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What is the difference between reconnaissance and surveillance?


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Answered 2008-02-29 09:28:00

"I think reconnaissance deals with gathering information about targets whereas surveillance deals more with movement and coordination of units. "

Reconnaissance looks for new (or more) detail about subject targets whereas surveillance looks for indications of confirmation or change of existing information; hence, its frequent relationship to "movement". NATO defines the two (as taken from the NATO reference: APP-6):

Surveillance. The systematic observation of aerospace, surface and subsurface areas, places, persons, or things, by visual, aural, electronic, photographic, or other means.

Reconnaissance. A mission undertaken to obtain, by visual observation or other detection methods, information about the activities and resources of an enemy or potential enemy, or to secure data concerning the meteorological, hydrographic, or geographic characteristics of a particular area. .

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