The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is a defensive alliance of European and North American nations, founded in 1949. To establish a common approach to military functions, a series of Standardised Agreements, or STANAG's, are developed to help partners from different military traditions, with different languages and equipment, to work together.
The aim of tactical aerial reconnaissance is to provide timely information on the location, strength, movement and intention of enemy forces and to monitor the results of operations by friendly forces. NATO requires that tactical aerial reconnaissance targets must be analysed and reported on within 45 minutes of the reconnaissance aircraft returning to base. NATO STANAG 3596 Air Reconnaissance Requesting and Target Reporting Guide sets the standards for reporting these targets, which are broken down into the categories listed below. Each target category has features particular to it that can reveal the threat they pose as well as indicate their vulnerabilities.
Although designed for use by tactical imagery analysis units working with fast-jet reconnaissance squadrons during the Cold War, the format can be successfully applied to imagery taken during the Second World War.