Reconnaissance Operations (RECCE)

Counter Terrorist Magazine: Reconnaissance Operations (RECCE)

Many Thanks to The Counter Terrorist Magazine for publishing my article on Reconnaissance Operations. The magazine is available @

Click here to read the article: Reconnaissance Operations

I wrote this article on “Reconnaissance Operations (RECCE)” a few years ago while training a security force from a West African Government who was active in counter terrorist operations. I was taught and employed covert reconnaissance operation (recce) while in the British Army over 20 years ago in numerous environments. Since then I have taught and employed it while operating commercially in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Personally from what I have seen over the years recce training and operations are often neglected, I think because people would sooner focus on more exciting “direct action” training and operations. But without RECCE operations, accurate intelligence and proper pre-planning “direct action” operation usually fail.

Reconnaissance operations (RECCE) are a necessity in all tactical operations as they provide pre-operations intelligence on locations, terrorists and can verify or deny a local source’s information.

All RECCE operations need to be done covertly, the terrorists/criminals should not know you’re in their area or what you are doing. RECCE operations in hostile areas should be done in plain clothes and civilian vehicles, you need to blend in with the environment and population. Nothing tactical should be carried and if armed try to go with no government issue weapons.

When I was working with vigilantes in West Africa in 2012 we detained a guy who we had spotted watching and following us while on a regular patrol. He was from a cultist gang and the clear give away he was a criminal doing surveillance on us was that he had nothing on him; no money, no ID, no phone, nothing; Just the clothes he was wearing. I take it he had the misconception the vigilantes would have stolen his possessions… Moral of the story, when trying to blend in with the local population don’t overdo it or under do it!

The Counter Terrorist Magazine is an excellent resource for those interested in international security, counter terrorism and homeland security issues. It’s available @

Orlando Wilson

Tactical Police, Counter Terrorism & SWAT Training

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