Forward Observer: Leveraging HUMINT Sources

Intelligence Analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer continues writing about human intelligence (HUMINT) — see part one here — and how to exploit it for better decision making in Frontline Intelligence: Leveraging HUMINT Sources.

I continue to pick my way through Frontline Intelligence (1946), guide for new intelligence officers. One of the key responsibilities of an S2 during World War II was to gather information from friendly units. Your job as the Neighborhood S2 is no different.

“Every soldier, not just those designated as reconnaissance or Intelligence personnel, should provide the maximum information [possible]… [They should] know what you want, [should] keep their eyes and ears open, and when they find out anything [should] immediately report it.”

 

As the Neighborhood S2, it’s important that the members of your preparedness group, community security team, or neighborhood watch know what our requirements are. They have to know what has intelligence value and what they should be reporting about crime, violence, suspicious activity, etc. Additionally, they should understand how to report this information to you: phone call, email, face to face, etc.

In the Army, we used to say, “Every soldier is a sensor.” Well, every person in your group should also be a sensor and understand that they’re a sensor.

The authors continue with this advice: talk to as many soldiers as possible, explain what information you want, why you need to know it, and how it will be used to benefit the troops. “Only in this way will you ever overcome the two main stumbling blocks to troop collection of information, namely: inertia and preoccupation.”

One of the problems we encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan is what we called “the stovepipe of excellence” (because everything in the Army is “of excellence.”) Like smoke through a stovepipe, intelligence information would be pushed up from subordinate units to higher commands, but often the finished intelligence would never make it back down to the lowest levels. That in turn kept a lot of soldiers in the dark, and they often didn’t understand why it was necessary for them to report up information. They thought their efforts were useless and they were less interested in continuing to report.

The authors solved this intelligence problem as early as 1946, but it’s a lesson forgotten by many today. Don’t forget this important lesson as a Neighborhood S2.

Engage the members of your preparedness group, community security team, or neighborhood watch. Get them to understand what has intelligence value (i.e., what are your intelligence gaps?), and why reporting that information is critical. Don’t hide your conclusions from those who contributed to them. Finish that loop, so to speak. The more they understand what’s going on, the more likely it is that they’ll know where they fit in the process, and the more engagement and cooperation you’ll get from them.

The authors also point to training as a part of the solution. “The average soldier is apathetic toward all extra chores and particularly so to any which do not appear to him to be immediately and vitally essential… In battle men do most things by reflex. The things they are properly trained to do they will do automatically. It should be automatic for all seasoned troops to look for the right enemy information, and to tell the right people about it promptly.”

This means we have to invest our time and effort into our sensors, whether they’re frontline troops, our neighbors, or community members. You must develop in them a mindset geared towards recognizing information of intelligence value at all times, and then passing that on to you.

One of the largest challenges you’re going to face in organizing a local intelligence network is developing this mindset in other people. And maybe this applies to you, too. Most people are just not accustomed to being ‘turned on’ to the nuances of their environment…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Forward Observer.

The Organic Prepper: The Truth About Neighbors in Survival Situations

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper has an article on The Truth About Neighbors, Coworkers, & Friends in Survival Situations, detailing some things learned about people during this pandemic. I can think of a few additions to the types listed from my experiences, can you?

…many of us are realizing that there’s also a lot to learn about the folks just outside our inner circles: our neighbors, our co-workers, our extended families, and other communities in which we’re involved like churches or schools.

Behavior outside of the group.

While our connections with these people aren’t as intimate as those within our groups,  in some cases they can still threaten an otherwise solid survival plan. Some of the people described below may sound familiar after weeks of movement restriction.

  • The people you warned for months if not years that they needed to put some food aside, make arrangements for their prescriptions, and buy some extra toilet paper and soap.
  • Folks who know more than you now wish they did about your pantry and who’ve made it clear that they think it’s “greedy” that your family has so much while others have so little
  • People we used to really like boasting on Facebook how they snitched on somebody for some innocuous thing they felt flouted the “rules”
  • Neighbors taking a sudden and noticeable interest in your garden or your chickens
  • People in the neighborhood who are no longer working and now just sit on their porch all day and closely watch what everyone else is doing – including people unloading supplies from their cars into their homes
  • The nosy neighbor who demands that everything be “fair” and wants to take a tally of anything – people, water, supplies, guns, you name it.
  • That guy down the street you never liked in the first place who is becoming even more unlikeable by promoting himself as some kind of neighborhood watch king, handing out unsolicited advice and warnings, or maybe trying to set up “rules” by which he expects everyone else to abide
  • The people who are moving closer and closer to overstepping the boundaries of civil behavior – they’re doing small things dropping their trash in your yard or blatantly looking inside the windows of your car – but it’s an escalation
  • The co-worker who asks way more questions about your preparedness level than is really appropriate
  • The community group (church, social club, volunteer organization) that wants donations or participation in a way that is likely to threaten your OPSEC (operational security – more on that later)

You know the ones. They’re trying to get just a little too close for comfort. We’ve probably all seen somebody over this period of time and thought, “Yeah, I’m going to have to watch that guy.”

If the situation were to worsen, you would indeed have to watch that guy.

Identify “who” your neighbors and coworkers are

The people around you can be beneficial, neutral, or a threat. It’s best to determine which one they are as early as possible in an emergency…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Backdoor Survival: What Can Prepper Groups Do To Support Each Other During Quarantine

This article comes from Samantha Biggers at Backdoor Survival – What Can Prepper Groups Do To Support Each Other During Quarantine. You may not be able to have physical meetups, but what can you do?

A lot of people have been members of preparedness groups for quite some time. While some groups may have been just casual meetups once in a while, others were seriously training and getting together on a regular basis.

pandemic is not necessarily the event that most groups considered likely. This is not an event where people can all feel good about gathering together to ride this thing out.

But that doesn’t mean that prepper groups cannot offer a ton of support and help to one another. This article is going to talk about what prepper groups can do to support one another during this time of social distancing.

Learn skills via video

Prepper groups often have people with a huge variety of skills and knowledge. If each person takes a turn offering an online webinar, then everyone can use this time to learn and come through this even more prepared than ever. Some of these classes could even be added to your homeschool curriculum where appropriate.

Have some classes that are designed to help entertain and offer constructive activities for the teens and kids of those in the group.

While kids are going to have some homework to do, I know from my own homeschool experience that doesn’t take up anywhere near the entire day. Kids are going to need things to do and if you don’t want them to spend all that time watching television or playing video games, then you are going to need to give them some other constructive options.

Check-in on each other. Sometimes it is nice to just know that others are thinking about you.

The pandemic is making it so that people are suffering from extreme stress and anxiety. For many, there is a lot of uncertainty. Regardless of where you get your news, there has been an overwhelming amount of information and some of that info changes faster than you can keep up. There has also been planting of conflicting information.

When people don’t know what is true and a lot of promises are being made that it is impossible for any human being or government to be able to guarantee them, it can feel scary and lead to extreme stress. Poor mental health can affect your body and immunity.

Talking to others through this hard time, especially friends can help. Isolation can be very hard on some people that are older or those that live alone. I would not be doing so well with isolation if I did not have my husband right here with me and my father very nearby.

Share recipes

For many people, this is the first time they have had to cook with at least some basic foods or be responsible for all the meals consumed. If you get takeout or deli food 5-7 times a week, it is a big change to suddenly have to take care of that yourself and plan your day so that you have time for it.

Getting creative with all those prepper foods you have stashed back can make eating a more enjoyable experience. Variety helps more than you might realize. There are ways to make comfort foods from very basic things with just a few skills and some knowledge.

Practice Communications

Some prepping groups have communications procedures and codes in place. Now is a good time to practice those skills. Some people are getting more into shortwave radios and learning how to operate a HAM radio…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Backdoor Survival.

Citylab: How Portland’s Earthquake Preppers Are Planning for the Worst

While the decision to survive is a personal one, your ability to survive is exponentially enhanced by having a community which has decided to survive. In this article from Citylab, one neighborhood in Portland discusses how and why they formed and what they are doing to be prepared. Have you met your neighbors and mapped your neighborhood? Meet people, build trust, and grow community. It will help you survive – not just in disasters.

…“One of the main elements of disaster preparedness is knowing your neighbors,” Michael Hall says as the meeting begins. He’s the bell-ringer and leader of Alameda’s self-titled “Council of Blockheads,” which represents a two-block, 25-household area. For the last four years, the residents of this leafy neighborhood have convened twice annually over a lofty goal: ensuring the survival of everyone on the block in case of a disaster.

For the next 30 minutes, the group talks about whether to order more stackable emergency water containers and how much extra food to stock up on (the new advice: enough for two weeks). They listen to earthquake survival tips from a guest speaker, Marilyn Bishop, who sells pre-made emergency prep kits full of freeze-dried rations. Four years ago, these neighbors hardly knew each other. But after seven meetings and counting, they now see each other as their lifelines.
Hall is one of the many residents of the Pacific Northwest reckoning with the terrifying potential of the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake that many experts believe will strike in the next 50 years. The overdue super-quake could trigger devastating coastal tsunamis—waves up to 85 feet high—and deliver potentially massive damage to homes, highways, and water and power infrastructure. Galvanized by Kathryn Schulz’s 2015 New Yorker story “The Really Big One,” Hall was eager to do something. So he gathered a few neighbors at his house over beers to brainstorm. The result was their first disaster-awareness block party, where nearly every household had a representative. The block parties became the way to make catastrophe preparation less overwhelming.

They started holding twice-yearly informational meetups with guest speakers and workshops that covered how to create a family emergency plan, human waste storage systems, and water and food storage. They made a bulk order of water bricks. And they created and continue to update a comprehensive inventory of neighborhood contact information, emergency supplies (such as generators, tools, and camping equipment), and skills (e.g., first-aid, carpentry, childcare). Some neighbors even gained additional training as Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) volunteers—city-trained residents who deploy in a large-scale emergency…

Click here to read the entire article at Citylab.

Mountain Guerrilla: Building Tribe

This is an older article from John Mosby of Mountain Guerrilla about building tribes or close, loyal groups. It’s from six years ago, but seemed particularly relevant at this time. I’m only excerpting a small part here as it is a rather long piece, but worth your time. As usual with Mosby, language warning.

…Whether we’re discussing Teutonic Europe, the Roman legions, Japanese samurai, American Indians, or modern soldiers, though, there is an underlying message of community, team unity, and focusing on the collective goals, rather than individual self-interest. The cliché of course is that soldiers don’t fight and die for country, Mom, or apple pie. They fight and die for the buddy on either side of them. They know that invoking their natural self-interest—survival–and running away to survive another day, puts their companions—their brothers, in greater danger. Loyalty to the group—esprit de corps—is the essnce of fighting morale. The faith that you are part of something greater than yourself—a legacy if you will—is what makes men do really stupid shit that we later look at as courage under fire.

I get asked regularly, “how do I form a tribe like this?” “How do I build this type of loyalty?” Unfortunately for those who want a nice, pat, pre-packaged answer, this loyalty is the result—not the cause—of the companionship developed.

How do we develop that companionship? By spending time together, trading “gifts,” and building relationships. There are no easy answers. Getting together once a year with a bunch of guys you meet on an internet forum does not “build tribe.” There’s no loyalty being built. To use the Germanic tribal terms we’ve been using, because you’re not building a real spirit of frith—intertwined loyalty to community laws—there is no commingling of “wyrd” or fates.

If you’re searching “survivalist meet-up” sites to find a group to join, you’re doing it the wrong way. Intentional communities—especially survivalist communities—just don’t work out. They all end up either being the result of some megalomaniacal f…er trying to create his own fiefdom, or the “rugged individualism” of the rich yuppies involved comes to the front, so no commingling of effort and fate and luck ever takes place, and the venture falls to pieces.

If you want to build a tribe, look around you. Where is your family? Who are your friends? Both my immediate family and my in-laws, live prohibitively far away from us. In a grid-down scenario, we’re going to be useless to them, and vice versa. Thus, we have to build new tribe, out of the people around us. We have to look at our neighbors; the good ones and the bad ones, and decide how they are going to relate to us when things get ugly. Do I have a neighbor—even one—that doesn’t have issues I dislike? I … doubt it. Are there neighbors I think are complete … that I don’t even want on the same planet as my kids, let alone in the same community? Absolutely.

There is a difference though. I can work with the first example. Either I can choose to ignore their idiosyncrasies that I dislike, and hope they do the same for me, or I can approach them and try to figure out a way to help them work past those issues (I hate the fact that I have neighbors too blind to see why they need to actually train with the gun they carry, rather than just carrying it. So, I try to get them to go shoot. I hate the fact that I have neighbors that don’t have any storage food. So I try to demonstrate why we have storage food. I hate the fact that I have neighbors who don’t do PT…so I do PT and then do things that are physical, hopefully better than them, to set an example).

The second example? Well, I can either hope that they get killed off, or be ready to do it myself if it becomes necessary. Writing off every single person in your community though, is either arrogant hubris, or sheer stupidity. Unless you live, completely alone, in a hermitage on a remote mountain in the Himalayas, if you can’t find a dozen, or two dozen, or more, neighbors in even a small community, that you share interests, concerns, and values with, you need to take a serious look in the mirror. As bad as things are in America today—and make no mistake, I think they are … horrendous—if you think there are not other people in your community who are just as concerned, you’re a [not nice name]…

Click here to read the entire article at Mountain Guerrilla.

AmPart: Forming a Community Survival Group

A new writer for American Partisan, using the pseudonym Gray Man, has written a brief introductory article to Forming a Community Survival Group. The Gray Man is Southern born and raised, a Christian American family man, an Army combat veteran (OEF) and former intelligence collector. He is currently an ER nurse and a homesteader living in the rural Deep South.

In the events that are coming, whether it’s an economic collapse, a major natural disaster, societal breakdown, or any other unpleasantness, being part of a solid group of people is going to be your best bet to get through. Studying the work of “Selco” (Yugoslavia), Fernando “FerFal” Aguirre (Argentina) and others who have actually been through a modern economic/societal collapse is invaluable because it shows us an example of what a modern societal collapse may actually look like here. Preppers and survivalists will always be able to come up with ideas of what things are going to be like, but unless those ideas are based on events that have already taken place somewhere, they’re less likely to be accurate. Studying those past events, it becomes clear that people who are part of a cohesive group survive the best, and the groups with some semblance of a plan to begin with will fare even better. While it’s true that no good plan ever survived the first enemy contact, having a solid plan for your group fosters confidence in that group, allowing the members to keep their head in the game when the going gets tough, and drive toward an objective.

When building your survival/partisan/neighborhood security group, you’ve got to tailor your group to your objective, situation and capability. What are you building a group to do? What size group is practical for your situation and location? How many people can you actually find to join? I am currently located in the rural Deep South, a few miles outside of a town of about 300 people. Am I going to build a battalion-sized survival group that will save the U.S. from the Communist threat?

Don’t hold your breath, mate. That’s not realistic…

Click here to read the entire article at American Partisan.