ISTAR stands for Intelligence,
Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance. In its macroscopic sense, 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. Informationis 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.
ISTAR can also refer to:
* a unit or sub unit with ISTAR as a task (eg: an ISTAR Squadron)
* equipment required to support the task
Variations of ISTAR
There are several variations on the "ISTAR" acronym. Some variations reflect specific emphasis on certain aspects of ISTAR.
TAR (Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance)
A term used when emphasis is to be placed on the sensing component of ISTAR.
RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition)
A term used by the US Army in place of STAR or ISTAR. Also a term used to identify certain US Army units: for instance, 3rd Squadron, 153rd RSTA. These units serve a similar role to the belowmentioned US Marine Corps STA platoons, but on a larger scale.
TA (Surveillance and Target Acquisition)
Used to designate one of the following:
Military Occupational Specialty(MOS) - specifically a STA sniper (USMC))
*The role of a unit (eg STA Patrol) or equipment (
*A doctrine similar to ISTAR.
ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance)
A term used for units collecting and processing information into intelligence that could initiate intel led operations in order to achieve a higher effect with less own losses.Also used to identify certain intelligence units: for instance, ISR TF (Company+) in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
ISTAR Units and Formations
RSTA (U.S. Army)
Long Range SurveillanceUnits (US Army)
STA sniper (USMC)
Honourable Artillery Company
Expeditionary Air Wing( Royal Air Force)
* [http://www.mil.no/haren/Etterretningsbataljonen/start/ Intelligence batallion] (Norwegian Army)
Kystjegerkommandoen( Norwegian Coastal Rangers )
Garnisonen i Sør-Varanger(Borderguard,Norwegian Army)
103 ISTAR battalion(Dutch Army)
ISTAR battalion(Norwegian Army)
NBG ISTAR TF(EU Nordic Battle Group)
62 Svarzochna Brigada(Bulgarian Armed Forces)
SIG(Swedish Armed Forces)
* [http://www.rover08.ch ISTAR Bat TF 11 ad hoc] (
Swiss Armed Forces)
* 350. military intelligence battalion ( 350. vojnoobavještajna bojna ) ( Croatian Army )
* Razuznavacki bataljon na ARM, Republika Makedonija
*C4ISTAR, a broader concept that also includes "Command, Control, Communications and Computers".
* [http://www.army.dnd.ca/ael/pubs/300-009/b-gl-394/002/fp-001/B-GL-394-002-FP-001.pdf Reconnaissance and Surveillance Operations] —Canadian Land Forces manual about armoured reconnaissance (PDF)
* [http://www.au.af.mil/au/aul/bibs/ISR.htm INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE, and RECONNAISSANCE (ISR) PROGRAMS] - ACSC Research Topic
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.