Forward Observer: May Update on the “Second American Civil War”

Sam Culper at Forward Observer has another article update on our Second American Civil War. Forward Observer provides daily, weekly, and monthly intelligence updates to its members on matters of national concern.

For a couple years now, I’ve described “low intensity conflict” as the doctrine which best represents post-Obama America.

I believe very few things said about the current “civil war” but here’s what I know to be true of our current domestic conflict:

1. It’s “low intensity.” Low intensity conflict (LIC) is the doctrine of war below the threshold of conventional war (tanks, troops, planes) but above routine, peaceful competition. Anything over 1,000 deaths a year from political violence would be classified as a civil war. That’s certainly a much higher intensity than what we’re seeing now. LIC is characterized by political, economic, diplomatic, and information warfare, along with low-level politically- or ideologically-driven violence. See here for additional examples.

Another characteristic of low intensity conflict, as we’ve seen throughout history, is a relatively small percentage of the population engaged in violence. It may only be one percent of an entire country ‘at war’ while another 5-15 percent support the violence, and 75+ percent of citizens are just trying to live their lives.

Those who disagree sometimes reply, “Go to your grocery store. Go to the bank. No one is at war with each other. Everything is fine. You’re making too much of this.”

This is not 1861 where up to 10 percent of the country is fighting each other on battlefields, and the effects of conventional war are widespread and devastating.

In LIC, historically, it’s only a small fraction of a country doing the fighting, and most people live among the disruption to go on about their business…

2. We’re in a “hot peace.” I certainly would not characterize America in 2016-2019 as being at “peace,” other than the absolute absence of outright war. The cultural cold war has turned hot; albeit at a very low level. If you ignore this, then you ignore reality…

3. It’s very likely to worsen. The tectonic shifts in American culture have caused periods of political violence before. The Civil Rights movement, the race riots and unrest between 1968 and the 1970s, and abortion clinic bombings are a few key examples, but even those ‘conflicts’ eventually died down. Oftentimes, conflict is generational. One generation goes away, and future generations develop their own problems.

For current generations, I believe conditions are more likely to worsen before they get better because the culture war now includes more fronts that foment the anger and resentment that cause political violence…

4. We could have just two to three years before we see routine, sustained political violence. For as long as I’ve been writing about LIC, I’ve warned of the effects of the next recession and financial crisis on the political and cultural climate. (I now believe that the next recession and financial crisis have an above average chance of happening simultaneously.) Class and race warfare, I believe, will worsen as we move through this period of economic and financial uncertainty.

High youth unemployment is a universal indicator of civil unrest and violence. What I’m seeing in America’s future are social bases charged by race, class, and/or politics, who also lack economic opportunity and the hope of a better life that comes with it…

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

Forward Observer: SHTF Intelligence & Decision-Making

Sam Culper of Forward Observer has a short video he recently posted, talking about what intelligence is and how it helps you make decisions. If you haven’t already thought about these things, then this a good introduction to the topic. If you’ve taken one of his classes or read his book, then it may be nothing new to you.

In an SHTF situation, we’ll be forced to make decisions. Some of them may be time-sensitive. Any fool can make decisions, but we want to make well-informed decisions. That means we need intelligence.

Forward Observer: SHTF Predictions & Intelligence Analysis

Sam Culper’s most recent Forward Observer podcast is about predictions about collapse as compared to using intelligence analysis to reduce uncertainty about the future.

Sam discusses how predictions are usually wrong, but that intelligence analysis does not make predictions. Rather intelligence analysis is used to reduce uncertainty about the future, to discover the most likely courses of action. He spends a little time at the end discussing how our country is already in collapse; a collapse that will simply continue, rather than being a sudden catastrophic event.

…One reason our society is already in collapse is because we can’t even agree on what American is. We’ve always had competing sides, but I think it could actually be different this time because so many on the Left are pushing so hard towards the Far Left. I don’t think it will be this election cycle that we swing hard left. But my concern is still that inequality is exploited so greatly and capitalism is so widely blamed for economic turmoil that in another decade we’ll have a legitimately far left government.

Our society is in collapse because half of America believes our Founders and their ideals are evil. Our society is in collapse because somewhere around one-third to one-half of us believe that government’s sole purpose is to take care of its citizens from cradle to grave, and to provide universal, fundamental human rights like healthcare and the freedom from want. Our society is in collapse because we’ve lost the one thing that used to unite us, which is the desire for freedom and liberty. We’ve lost our freedom and liberty incrementally since this country’s founding. And I say country, because we’re are no longer a nation. We are a country made of numerous nations, and that’s why I’m pessimistic about social cohesion.

Yes, it is an assumption; in fact, it’s my key assumption, that as things get worse financially and economically in America, that things will also get tougher socially and politically. I feel safe in making that assumption, because we’re already seeing this “low intensity conflict” bubbling beneath the surface of our country. And I’m concerned that the next election will make things much, much worse.

And if you want to talk about the value of intelligence analysis applied to SHTF preparedness, we really have to start with what Democrats are planning once they return to power. That, by the way, ends with how national-level politics will affect you locally…

FO: How to Start an ACE for Community Security

Sam Culper at Forward Observer has posted How do I start an ACE for community security or emergency preparedness? This article gives a brief overview of the analysis part of producing intelligence products. Sam has a wealth of information on this topic, and his book SHTF Intelligence is still available for in depth knowledge.

One of the major commitments I’m going to make to you in 2019 is to answer more questions and write more articles about intelligence and SHTF security. (And there’s a brand new Intelligence video series I’m recording for the Schoolhouse next month.)

I understand a lot of Americans are preparing for some very dire scenarios, and 2019 is showing no signs of slowing down with regard to instability and downside risk.

This morning, I want to write you my answer to a question from a Fox Company member:

“What are the first steps a [mutual assistance group] should take to build their ACE?”

First, let’s define the ACE. It stands for Analysis & Control Element, and it’s our intelligence section for disaster response, emergency preparedness, community security, an SHTF event, or however you want to characterize local operations.

Second, the best way to answer this question is to look at this like a progression:

1. Identify the threat/scenario
2. Define the mission
3. Build an ACE that can support the mission

We build the mission to respond to the threat.

For instance, a general and simple mission statement might look like this:

“Provide security operations for the community to prevent looters and potentially violent criminals from disrupting disaster relief efforts.”

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

Forward Observer: Left Wing Outlets Push “Abolish the Senate” Message

From Forward Observer, Left wing outlets push “Abolish the Senate” message:

“Abolish the Senate.”

There’s growing sentiment in left wing circles that to achieve fairness in politics, the Senate should be abolished. (I’ll explain how in a moment…)

This opinion’s been published in left wing outlets like ThinkProgress, GQ, Washington Post, Jacobin, and others.

It was trending on social media and has been featured on left wing blogs.

Last month, Hillary Clinton called for abolishing the Electoral College. Now many progressives want to dismantle one part of the system of checks and balances.

I continually provide evidence that the United States is in a high grade culture war and that we’ve already entered into a low grade domestic conflict.

And every time I second guess or have doubts about my conclusions, I look at just how far left the Left wants to push our society, politics, and the U.S. Government.

A growing number of them want to end the American system of governance as as know it.

Here’s their argument against the Senate

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

FO: What Most People Get Wrong About Our ‘Civil War’

Sam Culper at Forward Observer has another piece in this series covering our ongoing domestic conflict, What most people get wrong about our ‘Civil War.’ It’s got some length to it, but it’s a good read with valuable information for you to understand.

…While a civil war, by definition, has not yet started, I do argue that a domestic conflict has already started (my specific thoughts are here, here, and here).

There are plenty of naysayers, and I understand their logic. They advise listeners or readers, “Go to your local Walmart or grocery store. Your local doctor’s office. Your local bank. Walk out your front door and talk to your neighbor.” They ask if Americans are at war with each other in these places, and use these anecdotes to explain that America isn’t locked into a civil war and won’t be.

They’re right in that regard. America isn’t at war.

But the problem with their argument is that it’s not all of America fighting the culture war, nor is it all of America fighting in the ongoing domestic conflict. It’s an ‘irate, tireless minority’. (The brunt of the ‘fighting’ in this conflict isn’t being waged by the average American, as two of my favorite thinkers people in the world — Victor Davis Hanson and Niall Ferguson — have alluded to. You can read my review of Ferguson’s latest book here.)

Another reason why most Americans — the overwhelming majority — aren’t engaged in our domestic conflict is because we’re still really early. Those engaged in establishing the battle lines of today’s culture war were ‘innovators’ in the 1990s. Those engaged in the culture war through the 2008 and 2016 elections were ‘early adopters’. But once the ‘early majority’ joins as soon as 2019-2021, the evidence of an active domestic conflict could be overwhelming. That’s a very distinct possibility.

My estimate is that we have maybe a few percent of the population pushing left or right extremes at the center of the culture war, but there’s an even smaller percentage (a fraction) that actually engages in political violence. There’s probably another 10 percent on either side actively engaged in political, information, and economic warfare. The remaining 75 percent is on the bubble, indifferent, or just plain stuck in the middle — a lot like other intra-state conflicts we’ve experienced.

So can we really have a domestic conflict with just a few thousand combatants?

Well, yeah. But we’re probably still very early.

To understand why we’re still in the beginning phases of our domestic conflict, we can look at three concepts…

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

Related:

The Organic Prepper: Are You Prepared for Lockdown? How to Stay Safe When All Hell Breaks Loose in America

…Add in the fiercely-fought midterm elections and the threat of civil unrest is high…

Strategic Culture Foundation: American Politics Is Now Just Civil War by Other Means

…Trump didn’t cause today’s polarization, he only exacerbates it because he punches back…

Monster Hunter Nation: The 2nd Amendment is Obsolete, Says Congressman Who Wants To Nuke Omaha

…We are so divided it’s like we are speaking two different languages. Hell, on this topic we are on two different planets. And it is usually framed with a sanctimonious left versus right, enlightened being versus racist hillbilly, unfailing arrow of history versus the knuckle dragging past sort of vibe…

Forward Observer: October Update on the Second American Civil War

The intel folks at Forward Observer have written a follow up piece on a possible second American civil war.

One of the central themes in contemporary insurgent movements is the relationship between armed combatant groups and their ostensibly peaceful political party cohorts.

The Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein in Ireland. Hezbollah, the Shi’ite militant group, and Hezbollah, the Shi’ite political party, in Lebanon. The YPG militant group and the Democratic Union Party in Kurdistan/Syria. Jaysh al-Mahdi and the Sadrist Party in Iraq. The Badr Brigade and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.

There are numerous other examples of political parties having militant wings, in addition to examples of militant organizations establishing themselves as political parties during a conflict.

Historically, insurgent campaigns are more likely to lead to political resolutions than martial victories, so militant organizations must have political representation. On the other hand, violence carried out by a militant wing provides leverage for the political party and an incentive for governments to solve political issues peacefully.

Neither side necessarily has direct influence or control over the other, but they often act to accomplish mutually beneficial goals. A militant wing can offer muscle to a political party, and the political party can provide judicial protections to the militant wing.

So what I want to draw some attention to today is the association of Leftist militant organizations and various factions of the Democratic Party, as one potential way forward in the current domestic conflict. Specifically, I want to point out that while these militant groups don’t necessarily seek or depend on permission to commit violence, some Democratic Party voices offer that permission none the less. And the relationship between Leftist militant groups and the Democratic Party is often tenuous. While many (maybe most) militant Leftists have a disdain for the Democratic Party for not being radical enough, that doesn’t prevent actions that could be mutually beneficial for both sides.

Whether we’re talking about 1970s radical and former attorney general Eric Holder (“Michelle [Obama] says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ [Applause.] No. No. When they go low, we kick ’em.”), Hillary Clinton saying that maintaining civility with Republicans is futile, California Democrat Maxine Waters encouraging her constituents to harass Republicans and Trump cabinet members, a campaign staffer for a Democratic politician saying that President Trump should be executed (an action for which he later denied his support), or other examples of green lighting incivility in the political and culture war, there’s ample evidence that major voices of the Democratic Party are dog whistling that violence is permissible, while officially denying support for political violence against opponents. There are many, many other examples beyond Holder, Clinton, and Waters. (See my last post for additional information.)

Beyond mainstream Democrats, there’s the growing “Democratic Socialist” faction whose ideologies are steeped in the revolutionary histories of Marxist and Leninist movements. Considering that many Leftist militant groups are supportive of “Democratic socialism”, a political movement that gains mainstream legitimacy — what we’re starting to see now — should be alarming. And then there’s also a growing communist movement in the United States, as revolutionary vanguard communist groups form across the country. There’s a very overt effort to label mainstream conservative voices as “fascist” and “Nazi”, in a successful effort to rationalize violence…

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

Forward Observer: 2019 Is Shaping Up to Be an Ugly, Brutal Year

From the intel guys at Forward Observer:

civil unrest

…The central hallmark of low intensity conflict is action below conventional war but above peaceful competition. We’ve had some pretty low lows in politics, but this period does seem to have escalated above peaceful competition between Republicans and Democrats. Fundamentally, there’s nothing inherently wrong with winning elections to stop an opposing party’s agenda. But when politics becomes subject to rule bending and breaking — the erosion of political norms often referred to as “guardrails” in civil society — we’re no longer seeing peaceful political competition. We can go as far back as gerrymandering, IRS targeting of conservative groups, and the show stopping of Merrick Garland as three prominent examples. And if that’s truly the case — that we’ve devolved into sustained open political warfare — then the country may well be stuck in a low intensity conflict at continual risk of organized political violence.

Looking forward to the next 12 months, I fear the convergence of two major trends: incivility in politics that breeds political violence and a recession that puts 10-25% of Americans out of work. It’s entirely possible that we arrive at this juncture of American history in 2020. Since the Democrats plan to make 2019 disruptive, there’s no reason to believe that 2020 would be any calmer. As ugly as the past two years have been, there are reasons to believe that 2019 and 2020 will be worse.

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

Carolina Preppers Network Hurricane Response

The Carolina Preppers Network (CPN) has a write up on their response during and after Hurricane Florence. The CPN started a small group for the purpose of helping people become better prepared in times of crises.

Carolina Preppers Network Hurricane Response

The Carolina Preppers Network hurricane response was something with which to be impressed. For those who don’t know, CPN is an education/support organization with members in North and South Carolina. There are no membership dues and all participants are volunteers with groups meeting regularly in many towns and cities. The organization has been led by Forrest Garvin for the past few years now and during that time, it has grown from fewer than 300 participants to more than 8,500 today. CPN wasn’t created to be a disaster response organization along the lines of the American Red Cross or Samaritan’s Purse, but rather an information swapping and educational resource to help individuals become prepared to be self-supporting in times of crises. But during Hurricane Florence, CPN grew into more. Retreat Realty is proud to be one of the corporate sponsors, especially so after seeing how CPN directly impacted and saved lives during Hurricane Florence.

Days before landfall, Forrest sent out notifications to members via CPN’s Team App calling for those who could assist to help with the gathering of information (intel) and coordination of resources where needed once the hurricane came ashore. This was coordinated with leadership of the Cajun Navy, the Gulf Coast volunteer organization that became famous during Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey during which those volunteers provided their own shallow draft boats to rescue thousands from precarious situations. For several days, the leadership team of CPN worked nearly nonstop using the Zello smart phone app as well as HAM radio operators via AmRRon (the American Redoubt Radio Operators Network) and working with Forward Observer to receive calls for assistance and disseminate that information to Cajun Navy responders among other things. This coordinated effort was a significant example of how a group of loosely organized individuals can operate as efficiently or more so than larger government organizations.

There was one story of ladies stranded in their attic with water reaching up to them who were located by CPN who then notified Cajun Navy responders who rescued them. Other services involved coordinating housing and food for volunteers on the scene. One example is that of a call that came in from a Cajun Navy volunteer at 8:30 PM saying they needed housing for 10 to 30 persons. CPN volunteers called Crosspointe Church which promptly responded “What do you need and where?”, then another church provided a mission house and another had a multi-purpose facility where the volunteers could sleep and park their boats and trailers. Within an hour or so, they had the lodging they needed. All of these coordination efforts were done long distance through CPN volunteers in Charlotte, Asheville, Raleigh, Greenville (SC) and elsewhere. This goes to show that with modern technology, you can help from anywhere.

Something else that impressed me came from listening in on a conference call last night with the leadership team having an Action Review (“AR”) or debriefing of the event. There was plenty of well deserved back slapping and congratulatory words, but there was also a focus on what could have been done better and how to get ready for the next disaster whether it be from a hurricane, power failure or other catastrophic event. I believe Hurricane Florence will be remembered within CPN as the time when CPN “grew up” to become a life changer, putting theory into practice. I congratulate Forrest and all the others who gave up their time to help strangers and am proud to be a sponsor of this fine organization.

Related:

Forward Observer: Intel Support to Hurricane Florence & Disaster Response

Forward Observer: Notes on Hurricane Florence Disaster Response

Forward Observer: An Introduction to Fox Company and “Disaster Intelligence”

Radio Free Redoubt: AmRRON Coverage of Florence and EXSUM

 

 

 

Forward Observer: Community Security eBook

Sam Culper at Forward Observer has written a short (sixteen pages) ebook on Intelligence and Community Security. It’s a ‘quick start’ guide to understanding intelligence for community security and emergency preparedness.

The writing is on the wall. It couldn’t be more clear.

Our power grids are critically vulnerable.

“As an almost 30-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force with leadership experience in intelligence and cyber warfare, and as a current member of the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, I know we are highly vulnerable to a cyber-attack on our electric grid.

Such an attack could have devastating, long-term consequences for our economy, our national security – for our very way of life.”

Those are the recent words of Don Bacon (R-NE), a retired Air Force Brigadier General who was in charge of the Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) strategy program.

This “news” about the power grid shouldn’t be news to anyone, but it drives home a very good point…

If you care about your wife, children, family, and neighborhood, you should spend some time preparing for the effects of a cyber attack like the one Rep. Bacon describes.

The emergency preparedness community is so quick to focus on “bullets, beans, and band-aids” that they often overlook the value of local intelligence gathering.

Intelligence is probably the single-most overlooked aspect of preparedness, yet it should be a central part of your preparedness plans.

I’ll state the case:

If you’re concerned about a cyber attack or a grid-down event, you’re not actually preparing for those events. You’re preparing for the effects of those events.

But how do you know what the specific local effects will be, and how can you be sure?

Only intelligence can inform you of the second- and third-order effects of an event of this magnitude.

Only intelligence can inform you of very specific threats you may experience in the area.

Only intelligence can inform you of the likelihood that your neighborhood will suffer from looters, even worse criminals, and further systems disruption.

Bullets, beans, and band-aids will get you through periods of emergency, but they can’t inform your expectations of what will happen in the future.

That’s the value of intelligence…

Sam Culper says to share the ebook far and wide.  Click here to download Forward Observer’s Intelligence & Community Security ebook. It may only be freely available for a limited time.

So here’s what I want you to do…

PRINT IT.

Forward this email to your friends.

Give the book away.

Read it this weekend.

Have your friends read it this weekend.

And then act on it.

For the rest of this weekend, you can access the book here.

FO: Building an Intelligence Section for Community Security

Continuing with our recent intelligence theme, here is an article posted by Sam Culper today at Forward ObserverBuilding an Intelligence Section for Community Security. In it, he discusses why an intelligence team is necessary and how to get an intelligence team setup for your community.

First, we need to stress the importance of Intelligence as it relates to community security. The people in your preparedness group, security team — or just members of the community, for that matter — don’t know what they don’t know, and it’s not likely that they understand the value of Intelligence in the first place. The more our leadership, commander, and/or team members understand about Intelligence, the more likely they will see the extreme value of making it a priority. Illustrating the OODA Loop and how Intelligence plays a critical role in making informed, time-sensitive decisions is probably a very good first step. There are those communities which will implement intelligence and be more prepared, and there will be communities who don’t use intelligence. I believe the difference between the two will be visible.

Intelligence is critical in our ability to stay a step ahead of threats. The principles outlined on this blog are the same principles used by intelligence agencies and the military. Those two organizations happen to have roles in fighting terrorism; a mission of which community security is a microcosm. While we aren’t involved in fighting terrorists, what we may face in a worst-case scenario is a modified form of terrorism in our communities: in other words, violence against society. And we know that “no other single policy effort [other than intelligence] is more important for preventing, preempting, and responding to attacks.”

The second thing we can do is to develop some criteria we can include when scouting out potential ACE members; we need to find those mental giants capable of heavy lifting. There are probably individuals in your community who may not be able to physically contribute to security, but can certainly contribute mentally. These are the people we want…

Click here to read the whole article at Forward Observer.

RELATED:

FO: Four Bases of Intelligence and Community Security

FO: Four Type of Intelligence Collection for Community Security

FO: Why Intelligence Deserves a Role in Survival, Preparedness, and Community Security

FO: Why Intelligence Deserves a Role in Community Security

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:

Click here to read the whole article at Forward Observer.

Brushbeater: Developing, Exploiting Signals Intelligence

NC Scout at the Brushbeater blog has an article up, Developing and Exploiting Open Source Signals Intelligence, in which he discusses the types of information that you should be collecting now for your data books on local communication capabilities as well as foreign.  A third of Americans expect a civil war in the next five years. If a civil war indeed happens, then it’s likely there will be foreign meddling. It’s easier to find out information about capabilities now than during any hostilities.

IMG_1309…Back in the early days of this blog I wrote short blurbs about the importance of things called Data Books– which should be nothing new for veterans of more elite units out there and for Long Range Marksmen. But Data Books are not limited to recording Data On Previous Engagements (DOPE) on our weapon systems– it should also serve as a quick reference on a large number of topics for us as we operate in an area. Things that really come in handy, such as:

  • Flora and Fauna, both good and hazardous
  • Key Terrain Features, including Human, in the Area of Operations (AO)
    • Local gathering sites
    • Local persons of influence
  • Equipment recognition guide and data cards
  • Technology present in my AO

That last bit is critically important- there’s a reason every Intelligence agency has a technology analysis branch. We have to know what a potential adversary’s capabilities are, beginning with his principle enabler- communications. As I cover in the RTO course, advancements in radio technology being fielded in all areas is changing at a rapid rate. Civilian data in the US is publicly published. Even military data is not terribly hard- the specifics take some digging but glossing over but FCC Frequency Allocations gives a great starting point as to what can be found where. It might be a really good idea, and one I cover in class, to write down all of the license free band frequencies; you know, like the frequencies those MURS, FRS/GMRS, and Marine are actually on? That way if I happen to come across a group talking on 151.82mHz, I know know they’re on MURS 1 and can begin communications mapping of their capabilities.

Wait, what? Communications Mapping is not at all a hard concept- I listen for you, write down where you’re transmitting and a compass bearing (if I can get it) while also writing down any other pertinent information. Things like callsigns, male/female voices, times, languages, accents, emotions, the level of training, and if they’re even hostile from the traffic itself are all items that can tell us the level of organization (or lack thereof) of our adversary. And while it sounds simple, it takes discipline and training to execute correctly and to also remember- you’ll be on the receiving end of this as well

Read the entire article by clicking here.

 

Related:

Sparks31’s TECHINT blog post and his SIGINT class

Sparks31’s Police Scanner Workbook

Brushbeater’s Signals Intelligence Resources

Brushbeater’s SIGINT for the Small Unit

Forward Observer Interview with Sparks 31 on Communications Monitoring

Sparks 31’s Reference Material

Selco: Observe and Prepare for the Confusion, Panic, & Mayhem of SHTF

Numbers & Oddities frequency database and files

Electrospaces blog on SIGINT and telecommunication security

Sparks31: SIGINT and COMINT

Why such an emphasis on SIGINT, and in particular COMINT?

It is a good solution for two problems everyone needs to solve. The problems being a short and long term way to get useful information that you can then turn into tactical and strategic intelligence…There are many ways you can answer these questions. One of the easiest is with COMINT. Tactical COMINT is easy. It doesn’t take much to listen for interesting dispatch calls. Strategic is not hard either. It just takes listening and taking notes over a period of time.

What Role Militias?

Sam Culper at Forward Observer wrote a piece a month ago titled What Role Will Militias Play in the “Coming Unpleasantness”? in which he discusses a Navy Post-Graduate paper Rethinking Militias: Recognizing the Potential Role of Militia Groups in Nation-Building. Sam discusses a definition of militia and how they may be of importance in coming civil unrest in the USA.

A community based militia is one which has influence only over a very limited area, such as a village, or a neighborhood within a larger community. The militia is seen as a legitimate protective entity only by that community, and generally does not seek objectives beyond that community.

Being that local militias may become a central part of the security of a free state, we should be asking ourselves how we build legitimacy in the area. How do we become recognized as a necessary and desired part of the neighborhood? For me, this goes back to Intelligence Preparation of the Community. Tomorrow I’ll post a guide to determining support and opposition in your neighborhood (h/t Aesop), and that begins with intelligence collection and analysis. Almost everything in these scenarios goes back to intelligence.

NC Scout at the Brushbeater blog has written a response or follow up, So, What Role Will Militias Play In The ‘Upcoming Unpleasantness’, Anyway?  NC Scout comments on the Navy paper from his own personal experience and opines that in some areas the militia may end up the only lasting power structure in a prolonged civil unrest, but perhaps controlled by outside forces.

That look to the recent past is a very good look into the future. There should be no doubt about it, some very hard times are in our path. We had the largest mass political assassination attempt in history not that long ago and most have already forgot about it. We have leaders who instead of debating ideas have decided there is no further debate- contrary opinions must be wiped out and they routinely call for this on their propaganda platforms. The political corruption of our justice system is now completely exposed- these were always political organs– and the air of legitimacy is fading. Its a difficult situation but from a social science perspective, and a person with experience both as boots on the ground and as an academic studying this very topic, my opinion is that militias will not only play a very large role in the upcoming hard times, even ending as the very power structure for a time in some places. For all these reasons there’s some critical takeaways that need to be pointed out.

Both articles are worth your time.

FO: What Could “Collapse” Look Like?

The fine intelligence folks over at Forward Observer have posted What Could “Collapse” Look Like? Let’s Look at a Country Currently in Free Fall. No, it’s not Venezuela, but Mexico.

There’s no shortage of “collapsitarian” thought and literature out there. Make no mistake, I do believe that the United States will undergo a period of collapse, but as I’ve written previously, I don’t actually like that word: it’s so vague. (What is “collapse”? 25%? 50%? 100%? Read this for my thoughts on that.)

I certainly do expect a more difficult future for the next 10-20 or more years, but I would much rather identify specific challenges and components of “collapse” other than to just call it a collapse. America has different geographies, demographics, and cultures, and so not every area will look exactly the same. I just finished reading another blog post from a guy who peddles in collapsitarian fantasy, where he argues that America is in a “supercollapse” unlike anything in the history of the world. He doesn’t really describe what the “supercollapse” looks like and he doesn’t explain what we can expect as a result.

That, by the way, is the job of intelligence. Intelligence reduces uncertainty about the future. That’s the absolute value of having good information to produce good intelligence. Through clear thinking, structured analysis, and gaining an expertise on societies in collapse (historical and contemporary), we can absolutely gain some insight into our future challenges. There’s nothing wrong with collapsitarian literature, by the way; one very positive benefit is that each book is like a very entertaining brainstorming session that informs us of the full range of possibilities. That’s extremely beneficial, yet it’s not intelligence. The next step is to examine your local area, complete an Area Study, and begin thinking through the consequences and form some logical conclusions about how specific events or conditions would affect your area. You’re reducing uncertainty about the future by identifying what’s more likely and what’s less likely to happen. But I digress…

So what could our collapse look like at a local level? Let’s look no further than Mexico, our southern neighbor in absolute free fall, for some ideas. Here are a few things we’ve observed over the past year:

  • Mexico just elected a Leftist populist leader who railed against the incumbent president over 1) widespread corruption, 2) rising crime, 3) the inability to deal with the cartels, and 4) a lack of economic growth.
  • Drug cartels run Mexico. Underneath the positions of de jure power (the president, the congress, state governors, mayors, etc.) are echelons of de facto power. When we talk about collapse, this is the collapse of the Mexican government which lost political control over large swathes of their country. Do you remember the scene in Captain Philips, where the Somali pirate is holding the AK-47 and says, “Look at me. I am de captain now”? That’s the relationship between irregular forces in de facto authority/control over an area, and the government with de jure authority. And for much of Mexico, that’s the relationship between cartels, militias, and their federal government. That’s a great example of collapse.
  • The Associated Press last week reported about a rise in “mass crime” in Mexico…

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.