. That RSTA squadron will have 4-6 troops, typically: 3 recce troops (consisting of 19D MOS cavalry scouts and 11B infantrymen); a headquarters troop (HHT) which contains organic (that is, permanently and directly assigned) intelligence and communications support, and a surveillance section (sometimes a troop) with UAV aerial support. RSTA units can be found both in the active component of the Army (for example, 3rd Battalion (RSTA), 73rd Cavalry in the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division) and in the National Guard (for example, 1-153rd Cav, Florida Army National Guard.)

While the above is the most typical RSTA order of battle, it was derived from the newly created Stryker Brigade Combat Teams (SBCT) and is designed around Stryker support. Non-SBCT RSTA squadrons typically have a modified order of battle. Most commonly, one of the recce troops is redesignated a dismounted infantry company (consisting of 11B MOS infantrymen) which serves as the battalion's forward scouts and usually contains the squadron's scout/snipers. The remaining recce troops assume a more traditional cavalry role.

Women are not eligible to serve in an RSTA unit, as RSTA soldiers are considered a combat unit on the front line of enemy engagement.

RSTA Mission Scope

According to JP 3-55, the official Joint Services publication defining the scope of RSTA operations, RSTA Operations are designed to provide several tiers of capability at the strategic (national defense policy), operational (theater level), or tactical (individual unit) levels.These include:

Indications and Warning (I&W)

RSTA I&W operations provide "information necessary to assess forces and installations that threaten the United States and its allies." RSTA missions may provide continuous surveillance or as-required reconnaissance, in order to provide warnings of impending threats or attacks, as well as to monitor compliance with international agreements. These operations may be conducted at the strategic, operational, or tactical levels.

Planning and Employment

Strategically, RSTA Planning and Employment operations are used to support the planning of military operations, by monitoring foreign nation's centers of warmaking capability, and providing information on enemy system capabilities, locations, and installations for the National Target Base and other target lists. This information is used to assist in formulation of the U.S. military's Single Integrated Operational Plan, Limited Attack Option plan, Unified Command Plan, and Joint Strategic Capabilities Plans.

Operationally, RSTA operations are similar to both the strategic and tactical levels, in that they provide commanders with date on areas such as environment, organization, infrastructure, and enemy forces to assist in planning theater wide operations.

Tactically, RSTA operations provide detailed information about enemy orders of battle, movement plans, offensive and defensive capabilities, terrain, and enemy disposition. RSTA units provide target detection and acquisition (in some cases, elimination), and real-time intelligence and surveillance. This is generally provided through the RSTA unit's scout company, UAVs, and sniper teams.


At all three levels of command, RSTA units provide assesment both during and after military operations, such as bomb damage assessment and follow-on surveillance. As a side effort to this, RSTA units conduct OPDEC (OPerational DECeption) missions to impede enemy intelligence gathering.

RSTA troopers are a mix of 19D (Cavalry scout) and 11B Infantrymen MOS MOS's, -which serve as Scouts and Snipers and Indirect Fire Infantrymen (mortars)11C - which operate a 60mm Mortar Section, and various intelligence and communications soldiers. The MTOE of the Infantry Troop includes organic Zodiac F470 boats to insert the Infantry. The Infantry Troop (being in a Cavalry Squadron, makes it an Infantry "Troop", not a Company) has few wheeled vehicles which directly belong to the Troop. The operational cycle for the infantry troop is plan, insert, infiltrate, execute, exfiltrate, extract, and finally debrief. The infantry troop has the same mission as a typical Long Range Surveillance Company.

RSTA units as a squadron are considered to be "elite" units: their cavalry scouts are specifically trained in various tasks to be able to react to a wider array of situations. RSTA troopers are often graduates of the army's elite schools including the U.S. Army Sniper School, Special Operations Target Interdiction Course, Ranger School, and other schools befitting a reconnaissance unit. Typical RSTA training includes land navigation, point and area surveillance operations, battle drills, MOUT (urban operations), and Quick-Reaction Force responses. The sniper teams are trained in the stalking, observing and elimination of high asset targets.

The Reconnaissance Squadron

As part of the Army-wide transfer to Brigade Units of Action, some brigades are transitioning to the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) while others are transforming to Heavy Brigade Combat Teams (HBCT), other Brigades are becoming Stryker Brigade Combat Teams(SBCT). In each of the Three types of Brigades there is a Reconnaissance Squadron which performs Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition or RSTA.

Modern Reconnaissance Squadrons within Infantry Brigade Combat Teams are combined arms forces, they have added capabilities and equipment never before found within a LRSD. The Reconnaissance Squadron is composed of a Squadron Headquarters, a Headquarters Troop, two Recce troops, and a dismounted scout company (often containing the Regimental/Brigade Reconnaissance Team and brigade/regimental sniper section). Some squadrons may have an additional support troop consisting of a UAV platoon, a Zodiac boat section, and additional signal and maintenance assets that, while organic to the squadron's TOE, have unique capabilities requiring them to exist outside the HHT troop. For example, a support troop may include a UAV platoon, its associated maintenance, a boat section, a USAF satellite communications detachment, a HUMINT analysis team and interpreters. Typically, support troops tend to be intelligence heavy in their occupational organization.

The Infantry Companies within Reconnaissance Squadron of the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams have Snipers, Scouts, Mortarmen, Communications and Intelligence personnel. Scouts may perform specialized tasks such as Pathfinders, Scout Swimmers, Coxswains, Fast Rope Masters, Air Liaison, etc. The unit is capable of Waterborne, Air Assault, and Vehicle insertion. Organic vehicles include un-armored HMMWV's and may include small offroad vehicles in the near future. These companies typically perform long range movements to conduct reconnaissance tasks. The infantry company within a Reconnaissance Squadron is not a Cavalry unit, it does not perform traditional cavalry operations, instead it performs RSTA on foot. Think of it as LRS without Airborne Parachute Operations and more of a Medium Range Surveillance.

Within Heavy Brigade Combat Teams (HBCT), the Cavalry Squadron is structured as an Armored Reconnaissance Squadron (ARS). Each ARS has one Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (HHT) and three Line Troops. The line Troops are equipped with M3 series Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles and various types of High Mobility, Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV).

The Reconnaissance Squadron is completely different from the Armored Cavalry formations of the cold war with massive Armored and BFV units intended to engage massive armored threats. FM's are still being written on the doctrine. Many soldiers are scrambling to understand the new concepts of combined arms and the Reconnaissance Squadron.

RSTA Units in the U.S. Army

Active Duty RSTA Units

2-1st Cav, 4th SBCT, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis
3-1st CAV, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning
5-1st CAV, 1st SBCT, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Wainwright
8-1st CAV, 5th SBCT, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis
4-2nd CAV, 2nd SCR, Vilseck, Germany
1-4th CAV, 4th IBCT, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley
3-4th Cav, 3rd IBCT, 25th ID, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
6-4th CAV, 3rd IBCT, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Hood
1-7th CAV, 1st HBCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood
3-7th CAV, 2nd HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart
4-7th CAV, 1st HBCT, 2nd Infantry Division, Korea
5-7th CAV, 1st HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart
6-8th CAV, 4th HBCT, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart
1-9th CAV, 4th HBCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss
2-9th CAV, 3rd HBCT, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson
4-9th CAV, 2nd HBCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood
6-9th CAV, 3rd HBCT, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood
1-10th CAV, 2nd HBCT, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood
7-10th CAV, 1st HBCT, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood
8-10th CAV, 4th HBCT, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood
1-14th Cav, 3rd SBCT, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis
2-14th Cav, 2nd SBCT, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks
1-32nd Cav, 1st IBCT, 101st ABN, Fort Campbell, Kentucky
1-33rd Cav, 3rd IBCT, 101st ABN, Fort Campbell, Kentucky
1-40th Cav, 4th ABCT, 25th ID, Fort Richardson, Alaska
1-61st Cav, 4th IBCT, 101st ABN, Fort Campbell, Kentucky
3-61st Cav, 2nd IBCT, 2nd ID, Fort Carson, Colorado
1-71st Cav, 1st IBCT, 10th MTN, Fort Drum, New York
3-71st Cav, 3rd IBCT, 10th MTN, Fort Drum, New York
1-73rd Cav, 2nd ABCT, 82nd ABN, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
3-73rd Cav, 1st ABCT, 82nd ABN, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
4-73rd Cav, 4th ABCT, 82nd ABN, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
5-73rd Cav, 3rd ABCT, 82nd ABN, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
1-75th Cav, 2nd IBCT, 101st ABN, Fort Campbell, Kentucky
1-89th Cav, 2nd IBCT, 10th MTN, Fort Drum, New York
3-89th Cav, 4th IBCT, 10th MTN, Fort Polk, Louisiana
1-91st Cav, 173rd ABCT, Vicenza, Italy

National Guard RSTA Units

1st Squadron, 18th Cavalry (RSTA), 40th IBCT, California Army National Guard
1st Squadron, 82nd Cavalry (RSTA), 41st Brigade Combat Team, of the Oregon Army National Guard
2nd Squadron, 102nd Cavalry (RSTA), 42nd Infantry Division,New Jersey Army National Guard
2nd Squadron, 104th Cavalry (RSTA), 28th Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team), Pennsylvania Army National Guard
2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry (RSTA), 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Illinois Army National Guard
1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry (RSTA), 48th BCT (Formerly 1-108th Armor) Georgia National Army Guard
2nd Squadron, 108th Cavalry (RSTA), 256th Infantry Brigade, Louisiana Army National Guard
1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry (RSTA), 34th Infantry Division, Iowa Army National Guard[1]
1st Squadron, 124th Cavalry (RSTA), 36th Infantry Division, Waco, TX "Out Front" (not to be confused with 1-124th Inf, FLARNG)
1st Squadron, 126th Cavalry (RSTA), 37th IBCT (OHIO), Michigan Army National Guard
1st Squadron, 153rd Cavalry, 53rd Infantry Brigade (Separate), Florida Army National Guard (previously 3-124th Inf)
1st Squadron, 167th Cavalry, 34th Infantry Division, Nebraska Army National Guard. Currently (June 2006) attached to 1st BCT, 34th Infantry Division located at Camp Anaconda north of Baghdad. Includes C Troop, 117th Cavalry of the New Jersey Army National Guard.
1st Squadron, 172nd Cavalry (RSTA), 86th IBCT, Vermont Army National Guard.
1st Squadron, 182nd Cavalry (RSTA), 26th Brigade Combat Team, Massachusetts Army National Guard
2nd Squadron, 194th Cavalry (RSTA), 1st HBCT, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard
1st Squadron, 263rd Cavalry (RSTA), 218th BCT (M) South Carolina Army National Guard
3rd Squadron, 278 Armored Cavalry Regiment,Tennessee Army National Guard

I know some of the division LRS in 82nd and 101st were folded into AVN units to become pathfinder companies. I know the 'Fun Co' bros are still around and several Guard LRS (soon to transform if they haven't already to RSTA/CAV units). I explained to my guys here in the JAG world that all the crap we have for our ACUs (shoulder pockets, no lower shirt pockets, P.C.s with pocket inside, permanent i.r. patches) were common in LRS and Spec Ops, but verboten to the mainstream. All I got was the sound of crickets. They didn't have any idea what I was talking why did I have to get hurt, wounded and reclassed. I want to go back with the grunts in the shit.
A 1/52 IN (NTC) 88-90
7th RTB 90-93
1/4 IN (CMTC) 94-95
E 51 INF (LRS) GE 95-98 (OJE and OJG)
1/78 FA (BT Instr), Ft. Sill, 98-01
3/505, 2/505, 82d ABN 01-04 (OEF)
1 AD (JAG), GE 04-07 (OIF)
1 ID 07- (MiTT instructor)

The outcome of the war is in our hands; the outcome of words is in the council.
Homer, The Iliad

Posts: 340
Joined: June 23rd, 2007, 7:34 am
Location: Back from Iraq, Ft Leavenworth KS

Post by Priller »

I was in 1-61 Cav (RSTA).
First HHT Commander of that unit.
Graduated class 11-04, 05 November 2004
2-8 IN, 4 ID
1-61 CAV(RSTA), 506th (Currahee), 101st ABN (AASLT) DIV

God and Soldier we adore,
in time if danger not before,
danger passed and all things righted,
God is forgotten and soldier is slighted.
Rudyard Kipling

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