John Mosby at Mountain Guerrilla has up a lengthy and comprehensive introductory article entitled The Survival Retreat Facility: Design Planning Considerations in Theory and Practice, Part One. In it he draws upon US Army Special Forces doctrine and his own permaculture preparedness view to come up some questions to ask yourself and answer in the design of your own facility/homestead/retreat/etc. This is long and chock full of acronyms, but you can do it (that is read it, at least), and you should do it.
S Army Special Forces, like the rest of the US military, has a set of doctrine regarding the establishment, maintenance, protection, and even closure, of tactical facilities, under field conditions. In current SF doctrine, those facilities are referred to as “Special Forces Tactical Facilities.” These can range from a small, partially developed patrol base for the ODA, all the way up to an SFOB (Special Forces Operating Base), or what used to be called an “A-Camp.”
Doctrinally, the role of the SF TACFAC is “to support special operations and function as a tactical and operational base.” That is, they serve as a defensive base for the operational detachment, a base for projecting offensive force outwards, and as a center for developing, improving, and maintaining relationships with the local national populace and host-nation forces.
“Over time, the TACFAC helps provide for establishment, restoration, and improvements of many local HN community and government services and systems. These essential support systems for the TACFAC and surrounding HN communities are best captured by the acronym SWEAT-MSS (security, water, electricity, administration, trash, medical, sewage, and shelter). Eventually, the SF TACFAC will be returned to the control of the HN government through a relief-in-place (RIP).”
Taking our holistic, Permaculture view of preparedness, that seems an awful lot like what our retreat locations—whether you are in a rural, suburban, or urban environment—should be, doesn’t it? After all, if we’ve realized that the idea of Ma, Pa, and the kids, all by their lonesomes, with a year’s supply of beans, bullets, and band-aids, is not such a sustainable plan after all (and, seriously, if you haven’t realized it yet….it’s really not), then we know we need “community,” either in the form of a close-knit group of friends and family—kith-and-kin—or a trusted, small village or neighborhood of people with shared values.
Whether you’re looking at the kith-and-kin clan model, or the village defense model, as your solution, one of the most-often cited “problems” that preppers and survivalists face is the lack of fellow travelers on the path to preparedness. On the other hand, if you have even just four or five people—nuclear family members, best buds, or siblings/cousins, etc—who are doing their best to prepare, and you have a location that can be secured with some effort, you can begin the development of a retreat that will double as your very own UW TACFAC, when the time comes to up the security game…