Springfield stole the terminology from Jeff Cooper, who was experimenting with the "scout rifle" concept from 1983 or so up until his death in 2006. His experimentation, and that of the other attendees of the several scout rifle conferences, eventually culminated in the Steyr Scout. Now, of course, everyone who slaps a scope on a rifle barrel calls their gun a "Scout."
Low-powered, forward-mounted scope have several advantages. With practice, they are faster than scopes mounted more conventionally. They allow - encourage, really - shooting with both eyes open. They allow greater access to the action, which is more important with a bolt gun than a semiauto. They allow a short rifle to be grasped around the action for comfortable carry, though a big box mag prevents this. They are very well suited to rifles of the Garand pattern, which are notoriously hard to scope conventionally.
Forward mounted scopes work poorly if the sun is very low and behind the shooter.