As the Army continues to define the structure and doctrine of Army 2020, lessons-learned from 13 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan – and applying these lessons to wide-area security, stability and combined-arms maneuver operations – have become a cornerstone of building that Army. The counterinsurgency (COIN) environment generated new processes and programs across the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development, personnel and facilities (DOTMLPF) domains. Intelligence-gathering is no exception; the insurgent / counterinsurgent environment drove the need for audiovisual, tagging, tracking and locating (TTL) capabilities. These capabilities provided the combat commander with the ability to pinpoint and remove hostile forces embedded in civilian populations while reducing collateral damage and building a network of information addressing all aspects of the COIN fight.
One of the materiel solutions that has provided commanders with those exact capabilities is the Close-Access Target Reconnaissance (CATR) system. CATR is an assembled kit of technical audio and visual surveillance equipment as well as electronic TTL devices that has been used with great success within the Department of Defense communities to gather information in support of COIN operations. Although this capability was developed in support of the COIN environment, it has applicability to conventional warfare in the arena of reconnaissance formations.
CATR influences the fight in that it allows the commander and his staff to continuously monitor targets and named areas of interest in the operational environment, assess that environment and evaluate the threat. CATR is capable of employment and monitoring with minimal impact to the Soldier’s workload. Once employed, there is no requirement for Soldiers to remain on the battlefield until recovery of the equipment is required. Some CATR equipment can be monitored from friendly unit locations, while other pieces of equipment must be recovered and evaluated. Previously CATR had been issued to battlefield surveillance brigades (BfSB) and brigade combat teams (BCT), but it now has the flexibility to provide various capabilities tailored to subordinate echelons and their collection requirements. Subcomponents can be used by commanders / leaders or can be emplaced, monitored or operated by specially designated and trained Soldiers.