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.

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.

FO with John Mosby on Building Tribe, Community and Preparedness

Sam Culper at Forward Observer interviews John Mosby, a former Army Special Operations soldier, small arms instructor, and author on building tribe, community and preparedness. Mosby writes at the Mountain Guerrilla blog, and is the author of The Reluctant Partisan Volumes I and II, and Forging the Hero.

 

FO: More on SALUTE Reporting

Sam Culper at Forward Observer has an article up, expanding upon SALUTE reports titled Building Blocks of Intelligence: SALUTE and SALT Reporting.

…Today we’re talking about SALUTE reports. Every member of our community is a sensor. These people are constantly collecting information; seeing things, hearing things. The question is where does this information go? If they’re not reporting it to the neighborhood watch or community security team, that information on potential threats, suspicious individuals, and potentially criminal behavior is going into a black hole. That’s why it’s incumbent on us to get into a position to receive that information. We’re not doing our job in intelligence and improving community security if we’re not on the receiving end of their information. This may sound bland and routine now, but during an emergency where we’re faced with a real likelihood of threats and criminality, this suddenly becomes critically important.

So here’s the scenario: it’s the aftermath of a hurricane (or tornado, earthquake, etc.). There’s widespread systems disruption, there are people in need, there are people displaced, there are otherwise decent people engaged in criminal behavior, and there are long-time criminals engaged in robbery, looting, and all the other crimes we see during a disaster. Your job is to protect your family, and that includes teaming up with your neighbors to share information and provide for community security. At the risk of beating a dead horse, the greater access to information we have, the more we’ll know and the better decisions we can make. Because of our efforts before the disaster, we have a a handful of neighbors across the community who have agreed to contribute by reporting information of intelligence value: a suspicious vehicle, a group of displaced people, someone engaged in criminal behavior, someone who needs to be rescued, or a number of other pieces of information. But how best do these intelligence gatherers report their information? Enter the SALUTE report.

SALUTE is an acronym that stands for Size, Activity, Location, Unit/Uniform, Time, and Equipment. A neighbor sees a potentially dangerous situation and calls or radios over to the ACE. The reporter says, “Prepare to receive a SALUTE report” and the receiver prepares to copy down the information (I recommend having a stack of 5″x8″ index cards for this)…

Read the entire article at Forward Observer by clicking here.

FO: Five Reasons Why We’ll Have Another Domestic Conflict

Sam Culper over at the Forward Observer intelligence shop has a new article up titled Five reasons why we’ll have another domestic conflict.

Demographically, culturally, fiscally, we’re hemorrhaging as a country. Studies show that most immigrants, legal or illegal, have a political predilection towards larger, more authoritarian government. They do or will vote Democrat. That’s why amnesty is the death knell for the right-leaning electorate. And amnesty is only a matter of time, which means the GOP as a nationally viable party could have an expiration date within your lifetime. Several states, including Texas, were decided by fewer votes than those states have illegal immigrants. Amnesty pushes those states blue, which then push a far Left agenda in a Democrat-controlled Congress. That writing is on the wall.

Without amnesty, studies show that larger percentages and greater numbers of future generations are slightly or consistently liberal. Millennials are the least white voting generation on record; Generation Z is less white than Millennials, and these two groups are or would vote for Leftist populists (like Bernie Sanders) in far greater numbers than previous generations. If we look at political leanings by generation (graph below), we can see the decline in percentage of those mostly or consistently conservative. (Look at each generation in 2017, for instance.) The opposite is also true: the Baby Boomer generation in 2017 had a greater percentage of mostly or consistently liberal than the Silent Generation; Generation X had a higher percentage than the Baby Boomers; and the Millennial generation has a higher percentage than Generation X. Each generation is becoming more liberal due wholly to immigration. Because immigration is little more than importing future Democrat voters, I don’t see how the GOP hangs on to anything outside of regional power without a cultural resurgence (like Reagan, for instance).

Click here to continue reading at Forward Observer.

FO: Intelligence and Community Security, Day 01

The intel guys at Forward Observer have started up their new Intelligence and Community Security series. Read it to learn what intelligence is, how to get it, and how it is critical to preparedness.  Here is an excerpt from Day 01.

America’s trajectory is pointing towards another conflict. It’s something many of us have suspected for a long time, and the question is What exactly will it look like? Perhaps a better question is Are we already in it?  My answer is probably, and I’ll describe what I believe could happen in the future. In short: empirical data shows that any potential conflict is likely going to be driven by demographic and economic change. Amnesty and a return to liberal immigration policies are less than a decade away, and artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics are likely to create more job loss than jobs created. This disproportionately affects low skill, low wage workers, meaning higher youth unemployment, which is already an early warning indicator of civil unrest around the world; and amnesty and unlimited immigration is a vehicle to amass political dominance because of the preferences of those receiving the amnesty.

These two likely unstoppable trends are going to accelerate the adoption of identitarianism based on race (social justice) and class (economic justice) instead of civic nationality. Amnesty will overwhelmingly benefit the Democratic Party at a time when a pivot to left wing populism is much needed to counter a rise in right wing populism. The effects, centered on anti-capitalist, anti-American, pro-social “justice”, and pro-international socialist policies, are going to permanently change the political landscape of America. If this is happens as soon as five or ten years from now, then we should probably expect a culture war that moves from sporadic violence to routine violence, especially in regions where government is unable or unwilling to intervene. (There are a lot more factors at play here and I’ll be sure to provide a comprehensive break down in future blog posts.)

This all sounds pretty pessimistic and, as we’ve seen with prognostications about financial and societal collapse (heaviest from 2007 to 2016), there’s a tendency by many to overstate the conditions and shorten the timeline in anticipation of events that will likely happen much later than predicted. No one can predict the future with any certainty, but we can identify what could occur in the future, and this is one such possibility. Whether it happens in two years or twenty, very significant and persistent socioeconomic conditions are a certainty, which are likely to result in some form of domestic conflict. Our next major hurdles are (1) the period between November’s mid-terms and the 2020 general election, and (2) the next recession, which could rival 2008’s in economic and financial terms, but with the toxic political and cultural climate of today. That’s a good time to revisit this potential future and revise as necessary based on the conditions.

With that as our starting point, the next question is Which systems will be disrupted and how will it affect our communities? We’ll save that for later this month, because for now we’re focusing on intelligence and community security.

A framework for understanding decision-making

We need a framework to understand how decisions are made, and we need to understand what’s necessary for good decision-making. We can make decisions without any information, and unfortunately many people do. Some information may allow us to make better decisions, but ultimately we need intelligence to make good decisions…

Click here to read the entire post.

Forward Observer: Intel, Security, and Defense for Community Preparedness

Forward Observer has a post up about their return to a focus on training communities for disaster preparedness planning rather than the Early Warning briefs they have been posting and emailing. The folks over at Forward Observer have been a real asset to communities trying to prepare for a few years now.  Sam Culper’s SHTF Intelligence book, and the FO Area Intelligence Course are very good tools for learning how to think about what you should be thinking about. At the heart of intelligence is the ability to reduce uncertainty. What intelligence brings to the table is an ability to make well-informed, time-sensitive decisions. Get trained. Get intelligence. Be prepared.

I started this Forward Observer intelligence project in 2016 because I was concerned.

Rising and unsustainable national debt, expanding government authority and the continued loss of individual liberty, the militarization of police, the rise of cultural and economic Marxism, the risk of war with Russia and China, the risk of systems disruption via cyber and financial vulnerabilities — there were lot of things going on that greatly concerned me. And the question I ask is, has any of this really changed in two years?

If nothing else, many of these things are actually worse today and, despite our best hopes and optimism, the trend is set to continue. It’s very conceivable that in another two years, this country is much worse off. An economic recession, a major war, a major cyber attack, an increase in political violence — all these things have a growing likelihood.

I left the U.S. intelligence community in 2012 because I, like many of you, could see the proverbial “writing on the wall”. Considering the threats, I no longer wanted to live in a built-up area. I didn’t want to work for a government that didn’t promote the best interests of the American People. I didn’t want to serve a president who was actively undermining everything I loved about my country. So I left my job as an intelligence analyst and never once regretted it.

A lot of the fears and, at times, panic induced in the emergency preparedness community never came to fruition. Part of that reason is because a lot of the fears were exaggerated, which is why I guide my analysis through the maxim: the more extreme the prediction, the less likely it is to occur. I don’t and have never believed in total economic collapse or complete societal collapse; instead, I believed and still today believe that conditions will continually break down over a period of years until some trigger (like a major recession, some act of significant political violence, or maybe a cyber attack) is the catalyst for parts of the nation to just devolve into active conflict. It may go so slowly that it catches the mainstream by surprise, but even the mainstream is picking up on the idea that we’re moving into a reality where a domestic conflict is conceivable.

And this brings me to the Early Warning. At a meeting yesterday, we brainstormed about how we could best serve our readers in light of what’s probably going to happen in the future. Ultimately, we decided that I need to start writing again about intelligence, security, and defense for community and disaster preparedness planning. If you followed my old blog Guerrillamerica from 2011-2015, then you’re already familiar with the kinds of things I write about: intelligence collection and analysis, reducing uncertainty and navigating an uncertain future, how to build resiliency and security at the community level, and what warfighting will look like during an irregular conflict, like the one I believe we’re heading towards. So in lieu of the daily Early Warning report and email, I’m going to spend my early morning time on something that’s way more valuable, which is teaching these skills and concepts so you can use them in your everyday preparedness planning…

Continue reading at Forward Observer.