Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) is a practice that links several battlefield functions together to assist a combat force in employing its sensors and managing the information they gather.
Information is collected on the battlefield through systematic observation by deployed soldiers and a variety of electronic sensors. Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance are methods of obtaining this information. The information is then passed to intelligence personnel for analysis, and then to the commander and his staff for the formulation of battle plans. Intelligence is processed information that is relevant and contributes to an understanding of the ground, and of enemy dispositions and intents.
ISTAR is the process of integrating the intelligence process with surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance tasks in order to improve a commander's situational awareness and consequently their decision making. The inclusion of the "I" is important as it recognizes the importance of taking the information from all of the sensors and processing it into useful knowledge.
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