I assume that in casual usage, it doesn't really mean to serve in an intelligence agency, or to reconnoiter an enemy position, right?
This expression historically stems from the time of WWII (one should take into account the severe militarisation of the Soviet society and that both the TV and cinema were full of heroic films about WWII). In casual usage it just means that you trust a person.
Я пошел бы с ним в разведку → I would trust him with my life.
The original, literal meaning is indeed to reconnoiter an enemy position (and not to serve in an intelligence agency).
It would be helpful to translate the whole phrase: "I would go on a scouting mission with him."– David42May 23, 2022 at 20:25
Давно смолкли залпы орудий
Давно смолкли залпы орудий,
Над нами лишь солнечный свет, -
На чем проверяются люди,
Если войны уже нет?
Приходится слышать нередко
Сейчас, как тогда:
"Ты бы пошел с ним в разведку?
Нет или да?"
3-1. How is this an answer? Jul 14, 2012 at 16:40
2Actually - it is. The phrase has become wildely used partly because of this song, and partly the song answers the question. Sep 27, 2014 at 19:34
The phrase has become wildely used partly because of this song If one does some research he finds that the phrase has been already established in the popular culture before 1968... E.g. «Солдат Иван Бровкин» (1955): С вами, Бровкин, никто даже в разведку-то не пойдет! Nov 7, 2019 at 16:18