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

Forward Observer: SHTF Early Warning

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

In this video, I continue my five-step security and preparedness planning process. Let’s take a look at a methodical way to develop “early warning” of local SHTF events.

Forward Observer: SHTF Security Planning

Samuel Culper at Forward Observer has up another video in his SHTF preparedness series. This one is titled SHTF Security Planning.

In this video, I continue my five-step security and preparedness planning process. Let’s start matching missions to threats, and then break down some basic mission planning.

Forward Observer will also be holding an SHTF Intelligence webinar on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 at 1900/7pm Central. Register by clicking here.

Forward Observer: Intelligence Analyst Prepares for SHTF, Part II

From Sam Culper at Forward Observer comes part two of his SHTF planning series. For Part I click here.:

My mission is to build a network for information sharing and to bring everyone up to par in terms of preparedness and security planning.

The logic: I may be very well prepared, but if I’m not aiding the area in becoming better prepared, then we risk mission failure for the entire region. And that’s bad for us.

If you agree that building community or tribe — or as I call it, “developing the human terrain” — is important, then I’d like to invite you on this journey with me.

I started a new video series entitled “How an Intelligence Analyst Prepares for SHTF” where I’m breaking down in detail how I’m preparing locally for our future challenges.

Here is Part II:

Forward Observer: How an Intelligence Analyst Prepares for SHTF

From Sam Culper at Forward Observer:

My mission is to build a network for information sharing and to bring everyone up to par in terms of preparedness and security planning.

The logic: I may be very well prepared, but if I’m not aiding the area in becoming better prepared, then we risk mission failure for the entire region. And that’s bad for us.

If you agree that building community or tribe — or as I call it, “developing the human terrain” — is important, then I’d like to invite you on this journey with me.

I started a new video series entitled “How an Intelligence Analyst Prepares for SHTF” where I’m breaking down in detail how I’m preparing locally for our future challenges.

It has five steps. If you follow aong with these videos and implement these concepts locally, then I believe you’ll catapult your readiness above and beyond your peers.

And I want to encourage you, if you haven’t already, to begin thinking or planning for a regional preparedness network of your own.

If you’re expecting me to talk about bug out bags and fire starters, then you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you want to learn how to develop local intelligence and how to achieve realistic expectations of the future… – if you want to learn about tactical- and strategic-level planning for those future threats, events, and conditions, – if you want to learn how to get ahead of the competition, then you’re in the right place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei86otQr9ss

Forward Observer: SHTF Intelligence Q&A Part I

In this video, Sam Culper of Forward Observer answers questions on intelligence, security and defense.

In this video, intelligence analyst and Iraq/Afghanistan answers some of your questions on intelligence, security, and defense for our challenging future.

Q1: How do I start setting up an intelligence effort for a Mutual Assistance Group?
Q2: How can I explain the need for intelligence to my preparedness group?
Q3: How can we determine our SHTF intelligence gaps?
Q4: What are your thoughts on a “Golden Horde” scenario?

How an Intelligence Analyst Prepares for SHTF Scenarios:

Patriot Radio Interview with Sam Culper of Forward Observer, July 2019

In the attached file below, Patriot Radio’s Rep. Matt Shea interviews Forward Observer founder and chief analyst Sam Culper – from July 2, 2019 airing. Rep. Shea and Sam Culper discuss low-intensity conflict in the US. The interview begins at the 31:30 mark.

Around the same date Sam Culper was also interviewed by Prepping 2.0‘s Glen Tate and Shelby Gallagher on SHTF Intelligence or practical intelligence for preppers. Sam also discusses the coming civil unrest/low-intensity conflict. The interview begins at the 6:50 mark.