Reconnaissance

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Reconnaissance is a mission to obtain information by visual observation or other detection methods, about the activities and resources of an enemy or potential enemy, or about the meteorologic, hydrographic, or geographic characteristics of a particular area.[1]

Reconnaissance, also known as scouting, is a military term for performing a preliminary survey; especially an exploratory military survey to gain, or collect information.[2] Primarily, it refers to preliminary reconnaissance; reconnaissance used to determine the enemy forces disposition and intention; gathering information about an enemy's composition and capabilities, along with the lay of the land and weather conditions through direct observation. Reconnaissance is generally an intelligence-gathering asset of human intelligence (HUMINT), under the intelligence cycle of intelligence collection management.

Examples of reconnaissance include patrolling by troops (rangers, scouts, or military intelligence specialists), ships or submarines, manned/unmanned aircraft, satellites, or by setting up covert observation posts. Espionage normally is not reconnaissance, because reconnaissance is a military force's operating ahead of its main forces; spies are non-combatants operating behind enemy lines.

The term reconnaissance, is also used in civilian applications—e.g. in the fields of science and engineering. In geology: The "examination or survey of the general geological characteristics of a region"[3], in computer networking and security, the "exploration or enumeration of network infrastructure including network addresses, available communication ports, and available services."[4]

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