The Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leader’s Course (RSLC) is a 33-day program conducted by Department of Reconnaissance and Security, 3d Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Benning, GA; that teaches the fundamentals of dismounted reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition to Soldiers, Noncommissioned Officers, and Officers. What sets RSLC apart from other courses, is its focus on mastering reconnaissance fundamentals. RSLC is open to all military specialties and is not limited to those serving in reconnaissance units. We routinely train Infantrymen, Cavalry Scouts, Marines, Airmen, Special Forces, and law enforcement. We are also open to International Students. It is not necessary to be airborne or Ranger qualified to attend this course.
RSLC is physically and mentally challenging, where one block of instruction builds upon the next. RSLC culminates in a multi-day, graded, field training exercise, executed in both urban and woodland environments. During the first week, students execute a seven hour land navigation course in which they move under load, cross-country, during day and limited visibility, covering approximately 15 kilometers. They receive an introduction to the fundamentals of reconnaissance and surveillance and are taught how to maximize the capabilities of the equipment in the Army’s inventory such as optics, thermals, and cameras. Students learn how to camouflage themselves and equipment, stalking, and selection, occupation, and concealment of surveillance sites. The first week ends with an airborne operation that can accommodate both static line and Military Free-Fall qualified Paratroopers.
Week two begins with a two day communications class that teaches students how to send messages and data across the frequency spectrum, utilizing High Frequency (HF), Very High Frequency (VHF), and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) radios. This skill enables students to send reports and pictures to their maneuver commander in near real time. Building on the training from the previous week, students conduct area and zone reconnaissance practical exercises to hone their field craft and improve their reporting formats. Students are also introduced to insertion and extraction techniques by conducting Fast Rope Insertion/Extraction System (FRIES) and Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction System (SPIES) training.
The final two weeks are spent with students learning how to plan an operation using the troop leading procedures (TLPs) and incorporating air movement, fires, and evasion and recovery planning. Following the orders process, students conduct a 48-hour non-graded situational training exercise (STX) where they will execute the mission they just planned under the watchful eye of RSLC instructors, allowing the students to ask questions and receive assistance along the way. Once this mission is complete and after-action reviews (AARs) are conducted, the students go into isolation planning for their graded culminating FTX. Throughout the FTX, students will execute and be graded on all the skills they learned from planning, reconnaissance and surveillance operations, intelligence reporting techniques, communications, fires, evasion and recovery, and small unit tactics to name a few. The end result is a graduate with the skill to plan and conduct a myriad of reconnaissance and surveillance operations, enhancing the ability of any brigade combat team.
During cycle breaks RSLC can conduct “menu-based” training. This “menu-based” option is attractive to SOF units and those on an accelerated deployment cycle as it allows the unit to focus on the training it needs in anticipation of future mission sets.
RSLC is a constantly evolving course, seeking lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and Operation Enduring Freedom. RSLC fosters a learning environment where Soldiers from units across the spectrum from conventional Army units to Special Operations Forces (SOF), Marines, Air Force, Navy, and even inter-agency partners can share experiences along with techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) making the course and students better