This article needs additional citations for
. (February 2012)
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.
Reconnaissance (US Army FM 7-92; Chap. 4)
In military operations, reconnaissance or scouting is the exploration outside an area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about natural features and enemy presence.
Examples of reconnaissance include
patrolling by troops (
Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol,
U.S. Army Rangers,
cavalry scouts, or military intelligence specialists), ships or
satellites, or by setting up
covert observation posts.
Espionage normally is not reconnaissance, because reconnaissance is a military's special forces operating ahead of its main forces; spies are non-combatants operating behind enemy lines.
Often called "
recce" (British and Canadian English) or "
recon" (American and Australian English), the associated verb is reconnaître.