Forward Observer: Free Area Study Walkthrough

Heads up! Forward Observer is holding a free Aea Study walhtrough presentation, Thursday, March 26th, 2020 at 5:00pm Pacific time.

Hey Gang – THIS THURSDAY, I’ll be doing a free Area Study training session. I’ll livestream it and provide some time for Q&A.

It’s free and open to anyone who wants to get started with their Area Study, or who needs some guidance or motivation to finish one.

WHO: Samuel Culper
WHAT: SHTF Intelligence – Area Study Walkthrough
WHEN: Thurs, 26 March @ 7pm Central
WHERE: I’m still looking at platforms, but I’ll be sending out the invite-only link to everyone who registers here: https://SHTFintel.com

Yes, this session will be recorded. If you’re already a student/member, I’ll be adding it to your Forward Observer member area on Friday.

If not you’re not a Forward Observer member, you can still catch the livestream for free. You can attend this event for free. This won’t be a sales presentation. I’ll be going over real instruction and insight.

FREE: Sign up at https://SHTFintel.com and I’ll see you on Thursday evening.

Until then, be well.

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

P.S. – If you’ve been meaning to join FO for a while, you can do that when you’re ready at: https://members.forwardobserver.com

Below is an edited version of the webinar as given:

Forward Observer: COVID-19 Update

Intelligence analysis and training company Forward Observer sent out an email this morning with some COVID-19 news/updates.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Confirmed cases in the U.S. reached 1,257 — nearly a 24 percent increase from yesterday. Yesterday’s increase was 28 percent. The truth is that these numbers are way off. First, Chinese officials estimate that the U.S. had over 9,000 cases earlier this month, based on international flight data from Wuhan. Some American health officials are saying there’s likely to already be 20,000 cases nationwide.

A happy-medium estimate of 10,000 cases at a conservative 10 percent daily growth rate would put us over 3,000,000 cases in the next 60 days, by mid-May. While there may be some mitigating factors to exponential growth, we’re facing an incredibly disruptive future.

THE BAD NEWS: Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for the U.S. Senate, warned senators on Tuesday that anywhere from 70 to 150 million Americans will contract COVID-19.

To put this into perspective, according to the American Hospital Association, there are 36 million hospital admissions in the U.S. each year. If 20 percent of all COVID-19 patients require hospitalization, then there could be 14-30 million extra hospital admissions. Now, China reports that about 15 percent of patients require hospitalization, but Italy says that 50 percent of COVID-19 patients have required hospitalization! If we see anywhere near that range, there’s simply not going to be enough room or staff to treat that many people.

THE GOOD NEWS: The University of Maryland School of Medicine announced that the spread of COVID-19 should ease this year as temperatures rise. That’s the first medical institution I’ve seen backing that theory. Officials warned, however, that more northerly latitudes could continue to see outbreaks into summer.

AND THEN: That pretty much confirms that COVID-19 will be back in the fall for another round of outbreaks.

U.S.: President Trump announced a series of policy steps he’s taking to stop the spread of COVID-19. By far, the most disruptive policy is that travel from most European countries will effectively end for 30 days starting on Friday. American citizens and permanent residents will be exempt.

Boeing leads the pack of U.S.-based corporations tapping credit lines, saying they’ll take out a $13.8 billion loan as insurance against a cash flow crunch. Hilton Hotels is in for $1.75 billion. Meanwhile, San Francisco is reporting hotel revenue dropping by 46 percent, 35 percent in Seattle, and 20 percent in New York. With spring break upon us and summer break right around the corner, it’s going to be a tough and sparse few months for the tourism industry. Port activity was also down 20 percent on the West Coast for the month of February. (Although, by looking at the charts, they’re used to it: they saw worse in previous years during the height of the trade war.)

ECONOMIC WARNING: BlackRock, the nation’s largest asset manager with $7 trillion AUM, advised clients that they don’t see the COVID-19 pandemic “as an [economic] expansion-ending event” — just as long as an effective federal response is enacted. Still, they see “a sharp and deep economic slowdown in the near term.” (Analyst Comment: This outlook underscores their faith that massive fiscal stimulus and favorable monetary conditions can blunt any effects leading to a 2008-esque meltdown. Yeah, my fingers are crossed, too.)

Goldman Sachs’ David Kostin advised clients that the 11-year bull market run is over, and painted a bleak picture of economic reality: “Supply chains have been disrupted and final demand has declined for many industries. Travel is contracting sharply as both individuals and businesses restrict movement. Airlines, hotels, cruises, and casinos report plunging demand, lower occupancy, and cancellations. Employees are being furloughed.”

JPMorgan Chase is alerting its clients that “a market sell-off of this magnitude implied a 65-75% chance of recession in the next year,” but a “timely, strong counter-policy response” and “a peak of COVID-19” in the coming weeks should prove the market drop an overreaction. (AC: JPMorgan Chase is expecting a peak in the coming weeks, which is at odds with what epidemiologists are saying when they expect a continuation for months.)

SHORTAGES: Coca-Cola warned of potential shortages of Diet Coke, due to supplier disruption. (The next panic buy?) Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble is warning of coming shortages, as well, for the same reason. According to one economist, the “worst impact for businesses [will] come in April and May.” (AC: At some point, accusations of “panic buying” will no longer be sufficient to explain empty shelves, and the reality of shortages will set in. Based on what I’m hearing from China, there will be a period of weeks where shortages will persist. Those shortages could be sporadic or regional, based on where your local retailers source their goods. Regardless: it’s coming.) //END

STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE: https://members.forwardobserver.com

Each and every morning, I’m looking out for my readers. If you sign up and you’re not satisfied, just email me within seven days and I’ll refund your subscription. You literally have nothing to lose and a lot of warning signals to gain. You can sign up here: https://members.forwardobserver.com

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper

Forward Observer: After the Area Study – Next Steps

Chief intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer posts on the progression of intelligence products you and your group should work on to be prepared for local disasters and emergencies in After Area Studies: The Next Steps in SHTF Intelligence.

For the past few weeks, I’ve made Area Studies the primary focus of the blog and social media presence. If you want to get started in local intelligence for disasters and emergencies, the Area Study is your starting point.

For those new to SHTF Intelligence, here’s a progression of intelligence products, skills, and tasks you should be doing.

1. The Area Study – This intelligence product is the foundation of local intelligence efforts. It’s here, most importantly, where we learn 1) the significance of “Intelligence Value” and 2) the importance of identifying your intelligence gaps.

“Intelligence Value” is what what we assign to information that’s relevant to our mission. The more critical a piece of information is, the higher its intelligence value.

For instance, if your mission is pulling your neighbors out of flood waters, then knowing who needs to be helped and where they live becomes mission-critical information. During this mission, identifying these neighbors becomes one of your top priorities. Other information of intelligence value could include: future flood stages, anticipated depth of area flooding, debris in the area that could pose a hazard, other areas that could be affected by flood waters, how long the flooding will last, and the list goes on.

If flooding is a risk, then you’re going to want to put local flood zone maps in your Area Study.

An “intelligence gap” is literally a gap in our knowledge. These gaps are things we need to know but don’t. Identifying your intelligence gaps is a critical step because it’s here where we identify what we need to collect. All intelligence gathering is directed through these intelligence gaps in the form of Collection Requirements. Once we have our Collection Requirements, then we can focus on collecting.

Through our Area Study, we want to identify threats, assets, fault lines, and vulnerabilities, among other things. Intelligence reduces uncertainty about the future. If I don’t understand my Operating Environment, then I won’t understand my assets and liabilities. I can’t plan for preparedness and security if I don’t understand who and what will affect my community’s security.

If you want to get started on an Area Study, the best and easiest way is to take my Area Intelligence Course.

2. Build Local Networks – While doing your Area Study, with a particular focus on the Human Terrain, you’re going to want to start building your local intelligence network.

In our Area Study, we should be identifying our neighbors and other important or valuable people in the area. If you don’t know your neighbors, go meet them. I recently moved to a new area and started taking walks when my neighbors are getting home from work. It gives me an opportunity to introduce myself and start learning more about them. I’m building rapport with them and looking for signs of like-mindedness. (I started a Neighborhood Watch in my previous neighborhood, which allowed me to go door to door and get contact information to begin this process. I highly recommend doing that. Joining a website like NextDoor will also give you opportunities to meet and communicate with your neighbors.)

In my Area Study, I need to separate these people into three categories: A) develop, B) inform and influence, and C) monitor.

A. I need to develop like-minded people. At a minimum, that means building a relationship with them. The end goal is to develop these neighbors into valuable and cooperative members of a neighborhood watch and/or preparedness group. If you can build enough trust and rapport, invite them to the gun range or other training with you. Get them “bought in” to developing tactical, medical, communications, intelligence, and/or other skills, especially if they share the same concerns about the future.

B. I need to inform and influence my neighbors who are indifferent towards preparedness. People are busy and get distracted. Between work schedules, their kids’ football practice and karate, Netflix, news propaganda, and other things, it’s easy to completely ignore the country’s fault lines. Many times, these people would be very concerned if they knew about the risks and dangers. It’s our job to inform them and then influence them towards preparedness. (My parents are a great example. I’ll relay to them information that concerns me and they can’t believe FoxNews isn’t talking about it. Over the years, I’ve worked on informing and influencing them towards preparedness. Last time I visited, my dad had a closet stacked floor to ceiling with food and water. It’s a start.) Share information in NextDoor, invite these people over for dinner, get your kids on the same soccer team; whatever you have to do to gain access and start building trust and rapport with these people, do it. Once you can prove that a) you’re not a weirdo and b) that you’re an intelligent and competent human being, then you can being sharing information to inform and influence. (Ask for their opinion on these things. See where they sit. Confirm their suspicions, encourage their own self-study of these threats, and, most importantly, don’t become “that guy.”)

C. I want to monitor neighbors who are sketchy, involved in criminality, or could otherwise oppose or disrupt our efforts for community security, especially during a disaster or emergency. (I’m not saying to peer out your window or to conduct surveillance. Just keep an eye out.) Familiarity is a double-edged sword. Yes, it’s always good to get to know your neighbors, but it’s not always good for them to get to know you. Identify these people. If you have to, run background checks. See if these people are “familiar faces” to local law enforcement. Ask your like-minded neighbors what they know about these people. Determine the threat level of the people in this category, add that information to your Area Study, and make considerations when planning for disasters and emergencies.

What we ultimately want to do is move people up the chain: turn B’s into A’s, and develop A’s into security partners.

Once we’ve done our Area Study and identified our collection requirements, we can start relying on our A’s and security partners to, wittingly or unwittingly, provide us with information of intelligence value.

C. Get Your ACE in Gear – The Analysis & Control Element (ACE) is our local intelligence cell. It’s the control room of our intelligence efforts. We’ve demonstrated the value of running of an ACE numerous times, including Operation Urban Charger (2015) when we battletracked the Ferguson riot.

During a disaster or emergency, we’ll need to produce real-time intelligence. If you expect to make decisions, you must be well-informed. You only bridge that gap through an intelligence effort.

This is why I, as much as possible, steer preppers away from accumulating more stuff and towards developing a local intelligence network and building an ACE.

When this disaster or emergency strikes — be it a hurricane, flood, wildfire, EMP/CME, grid down, protracted conflict, whatever it may be — I want to have my preparedness group form an ACE to direct collection, monitor the security situation, and produce real-time intelligence. (Read my Ultimate ACE Startup Guide here.)

In the ACE, we need a central repository for information and group members who know what to do with it. This means that I have to train up my preparedness group in intelligence skills. Much of intelligence collection is intuitive — you have questions, you need answers, and you go find that information somewhere with the skills and resources you have.

What requires some education and training is running an entire network and getting your information turned into actionable or predictive intelligence. Improving your intelligence gathering skills means more efficient collection of a greater intelligence value. Improving the way you analyze information means more accurate and timely intelligence. That results in improving your security, surviving, and/or winning a conflict. This is why I teach intelligence collection and analysis for a living…

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

Forward Observer: Coronavirus & the Area Study

Intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer has a few thoughts relating to coronavirus and what you might think of related to your area study.

News from China over the weekend shows that 760 million people are on some form of lock down or quarantine as the government tries to contain the spread of Coronavirus. That’s three quarters of a billion people.

In other words, over half the entire country is being told when they can leave their homes and for how long.

Last night, my wife and I started watching a documentary series on Netflix called Pandemic, in which American pathologists repeatedly say that we’re not prepared for a pandemic in America.

Pathologists continually say that it’s not a matter of “if” but a matter of when.

Most striking to me was when a physician warned that a slight mutation that resulted in a novel strain of highly lethal influenza, swine flu, or avian flu could end up killing millions of people.

My thoughts then went to second- and third-order effects:

What happens if a virus affects farm workers?

What happens if food delivery stops?

What happens if large cities or rural areas are quarantined?

What happens if pathologists discover that the virus can be or is being spread through the pipes carrying our drinking water?

And that brings my thoughts to my own level of preparedness, and specifically to my Area Study.

We build an Area Study so we can better understand our neighborhoods, who lives there, what fault lines it has, where we’re vulnerable, and what conditions could develop during an emergency.

For those of you building an Area Study, here are some pandemic considerations:

1. What medical facilities nearest to me will handle patients infected by a pandemic disease or virus?

2. How well staffed and supplied are those hospitals? In other words, how many patients can the facility house and treat, and how long can they respond before they encounter constraints on resources? (One of the limiting factors in China is that some areas have run out of Coronavirus test kits.)

3. Every county in America should have an emergency operations action plan. Have they considered a pandemic and what are their plans to respond to one? (Ask your local county officials where you can find the county’s emergency action plan. Or start with an online search: “[My County] Emergency Action Plan” I found my county’s plan via the web.) What facilities in the area might be used to treat patients that can’t fit in the hospital?

4. What are the second- and third-order effects of a pandemic? How long can my neighborhood/area function if placed under quarantined? If the virus isn’t in my area, how can I know if people are escaping the quarantine in surrounding areas (as has happened in China)? Will an outbreak or quarantine cause a mass migration? If so, how will that affect me?

I’ll be doing some research into how we can add a pandemic annex to our Area Study and what information should go into it.

In the meantime, if you have any specific considerations that you’d like to share, please let me know. You can add a comment to this post and I can include your input when I send out the next email on pandemic preparedness.

Related:

Forward Observer: An Introduction to the Area Study

Forward Observer: Area Study Part II

Forward Observer: Compiling Your Area Study (Part II)

Chief intelligence analyst Sam Culper at Forward Observer has posted this second part of the area study article he started here.

In the last post, I covered why you need an Area Study and left you with a practical exercise. In this post, we’ll start looking at the Operating Environment.

First, we need to begin by identifying the boundaries of our Operating Environment. We call this the Area of Operations, or AO.

Defining the AO will help us focus on this area specifically. Your AO might be your home and property, or your subdivision or neighborhood. Wherever you expect to operate during an emergency should be considered your AO. Identify your expectations: do you plan to stick close to home, will you patrol your neighborhood, or will you be traveling to a bug out location? In short, where ever you will be during an emergency is your AO.

I’m often asked, “How far away from my home can information still be relevant?” Answer: If it’s in your AO, then it could directly affect you and it could very relevant.

Outside your AO is your Area of Interest, or AI.

Your AI is the area where things can indirectly affect you. During an emergency, what happens in my AO is my primary concern, but I’m still interested in what’s happening in my AI. That’s the difference with these boundaries.

Important Note: You’re going to define these areas on a map or, preferably, a map overlay. Draw out the boundaries. They could be circles, squares, or some odd shapes, but we want to define these boundaries so our teammates understand this concept. Your teammates may be your preparedness group, your neighborhood watch, or your neighbors during an emergency. If you want to be squared away and you want them to know that you’re squared away, start with defining your AO and AI boundaries on a map.

Next, we want to start looking at the significant characteristics of the AO and AI.

Specifically, we’re looking at the six layers of our Operating Environment. You’re going to want to identify these characteristics specifically. These are all the things that can affect you during an emergency, which is why we want to identify them and their effects before the emergency occurs.

Physical Terrain: The Physical Terrain includes traditional terrain features — mountains, hills, valleys, lakes, rivers, etc. — and man-made features like roads, houses, buildings, fences, etc. Weather is often grouped in with physical terrain, so we’ll cover weather and climate patterns, as well. Understanding how these factors could influence future events, developments, and/or conditions is an intelligence task.

Human Terrain: The Human Terrain includes the people, along with their attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and customs. From a community perspective, identifying all the elements of the Human Terrain helps us to identify security partners and potential threats and foes, especially if disaster were to strike. The better we understand the people who surround us, the more accurate expectations we can have about the future.

Critical Infrastructure: Critical Infrastructure includes the facilities and people who provide access to food, water, fuel, electricity, transportation, commerce, communications, and the internet; all of which are critical to the average AO.

Politics/Governance: Politics and governance includes elected officials, political appointees, government employees, their institutions and facilities, and their political and ideological beliefs. The better we understand how local political and governance works, the better informed we can be of their potential future decisions, especially during a protracted emergency.

Law Enforcement/Military/Security: Police departments, sheriffs’ offices, National Guard and Reserve components of the military, and private security corporations all take part in security and emergency operations. Understanding these organizations or units, their personnel, and their capabilities goes a long way in staying informed of what they’re likely to do in the future.

Economic/Financial: And finally, the economic and financial drivers of a community matter, especially if these systems are disrupted. Disruptions to economic and financial factors have very significant second- and third-order consequences, and understanding how these factors will affect the community is critical.

Practical Exercise #2…

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

Forward Observer: An Introduction to the Area Study

The intelligence guys at Forward Observer have an introduction to the area study posted. Having knowledge of your area is critical in any emergency situation. Being familiar with your area is more than just knowing a few streets along your normal routes. If you’re worried about a pandemic, some questions you may have might include: how many doctors are in my area; where are all of the medical facilities near my home/work; who will enforce a mandatory quarantine in my area; does my work/city/county have a pandemic response/preparedness plan;can you continue to work if you are quarantined to your home? If you wanted to be ready for political civil unrest, you may have an entirely different set of questions for your area study.

Chances are good that you and I have a lot in common.

We’re both concerned about the future of this country. Natural disasters, a financial crisis, economic decline, disruption to the power grid, a pandemic, political violence, a full-on Boogaloo… the list goes on and on.

From a risk and intelligence perspective, all of these are very valid concerns.

Americans purchase and acquire a lot of things in order to prepare for these events, but information is often overlooked as a critical component of preparedness.

I’m here right now to convince you of one thing: the absolute need for localized intelligence when any of these events occur.

The stuff you own isn’t going to produce intelligence for you.

No amount of beans, bullets, and band-aids will allow you to collect real-time intelligence during an emergency.

No amount of beans, bullets, and band-aids will reduce your uncertainty about what happens in the future.

No amount of beans, bullets, and band-aids can drive your decision-making during an emergency.

Only intelligence can do that.

Only intelligence can give you a more accurate picture of what’s happening now and a more accurate expectation of what could happen in the future.

And when we have accurate expectations of the future, we can be better prepared.

So what’s the best way to get started with local intelligence?

The Area Study.

During an emergency, we’re going to have blind spots. Another term for blind spot is an “intelligence gap,” or something that we don’t know but need to know. You are going to have lots of intelligence gaps.

One of the best things about doing an Area Study is that we can identify these intelligence gaps before an emergency event happens…

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

FO: How to Build an Area Study for Emergencies and Community Security

FO: The Area Study: Disaster Intelligence (Part One)

 

AmPart: Why Intel Matters

Yesterday, we posted another article from American Partisan on building an intelligence fusion center for your group. Today, we post an article which Sam Culper of Forward Observer wrote for American Partisan entitled The Decision Advantage: Why Intel Matters. Sam lays out why it is so important to be able to gather information and produce intelligence.

Several years ago, I had the great opportunity to train at an elite facility in the Carolinas. Throughout the training sessions, our instructor spoke of the ‘psychological advantages’ of why and how we do things in a gunfight. The goal of these courses wasn’t just to produce individuals who can shoot, but to graduate individuals who can think and shoot — in other words, to teach people to make sound decisions in a high stress environment like a gunfight.

Close your eyes and put yourself momentarily in a gunfight; it doesn’t matter if you choose an active shooter situation at your work or you wind up on some side street in Baghdad. What goes through your mind as you realize someone is shooting at you? Where is your nearest cover? Where is the shooter? Where are your teammates? How many shooters are there? Should you fight through the ambush?

Your brain is trying to process very quickly lots of different operations, which is why most people freeze in a situation like this. Overwhelmed by this massive problem it’s never seen before, the brain just shuts down. It doesn’t know what to do or how to respond. It’s not fight or flight — it’s fight, flight, or freeze. Humans are generally good at solving problems that we’ve solved before, but relatively few of us are good at solving problems they’ve never encountered. This is why we train.

Now let’s take this same concept — that access to information helps you to maintain situational awareness and make better decisions — and move it up one level. Aside from a beating heart, the brain is the most important part of you, and the brain is the most important part of an organization. A preparedness group, a community security team, or neighborhood watch needs a brain: a command center where information is received and intelligence is produced. Just like we can’t make sound decisions in a firefight without access to information, we can’t make sound decisions for our security as a family, group, or community without similar access to information. You’d never go into a firefight wearing a blindfold, so why would anyone go into an emergency situation without knowing how to collect timely intelligence information? It seems like a very rudimentary concept — that navigating a complex threat environment requires the ability to gather tactical intelligence on what’s going on beyond your line of sight — yet many Americans are prepared to remain blindfolded.

Let’s go back to an infrequent but still likely scenario — there’s civil unrest following a natural disaster. Think Hurricane Katrina. There’s no power, no public utilities, catastrophic damage, and lots of needy people, many of whom are out looking for targets of opportunity. If we’re interested in the security of our family and/or community then we need to gather intelligence beyond your line of sight and hearing ability; anything less and we should consider ourselves blindfolded, which would be a mistake of our own doing.

I’d hate to beat a dead horse like the OODA Loop, but it does bear repeating. The OODA Loop concept was developed by Col. John Boyd (USAF, Ret.), a fighter pilot interested in how his pilots could make better and faster decisions while in a dog fight.  OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act, and it describes the process by which humans make decisions. (Observing in this case is really a misnomer. We need to be observing, listening, and sensing. We also need to ensure that we’re connected with others who are also observing, listening, and sensing.)

The ultimate goal today — that goes doubly for combat shooters — is how to speed up our own OODA Loops while disrupting the enemy’s OODA, thus slowing down his decision-making process. In the case of intelligence, what we’re achieving by speeding up our OODA Loop is a ‘decision advantage’ for our commander or decision-makers.

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

AmPart: Building Your ACE/Fusion Center

We’ve heard a lot in the past from Forward Observer about building up your intelligence capabilities. Just in case you dismissed that as one organization crying out in the wilderness, here is an article from Gray Man at American Partisan on how to build an analysis control element (ACE) for analyzing the information that you have collected and turning it into actionable intelligence, whether that is for a disaster, civil unrest, or other purpose.

In the intelligence world, we have to coordinate all of the intelligence coming in, obviously. Intelligence drives the mission. In the civilian world, you could stick with that or change it to “information dictates action”.

In order to coordinate and analyze the information coming in, you’ll do yourself a favor to set up what is called an analysis control element (ACE). You could also refer to it as your “fusion” center, seeing as you should be able to fuse together and analyze all of the intelligence you collect and compile it into useful products to drive your activities. All-source, for my current purposes, consists of using HUMINT and SIGINT to the best of your abilities.

HUMINT is human intelligence, intelligence gained by interrogation, elicitation, debriefing, source running, surveillance, reconnaissance, tradecraft, etc. Basically, you’re using yourself (your brain, ears, eyes and your words) and other people to collect intelligence.

SIGINT is signals intelligence, and covers a wide array of electronic intelligence collection techniques. This includes things like electronic surveillance, hacking, wiretapping, etc. For our purposes, it involves monitoring radio traffic and listening in on signals using basic AM/FM radio, satelitte radio, shortwave receivers and police scanners and if you’re so inclined, CBs and ham. You’re going to want to visit the Brushbeater website by NCScout for the best SIGINT information available.

In order to build your ACE, you need to have some equipment. There is a bare minimum amount of equipment you’ll need in order to have what I would call a functional ACE.

Police scanner. My recommendation mirrors that of several other bloggers. That is the Uniden Home Patrol II scanner. Use this as part of your early warning system (EWS).

A decent AM/FM radio. This is good for open source radio news collection and some weather reports. Another point for your EWS.

Shortwave receiver. I recommend the GP-5. Credit for that recommendation goes to NCScout. That’s three pieces of EWS gear.

– Topographical and street maps of your AO and any AO relevant to you. 24 inches by 36 inches is a good size. Check this piece on topo maps recently posted by our own NCScout. USGS Store and MyTopo are two other good sources for maps. You need to know the terrain features and routes in all relevant AOs. Get some Duralar plastic film or something similar to create overlays using dry erase markers so you aren’t writing on the maps themselves.

– Get some folders and start keeping files on relevant people, places and things in your AO. A police chief who sees himself as an overlord as opposed to a public servant is a good subject to keep a file on. A nearby neighborhood with a history of drugs and violence would be as well. Don’t just keep files on potential adversaries though. Keep files on people who might be sympathetic to your cause and purposes for future use.

– Get a binder and keep track of current and potential sources of information. This will help when you have a specific intelligence gap you need filled, and you can thumb through your sources and see who can provide that information to you. It’s also useful when deconflicting sources. You don’t want the same person telling you and your neighbors multiple different stories just to gain favor with everyone.

– Obviously I would recommend a good laptop with reliable internet access. This will enable use of Google Earth and other mapping systems, open source intelligence (OSINT) collection via the web, etc. I’m sure no more explanation is required as to why you’d like to have a web-connected computer in your ACE.

Obtain a copy of FM 2-22.3. This is the US Army manual on HUMINT operations.

– Newspapers are generally slow and full of propaganda, but I can’t tell you how much OSINT I was able to collect from newspapers, especially during my time in the Far East. If you’re so inclined, subscribe to some, online or on actual paper.

– If you’ve got the budget and skills, CB and ham are great options for SIGINT collection and I highly recommend you obtain some capabilities in those areas. Another EWS force multiplier.

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan. And you can read and learn plenty more about intelligence collection and analysis at ForwardObserver.com.

Forward Observer Class Schedule

Forward Observer has announced their remaining class schedule for 2019 and early 2020. There is an online Area Study class in November, and FO will be in Tacoma, WA in June, 2020 to teach a Tactical Intelligence class.

I’ll be teaching the Tactical Intelligence Course in more than a dozen places next year. By request, I’ll also be teaching an Advanced Collection Course and the Operations Security/Communications Security (OPSEC/COMSEC) Course.
2019

12 NOV: Area Study Live (Online)

07-08 DEC: Tactical Intelligence Course – Orlando, FL

 

2020

11-12 JAN: Tactical Intelligence Course – Austin, TX

18-20 JAN: Tactical Intelligence Course + OPSEC/COMSEC – Nashville, TN

29 FEB – 01 MAR: Tactical Intelligence Course – Phoenix, AZ

21-22 MAR: Tactical Intelligence Course – Dallas, TX

28-29 MAR: TBA

25-26 APR: Tactical Intelligence Course – Minneapolis, MN

23-24 MAY: Tactical Intelligence Course + OPSEC/COMSEC – Las Vegas, NV

6-7 JUN: Tactical Intelligence – Tacoma, WA

25-26 JUL: Tactical Intelligence – Pittsburgh, PA

AUG: TBA

SEP: TBA

OCT: TBA

NOV: TBA

DEC: TBA

If you want to get enrolled in a scheduled course, do it early. These courses will fill up!

* As always, once you’ve taken this course, you can take a refresher course for free, as long as there’s space available. This applies to SHTF Intelligence Course grads.

Forward Observer: New Predictions of “Civil War”

This short piece of today’s Forward Observer Dispatch and intelligence analyst Sam Culper:

Combing through my daily read file today, I came across an interesting piece of information.

According to a Georgetown University survey, 7 in 10 Americans say that the country is “on the edge of civil war.”

The executive director of the institute that conducted the Battleground Poll Civility survey says that the climate is going to make the 2020 election “a sort of race to the bottom, or has the potential to be a race to the bottom.”

That’s not news, but it’s continuing evidence to support the take that a large portion of Americans are uneasy about the country’s future.

There are lots of predictions that impeachment is going to cause massive civil unrest.

As I covered in one of my Early Warning reports this week, there’s solid evidence to suggest that left wing activists will push mass mobilization during the impeachment process to pressure the Senate to remove President Trump from office. Bottom line: you should expect mass mobilization of activists and protestors across the country.

If you share the concern that civil unrest will surround the impeachment process, here’s the absolute first thing I’d do…

LOOK LOCALLY.

Identify the left wing and right wing activist groups that operate in your area, or the areas closest to you. Make a list.

If left wing activists mobilize to conduct protest activities ranging from civil disobedience to ‘direct action,’ then you can expect some disruption to take place.

That disruption may include the blocking of key bridges and intersections, commercial and worker strikes, student walk outs, the harassment of Trump supporters or other Republicans, and potentially political violence…

Forward Observer: Five Lines of Effort for Community – WROL

In this video, intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer focuses on the five areas that he want to do for his tribe or community in case of a worst case scenario or without rule of law (WROL) situation. Intelligence drives operations. You can’t respond effectively without knowing what is what and who is who.

  1. Establish local security (legitimacy and protection)
  2. Establish positive control of the situation
  3. Restore essential services (water, electricity, at least in your immediate area)
  4. Support economic & infrastructure development (Local barter system? Safe roads. What can you produce in your area?)
  5. Conduct information management (Get news and local information out to people who need it or to deter suspicious/malicious persons)

AmPart: Community Security Toolkit – SPACE

Sam Culper, chief intelligence analyst for Forward Observer, has written an article for American Partisan on the intelligence tool called SPACE analysis for signature, profile, associations, contrast and exposure.  He explains how to use this tool to identify weakness in an opponent’s security measures or to evaluate your own. Who are your opponents? It could be gangs, political extremists, criminals, competitors for scarce resources or any number of other groups.

During my last tour in Afghanistan, Palantir was quickly becoming the sweetheart analysis software suite of the Army and Marine Corps. Before I deployed, I sat through a class offered by the company, and immediately recognized that it’s great software. Intelligently designed, easy to use, top notch functionality, and categorization options allow an end-user to drill down and really dissect the adversary and surrounding events. It is, however, only as powerful as the end-user allows it to be.

By the time I left the Intelligence Community, I had become disillusioned with the state of the average analyst (though not every analyst) and much of leadership which was more interested in developing the latest technology instead developing the minds of their analysts.

Intelligence analysis is, and likely will be for decades to come, 80% investigation and 20% technology; but tools like Palantir are trying to invert that ratio. Without a highly inquisitive mind motivated to find the solutions to unanswered or seemingly unanswerable questions, and the proper analytical methods to pick apart your adversary, your analysis of information of intelligence value will be found wanting. Still, for all the faults of technology, Palantir made SPACE analysis way easier.

SPACE is an acronym that every good analyst should use, especially where it concerns community security. Its roots are in our operational security (OPSEC) manual, and when the adversary doesn’t care enough to implement SPACE into his security considerations, it’s our job as intelligence analysts to exploit their mistakes. (That road goes both ways, by the way.)

One of the things an analyst should consider of an adversary are his vulnerabilities, which makes OPSEC so important to both parties. In SPACE, we’re presented with invisible vulnerabilities: indicators that aren’t often considered and don’t appear to be vulnerabilities at face value, but are useful nonetheless when applied to the enemy’s operating picture.

Keep SPACE in mind when inventorying your own security measures…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.

Forward Observer: SHTF Intelligence Gathering

Sam Culper at Forward Observer continues his video series on how an intelligence analyst prepares for an SHTF situation with this video on SHTF Intelligence Gathering.

THIS INFORMATION WILL BE ON THE TEST…

In today’s video, I’m talking about the importance of intelligence for emergency preparedness and some ways to get started in local intelligence gathering.

There will be an SHTF Intelligence webinar held by FO on Thursday, September 19th, 2019. Register here. http://shtfintel.com