Forward Observer has a nice article up titled Why Intelligence Deserves a Role in Survival, Preparedness, and Community Security. Sam Culper, the author, explains the difference between intelligence and information and why it is important to you. Between the writings of Kit Perez at American Partisan and Sam Culper at Forward Observer, you can get a pretty good grounding in intelligence matters. Sam Culper has also a written a book, SHTF Intelligence, if you want to delve even farther into these topics.
If the lights went out tomorrow – if some catastrophic event occurred, perhaps the event for which you are preparing – then then my number one concern is the ability to anticipate the effects on our community. For instance, a cyber attack that disables portions of the power grid for 12 hours is going to produce much different conditions than the persistent effects of a viral epidemic.
No matter the cause of the event, one thing that Intelligence does for us is that it allows us to reduce uncertainty about the future. It makes little sense to prepare for a highly unlikely event, when we can establish scenarios that are more likely to occur based on an examination of the facts instead of on the fear mongering that surrounds the highly unlikely scenarios.
One of the largest problems facing our preparedness community is the condition of being the “least-most prepared”. You probably know someone who falls in that category. These folks have the most preparations – the most stored food and water, the most medicine, the most firearms and ammunition – but are actually among the least prepared for the future. They may have have tons of gear but they have no clue how to use it. Or they may be a small island of preparedness in a bottomless sea of needy people. Either way, all their preparations are less likely to sustain their family and more likely to sustain whoever capitalizes on their lack of intelligence and misfortune.
The people who fall into the category of the “least-most prepared” may have all the gear and storage, but they still have lots of uncertainty. They haven’t started to answer some basic questions about what types of threats they’ll face in any given scenario, or what the local effects would be of a national, regional, or local emergency. They don’t know when an event is going to happen. They don’t what it’s going to look like. They don’t know how it will affect their home and community. And they don’t know what specific threats will be posed to them.
Having all the stuff does us little good if we haven’t identified and don’t understand the threat we’re facing. And when we don’t understand the threat, we make ourselves extremely vulnerable to strategic shock; that is, being exploited by a threat we didn’t know existed or for which we weren’t prepared. In one sentence: your stuff is useless to you if you aren’t prepared to defend it, and you aren’t prepared to defend it unless you understand the threats. And that’s where intelligence collection and analysis come in.
I think the proverbial “nine meals from anarchy” is an adequate initial description of any SHTF event. That idiom describes the length of time between a disruption in public services and logistical systems, and empty grocery stores being the least of your worries. The higher the population density, the shorter that window becomes. The more people, the greater the need. How your living conditions are affected may vary greatly in any scenario, but the critical need for threat intelligence will stay the same. It doesn’t matter whether you live in Star Valley, Wyoming or on Staten Island, New York; you will need threat intelligence as part of your day to day survival.
One thing that separates those who are least-most prepared and those who are best prepared is access to early warning information and threat reporting — in other words, access to timely information in order to produce Intelligence. Regardless of the trigger event and your community environment, you’re going to find yourself in one of two situations: