My apologies for not posting anything recently, at all. We are dealing with a family issue that requires our undivided attention for a short while. I should be posting some articles and news within the next couple of days.
I had a student in a class recently (IIRC, it was the Iowa Combat Rifle course, but I could be mistaken), ask the very serious question, “How do we prepare mentally for the act of killing another person?” While, after giving him the tongue-in-cheek answer of “go chop people’s heads off with a pen knife?” I gave the legitimate answer that it’s a matter of overcoming cultural conditioning, it’s a question that’s been nagging at my conscience ever since.
For the most part, neither I, nor any of my friends who have been downrange, has ever voiced a concern over a reticence to drop the hammer and kill the enemy. Unfortunately, because of the prevalence of feel-good, New Age humanist bullshit in the soft sciences like psychology, there is a lot of nonsense in the world about “mankind’s natural, inherent reluctance towards intra-species killing.” All the archaeological evidence to the contrary, too many people have conflated a CULTURAL conditioning that illegitimizes interpersonal lethal violence, with a “natural” human reluctance.
Regardless of the status of the oft-voiced reluctance—inherent at the genetic level, or culturally conditioned—the fact is, it is a very real concern for a lot of people (FYI, before anyone starts citing BG SLA “Slam” Marshall, do more background research into the repudiations of his “research.”). At the risk of getting slightly side-tracked, as we all know I am wont to do, I will point out that I am an inveterate journalist. At any given time, I’ll have anywhere from six to a dozen different journals floating around. These serve as PT records, a means to record ideas I want to develop into articles for the blog, and things I’ve come across in my reading, as well as simply random thoughts that pop into my head. Once or twice a year, I’ll sit down and compile all the notes and records into a single volume, then dispose of the old, partially full journals that now are serving no purpose other than taking up valuable space on my bookshelves. This is important, because I spent much of last night and yesterday on that very task.
As I collated journal notes from a round dozen different journals, I came across an entry on the subject of this article. I am not sure when I recorded it (this particular journal actually has notes from over four years ago, so it’s been stashed away in hiding for quite some time!), or what the original source was, but…..
According to the journal entry (which I obviously agreed with, or I wouldn’t have written it down in the first place), there are six basic facets to developing a predisposition towards effective violence.
One of the first “training” lessons I ever learned was from my grandfather. While I’d like to believe he picked it up during his OSS training in WW2, I honestly never bothered asking him, so I genuinely just don’t know. I’ve since heard the same advice from dozens of different sources, have practiced it myself for well over twenty years, and have repeatedly found…it works. Not just well; it works like a Creole hooker during Mardi Gras…
That lesson was on the importance of visualization. Play the “what if” game. Not just in the context of this conversation, I play the “what if” game constantly. “What if” that car in front of me suddenly loses control and starts sliding all over the road? “What if” that dude walking into the steak house pulls out a Glock and starts shooting people? “What if” I look out my front window and see a group of jocked up dudes in black nomex in my yard? “What if” I’m driving down our road and come to a tree across the road, then gunfire starts pinging into the truck? “What if” I take a gunshot wound to the lower abdomen below my plate carrier?
The key to effective visualization of course, is REALISTIC mental images. Basing your visualization on John Woo action movie behaviors is not going to do you much good. Fortunately, if you’re reading this, there is an amazing resource just a couple mouse clicks and typing away, in the form of YouTube. Despite the noise:signal ration on YT, the fact is, there are lots of camera recordings of everything from helmet cam footage of gunfights in Iraq and Afghanistan to criminal assaults and convenience store robberies. By studying the appropriate videos, and dissecting the behaviors and movements of the key players, you can begin to form a relatively accurate mental image of what a given scenario might look like, when you experience it.
This allows you to begin formulating realistic, effective responses to those scenarios. There is ample scientific experimental, research, and anecdotal evidence out there, aptly proving that if you can create a realistic image in your head—visualization—of yourself performing certain actions in response to certain key stimuli, to your brain, it’s as if you had actually performed them. You get the benefits of the experience, without the attendant risks and costs of the experience.
Ultimately, for the inexperienced, the surest way to inculcate the ability to be extremely violent, without actually going out and beating the shit out of people…or chopping off stranger’s heads with a pen knife, is through visualization. Visualize the reticle of your optic superimposed on a bad guy’s face or chest, and “feel” your finger squeeze all the way through the trigger break. Visualize the recoil cycle of the gun, and visualize seeing the rounds impact his shirt or jacket. Visualize his face being distorted from the impact, and the violence of high-velocity blood and brain matter spray out the back of the skull.
Visualize the slight resistance and sudden give of the tip of your kabar puncturing his clothing and flesh. Visualize the warm, stickiness of blood flowing over your hand. Visualize punching a dude in the face so hard that you can “feel” his cheek bones fracture under your fist.
The catch of course, is that you have to actually visualize the entire physical performance, in all of its details, and ACCURATELY. You also have to actually be physically capable of performing the action. I don’t care how realistic your visualization is, if you’re a quadriplegic, you’re not going to be able to perform a Master-level run at the local 3-Gun match. Having the physical ability to perform the tasks, of course, requires,
You have to engage in effective training. This means learning proven, effective TTPs, and then practice them in an effective manner. Shooting Appleseed alone won’t cut it. You need to be able to shoot, but you also need to know what it feels like to run a dynamic, fast-moving break contact drill, from the way your movement patterns change when you’re kitted up, to the way it feels to twist and slam into the ground as you bound backwards while your Ranger buddy provides protective suppressive fire. Performing as the maneuver element during a Hasty Attack requires actually having trained in the task, so you know what it feels like to make that long, sprinting bound around. You need to know what it feels like to perform 3-5 second rushes and crawls through the terrain you will be visualizing that you will be performing on.
Beyond visualization, you also just have to be able to perform the tasks necessary. From throwing a rapid-fire, machine-gun barrage of punches to beat the piss out of an attacker, to executing a blistering fast drawstroke from concealment, to SEEING the front sight superimposed on the bad guy’s face. If you don’t train and learn how to actually, accurately, effectively perform any given task, all the visualization training in the world won’t do you a fuck-all bit of good.
At the same time (and you KNEW I was going to slip this in somehow….), you have to be physically fit enough to execute the violence you need to execute. Knowing HOW to crash and clinch then stab a dude in the carotid artery is not the same thing as being fast enough and strong enough to actually pull it off. Visualizing humping a 40-50 pound rucksack for 6 days straight, on less than 2 hours of sleep per night is NOT the same thing as having the physical and mental discipline and conditioning to actually pull it off.
That doesn’t mean you have to be able to pull off any given physical feat today. You just have to be trying to improve. If you are doing more today than you were yesterday, and tomorrow, you do more than you did today, you’re doing the right thing. Right?
You need to know your legitimate, honest level of skill…and your limitations. If you’ve never managed to hit an e-type silhouette at 200 meters, there’s little point in trying to project violence at 300 meters, until you improve your marksmanship abilities. If you’re a short little fat bastard who has no interest in doing PT or getting into a Jitz class, there’s even less point in planning on choking some pipe-hitting powerlifter in SWAT kit.
Be objective about your abilities, and you can limit your attempts at violence to what you are capable of.
Teach yourself to relax under stress, and you’ll be able to focus on the fundamentals of executing a particular skill set or task. Use patterned breathing. I tend to be really, really good at remaining disturbingly calm under stressful situations, because of positive self-talk (see below) and a lack of negative reinforcement (in other words, remaining calm has never caused me any harm under stress). As I’ve pointed out to people in daily life, ad nauseum, “unless you’re getting shot at, there are few things in life worth getting panicky about, and if you are getting shot at, panicking will only result in your dying, so calm the fuck down!”
In those occasional moments where I do lose my cool and start getting stressed out (truthfully, they usually only happen when HH6 is driving me absolutely, batshit fucking crazy), I generally catch myself in a hurry and calm down quickly and easily because of controlled, patterned breathing. Some instructors suggest a 4-count. Inhale for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. I use seven, because at some point in my youth, my grandfather told me seven was the “magic” number (or perhaps the “magical” number, since I recall him saying something about it having had spiritual significance prior to computers….fucking weird if you ask me). All I really know is, THAT SHIT WORKS!!!
Positive self-talk, during training and daily life, will go a long way towards making you more effective in violence and in life in general. It goes right along with the visualization mentioned above. “Hey, if that car starts sliding into my lane, I’ll be fine. I can steer into the ditch and control the car, because I’ve done a lot of off-road driving, at ridiculously high speeds.” “Hey, if that dude walks in with a Glock, I know how to handle the situation, because I can draw and fire an accurate first round head shot at twice the distance between here and the front door. I do it all the time in training.” “If the cannibalistic San Franciscans start rioting in the streets and my life, or the life of my family is in danger, I can deal with it. It’s easier to shoot them effectively in the middle of the street than it was to hit that half-sized silhouette at 300 meters last weekend on the range!” “Hey, I’ve had SUT training, and my wife and I have practiced buddy team bounds using fire-and-maneuver, so if I have to fight off a home invasion by MS-13 banditos, we’ll be alright!”
Arguably tied for the most critical with visualization in developing a predisposition towards effective violence is having a positive support system, starting with—most important—a deep, legitimate belief in the righteousness of your actions and your cause. If you believe that your actions may be too aggressive, or you hold some retarded, childhood belief that only fair fights are okay, then you’re not going to be effective, because you will unconsciously hold back. On the other hand, if you KNOW, in your soul, that what you are standing up for is right, and that the actions you are taking are justified, then you won’t have any reluctance to do what needs to be done.
At the same time, after the fact, you shouldn’t have to deal with your friends and family second-guessing your actions. Sure, an honest appraisal, in the form of an AAR critique can be useful…but ultimately, if your friends and family don’t share your values….I’d suggest dumping all the fuckers and finding better people to hang out with.
This belief can be seen in elite military units (so much for Grossman’s sociopath arguments….), with a strong sense of esprit de corps. The cultivated belief system that “we’re better than everyone else, and we’re fighting for the man next to us” IS a support system that facilitates the use of effective violence. We know, at least amongst our brethren, that as long as we use it in accordance with the rules, no one is going to judge us harshly for being violent. It’s not until we start dealing with outsiders who don’t understand the culture or mindset that we start having to deal with doubters, non-believers, and second-guessing.
Ultimately, all of these—like so many things—are intertwined and synergistic. None of them work particularly well without all the other pieces in place. So, get training so you can practice effective visualization, and engage in positive self-talk. Most of all, develop a legitimate belief that you are doing the right thing.
It is my firmly held belief that the idea that humans have an inherent, genetic resistance to intra-species violence that can only be overcome with operant conditioning is a bunch of statist, mind control bullshit. If the prophets of this nonsense can convince you that you need special conditioning to be effective at violence, that can only be achieved through military or law enforcement training, first-person shooter video games, or being abused as a child, then they can facilitate your being effectively controlled, without worrying about violent revolt from the proles.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian who follows the adage of “turn the other cheek.” Intra-species violence is—truthfully—one of the most natural acts of human kind. Christ may have said turn the other cheek, but I’d point out, his daddy only created you with two cheeks…..what do you do after you’ve been bitch-slapped on the other side? Same thing he did in the temple. You beat the shit out of the offenders, and drive them off with weapons.
For us heathen non-believers? The archaeological and historical record is amply clear that there is NO inherent genetic resistance to stabbing a motherfucker in the face, chopping his head off with sword or axe, or burning his house down around his ass.
If you can manage to practice the six aspects of developing a pre-disposition towards effective violence, then dropping the hammer, fist or firearm, will not be an issue when the need arises.
“What Do I Do Next?” Guest Article from SpartanMonkey
A common question see in the patriot/prepper community is this: “I have no military background. I’ve been storing food, ammo, water, etc. I’ve got some training. I don’t have many folks around me that share my views. What do I do next?”
I began with a military background, then started adding in the typical prepper stuff like food storage, etc. IMO, it’s much easier to pick up prepper skills than military skills for the simple reason that it takes a lot of time and practice to become proficient in military type skills. Not to mention requiring a whole learning environment that includes having enough guys to form both your and opposing teams, commo gear, pyro, ammo, land, air assets (both rotary and fixed wing), mortars, etc. Plus, there’s a whole host of skills to learn like land nav, various types of patrols, marksmanship, leadership, etc. But have hope; you CAN learn what you must. You’ll need to do a lot of reading (military manuals), buy some DVDs, take some formal training, and practice, A LOT. Having realistic expectations about how fast your skillset evolves and how many skills comprise that skillset will help you keep a positive attitude, which will keep you moving forward. There is no realistic way you’re going to gain the level of skill and experience that an active duty soldier has. The good news is that you don’t need to learn to do a whole host of things like call for close-air support (CAS), or indirect fires, so the number of things you need to learn is reduced.
Once you’re okay with that revelation, progress can begin. I suggest that your goal be to provide for the protection of your home and family—and possibly neighbors if you’re ready for that. If you limit yourself to your own AO, you’re a hero to your family, plus you’re not out their pulling lone-wolf missions the effects of which may make life difficult for the well-organized/trained groups that may be handling the bigger picture missions.
For the guy or gal who has no military experience—and what I really mean is infantry or SOF—here’s what I recommend: build your skills like the military does. First: focus on on individual skills. Individual skills are those things you can do on your own. Second: Collective tasks. Collective tasks are performed by a group. Third: Missions. Several collective tasks support any given mission.
Here are some examples of each:
- Individual Skills: zero your rifle, maintain your rifle, send a radio message, report enemy information, physical fitness training, combatives (yes, you need someone else to make it realistic, but this can be pursued without a like-minded companion, at any number of decent judo or MMA schools), land navigation, survival skills, etc.
- Collective Tasks: Perform actions at danger areas, clear a building, move as part of a fire team, etc.
- Missions: Attack an enemy position, recon an enemy position, defend a position, etc.
Do an internet search for “STP 21-24-SMCT,” “ARTEP 7-8-ARTEP,” and “ARTEP 7-8-DRILL.” Those are three of many of the manuals the US Army uses—or at least used when I was in—to plan training. Look through them and you’ll see how the individual skills support collective tasks, and how the collective tasks support missions. These things are explained in those training manuals.
Master the individual skills first since all else build on those and you can do them yourself. Those skills—especially weapons handling, PT, survival, and land nav—are basic skills to master, even if you’re not planning on being part of a larger force. Once you’ve got those down, get your family members and/or a buddy or two and start practicing some collective tasks. Pick collective tasks that you’d find mot useful like clearing a building, since this could be used if you have to clear your home. Learn how to move tactically with a couple buddies. Do battle drills until they require no thought to execute. When you’ve got all that down, then you plan a mission where you there are a bunch of specific collective tasks that you will have to do. For example, if the mission is to attack an enemy position, you’ll need to move in a formation, you’ll need to navigate to get there, you’ll need to cross danger areas, then you’ll need to execute the assault itself. When planning your missions, don’t just wing it, but use the formal planning process—the troop-leading procedures. Actually, if you want to be able to plan missions, get to know this process well:
- Receive the Mission
- Issue a Warning Order (WARNO)
- Make a Tentative Plan
- Start Necessary Movement
- Conduct Reconnaissance
- Complete the Plan
- Issue the Operations Order (OPORD)
- Supervise and Refine
You can even use these TLPs in the civilian world—I’m always surprised by how many senior managers fail because they fail to execute Step 8. See how we build from simple to complex> Have your missions evaluated by someone (who is a subject matter expert, or at least experienced), outside your group to get impartial, unbiased comments. When done training, do an AAR (after-action review). This is where everyone gets a turn to say 1) what went well, 2) what didn’t go well, and 3) how to improve for the next time. Keep the comments impersonal—this is not a time to point fingers and cast blame—it’s a time for honest, constructive reflection, with the goal of getting better. Do an AAR yourself, even if you’re just dry-firing in your basement.
For all tasks, use the “Crawl/Walk/Run” methodology: Crawl means that, for tasks new to you, you execute them so slowly and deliberately that it feels like you’re crawling. As you get better, you can run it a little faster (walk). When you’ve mastered the task, you do it more naturally, so it appears faster (run). Keep in mind that “run phase” doesn’t necessarily mean literally to run—unless you’ve achieved that Nirvana—it all just seems to come together and happen. There’s no use trying to be all high-speed, low-drag when you don’t know what you’re doing—you’ll just make mistakes and get frustrated, so start at the crawl speed. You’ll probably feel proficient ASAP, and won’t want to make mistakes because it makes you look bad in front of your peers. Trust me, making mistakes is how you learn—better to make your mistakes in training where life gives you a mulligan and you get to try it again! Mistakes become bad when you can’t seem to figure out how to stop making the same ones over and over.
Train as you’ll fight. I can’t stress this enough. Under stress, you’ll fall back on your training. This means train with the gear that you expect to use, in the kind of terrain and weather that you expect to fight in. Don’t practice shooting only at 10 meter targets if, in reality, you’ll need to engage out to 250 meters—but the opposite is true as well. If your training isn’t realistic, you’re screwing yourself and those who’ll be fighting beside you. How do you make it realistic? Using crawl/walk/run, first do things in daylight, so the environment isn’t distracting you and you can focus on skill development. Then, when your skill level has progressed to where you’re executing somewhere in the latter part of the walk phase, do it at night. Start in good weather, then do it in foul weather. Go to the range on a shitty day, when it’s cold and raining. Do PT outside when it’s cold and raining. Basically, start simple and then make things more complex so you’re always pushing the envelope of your skill level, but never push so far beyond your capabilities that you become a danger to yourself or those around you.
Chances are, your primary mission is to defend your personal homeland—your house and family. So pick missions that make sense for that. Once you can effectively protect your own shit, then start spreading your area of influence. Start with immediate neighbors, and build your buffer zone out farther and farther, until you’ve got your whole neighborhood on the same program. IMO, until you can secure your own personal AO, you’ve got no business thinking about being part of some larger force, doing bigger things.
If you’re focused on protecting your clan, they are the ones to recruit first. Get your spouse involved. If your kids are of age, then train them too! If they’re not “into it,” keep getting ready on your own and gently—over time—explain to them why you’re doing what you’re doing. My son is four years old, but he like “rough time” with Daddy—he actually demands it. He loves to try to push me down and wrestle, which gives me an opportunity to teach him some basic grappling skills, without him even realizing it. He loves to run, so I create little obstacle courses for him which builds his agility and endurance. I do it all in a very positive, no pressure, can-do way, in order to keep him wanting more. The same can be applied to others—figure out what they need to know, then teach them in a way that they don’t even realize that they’re learning something specific.
I’ve really just scratched the surface. There are so many things to know. That’s why you really need to get input from someone who’s had the training. At least if you read the manuals and get squared away with the individual tasks though, you’ll be able to focus on the next level stuff the trainer can teach you. I’d suggest writing down a formal plan that’ll get you from where you are now to where you want to be. Feel free to adjust the plan as you learn, but keep it up to date, and realistic.
(Before anyone starts whining about me picking on people, or judging others….a little background.
I’ve taught over a dozen classes, in field and classroom environments to “militias” over the last two years. I’ve also had militia members in open-enrollment classes. While there are some exceptions that have proved the rule, the vast majority of them, when I showed up, were as squared away as a fucking soup sandwich. I’m not sure if they’re better now, but at least they’ve been shown a better way.
I have respect for anyone who will get off his ass and go out, on a weekend, and do SOMETHING. I think it’s awesome that guys are getting off the couch and going to militia drill weekends, and getting outside and shooting their weapons (I hope they’re shooting their weapons).
I think it’s awesome that so many guys threw their shit in the truck and went to Nevada to stand up to the BLM. I KNOW that at least one guy who showed up is a former USMC NCO, with combat experience in Iraq. I hope there were a bunch more, and I hope all the militia “commanders” were at least smart enough to listen to the adult supervision.
What I don’t like? People passing off stupid bullshit as “training” and “standards” to well-meaning people who don’t know any better, under the color of “authority” as militia “commanders” because some jackass wrote a really poorly written set of “standards.”
I guarantee the “Lightfoot Militia Standards” mentioned in the below quoted comment from my last article was NOT written by anyone with military leadership experience. –JM)
The following comment was posted in the comments on the last article, and precipitated this skull-stomping:
“It is rather unfortunate that you don’t claim your name to this post.
Whereas (editorial note. I corrected spelling for readability—JM), I find the info useful, I need to point out a detail I feel needs to be addressed.
There certainly is a place for “secret squirrel” units but looking at the name of your website here, that doesn’t look exactly covert as you were proposing. Lightfoot units are Constitutional civilian groups independent from each but with a common set of standards.
Feel free to review our website like the NSA, SPLC, and others have done as am sure they have this Facebook (NSA data mining program) account. It is too late to be worried about that or what someone names their unit. We are all in this together and with legal standing.”
I’m going to go out on a ledge and guess that your reading comprehension needs development. I did not, in any place, suggest some sort of “secret squirrel” unit. I suggested not naming your organization after units of the Imperial British Army in the fucking 18th century….You know? The ones that fought AGAINST colonial forces during the Revolution?
As far as “It is too late to be worried about…what someone names their unit….” On the contrary, you’re as wrong as two boys fucking. Militia groups in this country, right or wrong, have a public image of being a bunch of ignorant fucking rednecks who sit around in camouflage, stroking their rifles like some phallic talisman. You claim historical precedence, then you name your group after the ENEMY of the Founding Fathers…..That decidedly does NOT do anything to change your image in the public perception, and if you think the public perception is not important, I’m wasting my time, and need to quit writing this blog, because you’re not learning the fucking important shit.
At your suggestion, I took the time to download and re-read the Lightfoot Militia Standards .pdf….
“Article 1. The laws, rights, and duties of war apply not only to armies, but also to militia
and volunteer corpsfulfilling the following conditions….
….4. To conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.”
Someone needs to sit your people down and have a serious discussion about the Hague and Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare, as it pertains to insurgent forces….This is giving people a completely skewed view on what the underlined portion above refers to. Never mind the fact that, in the event you are shooting at federal government forces, you are NOT going to be treated like a lawful belligerent. Suggesting to people that they will be stretches the bounds of both credulity AND reason. Or, perhaps you can demonstrate a time—any time—in history, when a government treated its citizens who resisted it with force of arms, as lawful belligerents, rather than criminals and terrorists?
I’m not suggesting that resistance is futile, or unnecessary. I’m just saying, be fucking honest about it.
“Excellent physical fitness level – 5 mile field march w/Level 3 (72 hour) gear in 2 hours.”
You’ve obviously not been reading this blog long, or you probably wouldn’t have suggested I read this. I realize, not everyone is a healthy, 20-year old meat-eater. I get it, people get old, and they get crippled. Nevertheless, even after all the fucked up injuries I’ve had (including a broken back x2, broken femur, broken hip, and a host of other issues), this is damned near a 30-minute mile. I can probably fucking CRAWL this fast. I get people bitching, because I suggest a 12-15 minute mile, and point out that a 10-minute mile with a ruck on is possible with motivation, but holy fuck me in the ass while I’m running, this is like grade-school level fitness. Way to set the bar high there, “Commander.”
“The Militia Marksmanship Qualification course is used to sharpen the skills of militiamen
and provide an objective means of qualifying personnel when ammunition is in short supply
and/or range areas are limited.…The MMQ is conducted at the conclusion of the Basic Marksmanship Course (see “Skill Level: Recruit”, pg. 20) which is required for all Militia members. The MMQ incorporates three firing positions, magazine changes, movement and a timer to add stress. Only 15 rounds are required to qualify. A range of 50 yards is needed and a 8-1/2 x 11 inch target (approximates “center mass”). Start sequence: Load 3 magazines with 5 rounds each. At the firing line assume the low ready position with the weapon loaded and on safe. At the signal the shooter will fire 5 rounds from the standing position, RELOAD, fire 5
rounds from the kneeling position, RELOAD, and fire the last 5 rounds from the prone position,
all within 45 seconds. …Scoring: 3 points per hit, for a total of 45 points….Point breakdown : 25-34 MARKSMAN 66% - Level 1…35-39 SHARPSHOOTER 77% - Level 2…40-45 EXPERT 88% - Level 3….
…Ten shot DMR- Designated Marksman Rifle (see S.W.O.R.D. )- Ten out of ten shots in a
8-1/2”x11” center mass target at 200 yards. Prone position. Timed: 3 minutes.…”
Seriously? Honestly, if these are your standards, there’s no fucking way, in Hell, I’m going anywhere near you fucking morons in a gunfight, except to take your shit, so it will be used effectively, after you die.
We call your MMQ the D-Drill, or The Modified Navy Qual. The standard is 20 seconds, with zero misses. It’s a pretty basic drill, used at every “tacti-cool” shooting school I’m aware of, with some minor modifications (some places use a 10rd and a 5rd magazine, only requiring one reload. I run it in probably half my classes, sometimes at 100 yards.
Further, the “ten shot DMR” test demonstrates a) what I would expect as a MINIMUM level of ability with a rifle, albeit in WAY the fuck less than 3 minutes…..and b) a distinct misunderstanding of what the fuck the Designated Marksman’s role is in a rifle squad.
Have you fucking people even heard of Appleseed? There are women and children shooting better than this, in less than one full weekend of training. THIS IS PATHETIC!!!!!
But, let’s quit beating that dead horse. Let’s look at some other “standards.”
“a. Road march for 2 miles in 40 minutes with all Level 1 gear.
b. 3 to 5 second rushes (with 2-3 second pauses) for 100 yards, in L1 gear.
c. 10 push ups, 10 sit ups.”
Okay, so I’ve already beat on your “Road march” standards. Now, you’re down to 20 minutes, but with only Level One gear on. Still gayer than a bag of dicks.
Subsection B, not too bad. I’m curious how many of you can actually go 100 meters doing legit, 3-5 second rushes, with only 2-3 seconds in between, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, “Commander.”
Subsection C is retarded. Seriously. Just pull it out of your fucking handbook. My 2-year old can do 10 fucking push-ups! If a grown man can’t do—at a minimum—50 push-ups, he needs to eat a fucking gun. Period.
I don’t care if those are just your “private” standards. Holy fuck, you douchenozzle, 20 years ago, you had to be able to do 13 just to START basic combat training in the Army….go read some of my PT articles, you pussy.
And…don’t think I didn’t notice that your “NCOs” don’t have to do push-ups anymore for PT standards…..way to lead from the front there guy…..
SKILL LEVEL THREE:
To progress to Skill Level 3, the militia soldier must have mastered all Level 2
qualifications. In addition he must demonstrate the following skills:
1. Physical Fitness: 3XX
- 5 mile field march in 2 hours with Level 3 gear.
2. Marksmanship: X3X
Rifle: Score of 40-45 on the MMQ.
S.W.O.R.D. TEAMS (Select Weapons, Ordinance and Reconnaissance Detachment):
S.W.O.R.D. Teams consist of 6 men who receive extra training in one of three areas:Designated Marksman, Land Navigation or Communications. Two men in each team will duplicate the necessary disciplines of “Shoot, Move and Communicate”.They will carry highly accurate rifles with higher end optics/night vision (Select Weapons); study the theory and employment of military weapons they may encounter on a future battlefield, such as grenades, RPG’s, mines, etc. (Ordinance); and practice advanced land navigation, compass/map reading and recon techniques (Reconnaissance).
All members of the team must be: – Level 3 qualified in both Physical Fitness and Marksmanship (i.e. a Grade Modifier of 33X). – Assault Pistol qualification is also required.
Aw, isn’t that cute? SWORD teams huh? By the way, it’s ORDNANCE. An Ordinance is a law or regulation. Why do you people insist on such retarded fucking names. THIS IS WHY PEOPLE DON’T TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Must complete a HAM radio training program
To what level? Technician, General, Advanced?
Designated Marksman Team:
- Both must pass DMR qualification. In the field one will act as the spotter.
- Conduct a terrain survey.
- Estimate range to target.
- Construct and use a ghillie suit.
- Construct and use a Sniper/Forward Observation Post hide.
- Conduct long range surveillance of target for intelligence gathering purposes.
Plan and implement a enemy harassment plan.
Plan and conduct interdiction operations on key target personnel.
Suggestion? Since you obviously don’t know what the fuck a SDM does, why don’t you just call these guys snipers? Because pretty much everything on that list, with the exception of “estimate range to a target” is a sniper task, not a SDM task. Of course, that would require far more than a basic fucking rifleman’s qualification.
By the way….estimate range to a target? How far away do I have to be able to accurately estimate range? Your qualification only requires me to hit out to 200 meters. I don’t need range estimation for that. It’s this thing called Battle Sight Zero. Most soldiers (not even just infantrymen) in the US Army can hit to 200 meters….with iron sights.
Advanced Land Navigation:
- Advanced map/compass reading
- Excellent land navigation skills
- Plan, lead and execute patrols and reconnaissance gathering missions.
Okay, “Commander?” “Excellent land navigation skills” and “advanced map/compass reading?” Synonymous. Finally, “plan, lead and execute patrols and reconnaissance gathering missions” is NOT a land navigation task.
Be good to your feet and they’ll be good to you. Uncle Sugar spends millions of dollars to
figure out what boot is best (for the smallest amount of money) for his soldiers. He knows full
well that if his fighter’s feet are fubar (say that 3 times fast) they simply can’t fight.
Having said that, any boot worn by our combat troops will be more than sufficient. Don’t
expect to last very long if you plan to fight in a pair of sneakers. Go get a good pair of boots, and
I’m going to go out on a limb here (admittedly, a very short, very stout limb), and guess that paragraph was written by someone who has a) never served in an infantry unit, b) never done a lengthy foot movement under a ruck, while wearing USGI boots, and c) is a fucking idiot.
Yes, USGI boots will suffice. No, they are not the “best,” even for the smallest amount of money.
Seriously? Go pony up the money for a good pair of boots. Don’t send people to Joe’s Surplus to buy contract over-run GI boots.
Kevlar or steel pot, worth it’s weight in gold. Get one. (FYI… the kevlar helmet will better
protect you noggin’, but you can’t use it as a shaving/wash basin).
Seriously? Once again, THIS IS WHY PEOPLE DON’T TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay. I’ll stop picking on the slow reading group.
Look, I know, everyone is all now butt-hurt, because I’m picking on people who are “at least doing something.” The problem is…what you’re doing is going to get your own people killed, as well as people who are more serious, because you’re still turning the public away with your Rambo fetishes.
Seriously. Go find a former infantry NCO, and make him the fucking unit commander, and then? Do WHATEVER the fuck he tells you, as far as standards, equipment, training, and performance. If his PT standards are too high? Then go join a fucking gym, you fucking, fat, lazy bastard.
If his marksmanship standards are too high? Go take a fucking Appleseed and learn how to shoot. Don’t stop until you hit “Rifleman” standard, at least. Then? Go take an actual fighting rifle course somewhere. Get your new unit commander to start a rifle training course every other weekend.
If you are a former infantry NCO, and you are reading this….go join your local militia, tell them you’re now in charge of training, and start fixing shit.
If you’re a militia “commander,” and have zero fucking infantry experience? Step down, and pass the reins to someone who’s actually qualified. Quit polishing your ego by having half-wit fucking goobers polish your knob, and DO THE RIGHT THING!!!!
(and no, I won’t join your militia)
(somehow my formatting is getting fucked by WP’s software again. I apologize for readability issues…..)
I’ve not gone to Bunkerville since events got, shall we say, “western” down there. I didn’t even hear about it until a couple of days ago. I have followed some of the goings on with the Bundy family for well over a decade, through western agricultural journals. I’m not about to step in and say there are any innocent angels in this mix, even though that will probably piss off a lot of people.
That having been said, I’ve spent enough time in the West, I’m always going to side AGAINST the BLM. I have it—from people who have been on the ground there in recent days—that there is at least some “adult supervision” on the ground there. This article is not intended—in any way—to slight the efforts of those with boots on the ground. On the contrary, it is to give those without the wherewithal to be there—for whatever reasons—food for thought on other ways to contribute to the efforts.
There is a lot of content flying around the blogosphere right now about IPB (intelligence preparation of the battlefield/battlespace) in light of events in Nevada. People are advocating gathering and reporting information on BLM officers and offices, as well as anyone else who may or may not have been present on the BLM side of affairs. Since it is a given amongst even the most marginal thinkers that there was/is ample intelligence collection and dissemination going on from the other side, let’s look at how we gather and collect intelligence information, from a guerrilla perspective. –JM
Tactical intelligence is information that provides leaders and planners with an ACCURATE information picture of the operational situation. The possession of ACCURATE information about what is going on in the operational environment allows the planner to draw accurate conclusions about the situation. This results in plans—hopefully—that actually have a chance of success. A lack of accurate information on the other hand, and the incorrect conclusions that can result, leads to mission failure and the pointless death of good guys. That is—at least in my experience—generally a bad thing.
Whether you are an active fighter in your community defense group, a member of a combat support echelon, or an auxiliary living and working in the midst of the hostile regime’s power, a solid grasp of the type of information needed, as well as active and passive methods for gathering that information, is a crucial aspect of contributing to the successful defense of your community and tribe.
Basic Ground Rules
There are some basic ground rules that have to be understood if you intend to be a useful member of the intelligence collection function of any organization. Violation of these rules will largely invalidate the majority of the information you provide, thus reducing your credibility and usefulness to the organization.
Rule Number One
Rule Number One is that information is not (necessarily) intelligence. Information can be defined, in our terms, as any tidbit of potentially relevant knowledge of an actual or potential hostile force (like say, the BLM, Nevada State Police, US Forest Service, or other agencies), the terrain in a given area, a potential target, likely weather conditions, and a host of other considerations. This information may come from direct observation, overheard or intercepted communications, rumors and reports, and/or imagery, amongst numerous other sources.
Any information that is POTENTIALLY relevant should be recorded and reported. This apparent relevance however, still does not make it intelligence. Intelligence is information that has been collected, evaluated for accuracy and relevance, collated and integrated with other accurate information, and analyzed and interpreted for significance and meaning, within the parameters of the local operational area. This is so critical of a point that it bears repetition: UNTIL IT IS EVALUATED FOR ACCURACY AND INTERPRETED FOR MEANING, WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF LOCAL OPERATIONAL ABILITIES, INFORMATION IS NOT INTELLIGENCE!!! So, when you see something on the news about what’s going on at Bunkerville, or read it on the Internet….it’s NOT INTELLIGENCE, it’s just information, and I don’t care if it’s John-Fucking-Mosby reporting it. Until you’ve verified it, and figured out how it affects YOUR operations, it’s just fucking information!!!
Rule Number Two
The corollary to that however, is that ANY information related to the situation may be critical. Everyone should be trained to observe and report those observations, and ANY observations should be reported within your network. Stick to that job. You are not an analyst, so don’t try and analyze the information. Don’t try and determine what part of the information is useful. Unless you are an analyst (in which case, quit reading, and start writing a POI to teach classes within the community on this shit!!!), don’t try and determine what part of the information is useful. Unless you have access to ALL of the incoming information, you have no way to determine the relevance and accuracy of what you are gathering. Be a sponge, and absorb all of the information into your notebook or voice recorder—all of it—then let it be squeezed out of you gently by an intel guy or girl. When you are reporting it, don’t analyze it, just report it. It’s the analysts’ job to analyze.(If you want to be an analyst, step one is go and take one of Sam C’s classes from GuerrillAmerica.)
Just for good measure, let me repeat that one for emphasis as well…..UNLESS YOU ARE AN ANALYST AND ARE RECIEVING ALL INCOMING INFORMATION, DO NOT TRY AND ANALYZE….You’ll just fuck it up and create an inaccurate information picture. Pretend it’s a Saturday morning and you’re back in college…Regurgitate it all.
A lot of people, including many who should genuinely know better, throw the term METT-TC around very loosely, all too often in a fashion that demonstrates what is apparently an inherent misunderstanding of the depth of meaning intrinsic to this awesome intelligence tool. The first objective of tactical intelligence is to help planners and leaders make sound decisions. Getting intelligence is the first step in planning an operation. It assists us by giving us an idea of what the enemy can do, where he can do it, when he can do it, and if he is likely to do it.
Arguably, the most important thing for the novice to understand is that none of the elements of METT-TC (Mission, Enemy, Terrain, Troops, Time, and Civilian Considerations) exist in a vacuum. Each element exists and is relevant only as a synergistic part of the whole information picture—in relationship to each of, and all of, the other elements. While we have to—for comprehension issues—discuss each independently, we need to understand how they tie together as well. Let’s look at them, both generally, and in relation to ongoing events in The Silver State.
What is the mission you hope to accomplish? Are you only interested in getting the BLM to leave the Bundy’s alone? (Good luck. I’ve been following that story for well over a decade, because they are sort-of neighbors, and it’s not going away anytime soon) Are you interested in destroying the BLMs ability to function as a regulatory agency throughout the West? Are you only interested in making a political statement against the federal government, using the BLM as the agent of that statement? The problem is, each of those is a strategic goal, and we’re functioning at the tactical level…or we should be….but, knowing our strategic goal is instrumental to defining our tactical goals.
If your strategic goal is ONLY to get the BLM to leave the Bundy family alone, then your first tactical mission is to get the BLM to leave. That was already achieved, at least in the short term. In the long-term though, we need to start doing more thorough IPB. We need to know and understand the rest of the METT-TC factors.
If your strategic goal is to destroy the BLMs ability to function as a regulatory agency throughout the West (does the BLM even have any functioning field offices east of the 100th meridian? I genuinely don’t know….), then your tactical mission needs to change, because it’s bigger than just the Bundy Ranch, the Pahrump Field Office, or the Southern Nevada District of the BLM. Now, you’re looking at every field office, in every district, in every western state. While that sounds daunting, it actually makes shit WAY easier. Now, instead of gathering information on one field office, in one district, far, far away from where you live, you can focus on the local office.
If your strategic goal is to make a political statement against the federal government, using the BLM as the agent of that statement….well, job well done. Now, ya’ll go home and leave the Bundy family to pay the penalty of your political shenanigans.
My personal stand is, let’s accomplish one and two. Let’s get the BLM to stop fucking with the Bundy family by destroying their ability to function as a regulatory agency throughout the West….unless someone can show me some sort of Constitutional legal precedent for the federal government controlling 85% of a sovereign state’s land area? Buehler….Buehler…..I’m waiting……
That means, we have to determine what our operational and tactical missions will be—locally—in support of that mission. For most general information gathering activities, we will be gathering information on an operational scale and filtering it through a tactical mission statement to determine its relevance. Priority Intelligence Requirements (PIR) may be requested that answer specific questions about a specific tactical-level mission. That requires a tactical-scale mission statement, in order to determine how the information we already have, and the information we still need, relates to the other information in the METT-TC analysis. A simple “who, what, when, where, why” statement of the mission can directly correlate to the METT-TC outline, allowing the planner to determine the specific information he needs.
“The East Tiddly-Winks Lightfoot Militia (WHO/TROOPS….but on a side note….why the fuck do so-called “militias” insist on using 18th century British unit designations? If you want to have a cool name for your militia, I’d suggest not naming it after the enemy….Call it something cool and American like “Volunteer Infantry” or—if you’re in the Nevada desert, and on horseback “Volunteer Cavalry.” Calling a militia “lightfoot” like you’re going to war in a red tunic with white-washed LBE is gayer than a bag of dicks!) will conduct a harassment and interdiction mission (WHAT/MISSION), from 0300 on 25APR2014 until 0600 on 25APR2014 (WHEN/TIME), in order to cause damage/destruction to BLM facilities and vehicles (WHY/MISSION and ENEMY…Note, I’m not specifically suggesting you do this….This is all hypothetical for training purposes, right? On the other hand, before someone suggests I’m a coward, for not targeting specific personnel in BLM uniforms….sabotage is a legitimate…and effective…tool in the UW/guerrilla toolbox).”
This more specific mission statement allows the planner to determine what information he has that can be applied to the tactical planning of the mission, as well as determining what further information he needs to request from assets in the field. For general information collection however, any information that might fit the strategic or operational mission statements should be gathered and reported. Don’t overlook the forest, because you’re too focused on the tree. Knowing what the enemy situation is (i.e. how many BLM employees there are at the national or local level) doesn’t do you a shit stain bit of good if you don’t know what your specific mission is.
The first step of the troop-leading procedures (TLP) is to analyze the situation. This gives the leader an accurate information picture of what he is facing, in order to determine what other issues he will need to address in planning his mission. Knowing the enemy situation is pretty critical to accomplishing that accurate information picture.
The planner needs to understand the type of force he is facing. Is it a “professional” military or paramilitary organization, trained in small-unit operations? Is it a police/regulatory agency trained in individual weapons and tactics? Is it a Barney Fife, security guard organization, who were issued weapons that they’ve never even touched before, for an emergency?
What is the size of the organization he is facing? Is it a couple of rifle squads, or an infantry-battalion? What type of equipment are they using, and more? The doctrinal method for reporting enemy information is the often-cited, but all too often, misunderstood SALUTE acronym, for Size, Activity, Location, Unit/Uniform, Time, and Equipment. It’s the perfect format for recording and reporting information, when it is done right. Unfortunately, all too often, it’s taught incorrectly, using entirely too brief and generalized of a format.
For example, my 1992 edition of the Ranger Handbook illustrates the use of SALUTE with the following report:
Size: Seven Enemy Soldiers
Activity: Traveling SW
Location: Crossed Road Junction GL123456 (if I have to tell you that is a map coordinate, you are as wrong as two boys fucking….Go do push-ups.)
Unit/Uniform: OD fatigues with red, six-pointed star on the left shoulder
Time: 211300AUG (1300 on 21 August)
Equipment: Carrying one machine gun and one rocket launcher (individual small arms are assumed to be present and carried)
On a conventional battlefield, with the enemy having a fixed Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE), such as the Soviets barreling through the Fulda Gap, that shit MIGHT have been sufficient. In the UW environment though, we’re going to need a LOT more information…
Size: How many personnel work in your local field office? How many of those are secretarial or janitorial staff? How many are biologists or bureaucrats who don’t carry guns (and might shit themselves at the sight of a gun, let alone the suggestion they carry one!)? How many are sworn LEOs and thus can be expected to carry a gun, at least on duty (in my experience, like cops everywhere, most BLM rangers don’t carry off-duty)? Of those that are armed, how many are actually fighting fit?
Knowing that the BLM has 10,000 employees (souce: blm.gov) is nice, but fundamentally useless at the tactical level. I want to know how many the local field office has. I also want to know how many are on duty at any given time, on any given day. Knowing that the BLM field office has 20 employees is useful, and MIGHT tell me that my four man cell can’t do shit against them. If I find out though, that only two are sworn officers with the legal ability to carry a weapon on duty, that sort of changes the paradigm a little bit, doesn’t it? If I delve deeper and find out that one of those had triple bypass surgery last month, and is on restricted light duty, and so can’t leave the office, that REALLY starts to change things!
So, they’re traveling SW? Cool. How fast were they moving? Were they moving in a tactically proficient manner, or were they just bopping down the road? Did they stop? When they stopped were they deployed in a defensible manner, or did they just fall down with exhaustion, wherever they happened to be standing? When they stopped, did they put out security? Did they eat? Did they have a rest plan, or did they all pass out? The idea of the activity report is to give the analyst an idea, not just of what they are doing at a specific moment in time, but also of their level of ability and their capabilities.
Looking more specifically at our BLM example….what level of training do the local guys maintain? Do they do their annual qualification and call it good? Is one or more of them a Tactical Timmy, concerned about his survival, who gets off-the-job training in gunhandling and small-unit tactics? Do they train with the local PD or SD SWAT team? Is the SWAT team any good?
Where do they eat breakfast? Do they have a field office working lunch or breakfast once a week? Do they link up during the day, in the middle of their patrols, to compare notes? God is in the details…
When they write citations, do they exhibit basic officer survival training tactics, or do they have their nose buried in the citation book? Do they walk up and lean on the window frame of Bubba’s pick-up when talking to him (No shit, I had a rural cop do that one time…tiny little female. She’s damned lucky I wasn’t a bad guy, or she’d have been a midnight snack. The world is full of fish, swimming around the ocean, just looking for a shark to eat them!)
Equally as important, what agencies do they cooperate with/train with locally, that they might call on for help in a bad situation? Do they cross-train a lot with the local sheriff’s department, or with the local FBI office? DEA (pretty common in parts of the West actually, as both agencies look for illegal marijuana growing operations on “public” ground)?
Crossed Road Junction GL 123456 is great. When they were there. Did they stop moving there? When they left, where did they go? When they stopped, did they stop on a key terrain feature with good OCOKA considerations (See Terrain, below), or in a tightly-vegetated, hard-to-access hide site? If they are in a built-up area, are they stopping in buildings, or are they sleeping outside in vacant lots? Are they taking over occupied homes, or only empty buildings?
Where is the field office located? Do an OCOKA assessment of it. Where do they stop for their mid-shift, in-vehicle nap? Do an OCOKA assessment of it. How much of a PSYOP victory would it be if the local Sheriff’s Department had to go rescue the fish cop, because some unidentifiable miscreants (no doubt troubled youth!) snuck up on him, stole his clothes and guns, and truck keys, and left him to sit in the woods in his truck? I know communities in the West where he’d never be able to show his face again in public…..NOT THAT I’M SUGGESTING SUCH AN APPLICATION OF YOUR STALKING SKILLS, MIND YOU. THIS IS HYPOTHETICAL!!!!!
The doctrinal idea behind identifying the unit that the enemy force is part of is that, by knowing the enemy’s order of battle, we can determine the level of ability of the forces we’re facing. There’s a lot to be said for that. A 12-man SFODA can be a hell of a lot more lethal than a single conventional infantry squad of 9 guys, and not just because of the four extra warm bodies. On the other hand, in the UW environment, the enemy may not be wearing uniforms, and the uniforms they are wearing might not mean shit.
Everyone, I’m sure, has seen the photograph of the fat kid playing airsoft, kitted out like a JSOC ninja.
I’ve been to shoots with people who had a couple of classes under their belt with some well-known trainers, and were kitted out from boots to do-rags in multicam, although it you’d asked them what SUT was, they’d have thought you were from Mars (it was so gay, even HH6 looked at me and asked “Why is that dude wearing pajamas to the range?”) Having the gear and cool uniforms doesn’t mean they know how to use it.
On the other hand, looking like a douche doesn’t mean they DON’T know how to use it either….
For all of our laughing at the fat kid playing airsoft……at least one of them has an idea of WTF is going on……
Being a cop doesn’t give them a pass on the “I know what I’m doing, because I’ve been trained” bus though, now does it?
And let’s not forget this genius….
But, on a tangential note, too often, the milita dudes are giving up PERSEC information, unnecessarily, in their quest to be “cool.” You do NOT need to be in head-to-toe camouflage, to stand watch on a fucking highway overpass! Wearing the uniform doesn’t make you skilled, anymore than not wearing the uniform makes you unskilled.
If you see a bunch of dudes in matching uniforms wearing the same velcro patches, don’t second-guess it. Just record what the fuck you see. Let the analysts figure out the other shit. If the people in the uniforms are not who they seem to be, then the analysts will figure that shit out, by….you know….analyzing ALL of the information, rather than just the microcosm of the battlefield that you see.
Before any of the militia dudes start sniveling, there’s nothing wrong with looking professional. I am, and always was, a fan of starched BDUs and spit-shined jungle boots in garrison. Call it a throwback to growing up in the Ranger Regiment. But, walking around in public, in ACUs, when most of the people around you are in Wranglers and button down shirts, just makes you look like a Tactical Dick….seriously.
If you can tell that they are an organized unit, based on their cool-guy Velcro patches, then record it. If you are gathering information based on what others are telling you, or what you overhear, and they are mentioning specific units, by all means, identify what you’ve heard. Just don’t get too wrapped around the “uniforms=units=training levels and professionalism” horseshit though. It doesn’t work very well.
Where are they, and when are/were they there? When did they stop? How frequently did they stop? Do they operate at night, or just during daylight hours? Operating only during daylight hours may indicate a lack of NV technology and/or training in low-light operations. It may also indicate a wage-slave mentality that can be leveraged to your advantage.
If your guys are trained to function at night—with or without NODs—and the enemy isn’t, or doesn’t function at night because it doesn’t fit into the agency budget, that opens up a wide variety of tactical options, doesn’t it? The idea of collecting and reporting information about the enemy goes to identifying capabilities, which can tell the planner about the enemy’s possible courses of action. Their ability or inability to function in the dark is a critical aspect of that.
I don’t want to just know what kind of weapons they have. I want to know if their weapons are well-maintained. I want to know how many weapons they have. Does EVERYONE have a weapon? Does the local field office have a sniper-grade weapon, and a trained marksman to run it? Do they have just their soft-skinned vehicles, or do they have armored vehicles too? Do they have automatic weapons at their disposal? Can they requisition them from other agencies? Do they have air assets, either agency-owned, or on contract?
Developing an understanding of the enemy situation, in relation to how it’s going to affect your local forces, is absolutely critical to developing an accurate information picture of the situation, and determining if you will be able to accomplish your intended missions. Developing a comprehensive SALUTE report can allow the analyst/planner to determine the enemy’s composition and disposition—how he is arrayed in the battlespace—as well as likely and possible courses-of-action the enemy might take (for instance, a local field office with 30 employees, only two of whom are sworn, armed LEO, who have NEVER made an arrest or written a citation after dark, except during elk season—and then only at checkpoint stops—are not likely to be ready to do much about half their vehicles in the motor pool suddenly having every single hose and wire under the hood ripped out….except call the Sheriff for investigative help….and be the laughing stock of the local ranching and hunting communities for a week or so….)
Terrain is—or should be—a dominant factor in mission-planning, since it us critical to the success or failure of operations. It’s an old adage that a “guerrilla knows his home terrain better than the invader.” There’s a lot of truth in that (thus the reason it’s become a cliché), but it’s only part of the story. Knowing the location of every creek, draw, and ridgeline within ten square miles is useful, but only if you understand the tactical significance of those terrain features. This tactical significance filter must be applied to the terrain both in how it impacts the enemy, as well as how it impacts friendly forces. To analyze terrain, we use the OCOKA framework. Again, like METT-TC, every element is synergistic with the others, as well as with the other METT-TC factors (wow, shit just got complicated, didn’t it?). Each element has to be analyzed, not just in light of friendly and enemy force capabilities, but also in light of the other OCOKA elements.
Observation and Fields-of-Fire: When analyzing positions to stop, or routes of movement/approach, we have to look at what we can see and what we can shoot at, given the limitations of our STANO (Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Night Observation—in other words, “optics” of all types, although audio surveillance equipment could be considered in the STANO list as well) equipment and our weapons. We also have to consider where we can BE SEEN FROM, and SHOT AT FROM, given the limitations of the enemy’s STANO and weapons. Cover and concealment are obviously impacted by both of these angles.
Cover and Concealment: What is available for cover along a particular route of approach/movement, or at a proposed stopping/firing position? Will it stop direct fire from the weapons we know or suspect the enemy to be armed with, or will it stop indirect fire weapons, if the enemy is equipped with them (are you starting to see the inter-relationship between Terrain and the Enemy situations now?)? If there is not reliable, suitable cover available, is there at least sufficient concealment to keep us hidden from the enemy’s observation? What if he has NOD or thermals? What if they are using aerial FLIR assets? Thick, northern coniferous forests offer a great deal of concealment from visible light observation, both during daylight, and from NODs, as well as from thermal imaging in many cases, including aerial FLIR. Thick, overgrown, jungle-like swamplands in the South East USA can offer the same benefits. Being inside of buildings in built-up areas can offer cover AND concealment, or just cover. In the southern Nevada desert? You’re not hiding from thermal imaging much….
Unless you start using your imagination….moving within the normal patterns of foot and vehicle traffic, in a non-suspicious manner may not offer cover, but it can offer more than ample concealment to allow partisan forces to move amongst hostile occupiers in a relatively free manner. Quit being pigeon-holed and ass-raped by your preconceived misconceptions, and think outside of the box, when it comes to determining what defines concealment. Multicam ACUs and three-color deserts look great in photographs, and work relatively well out in the boonies. In a crowd of people dressed in Wranglers and shit-kickers though, like at Bunkerville, all they do is serve as a target identifier for snipers. Sometimes dressing in street clothes is the more tactically prudent and effective “uniform” of the day, and may be the best concealment for approaching a target.
What cover and concealment is available for the enemy? As you’re moving along your route of movement, are you looking at potential lanes of observation and fields of fire? What cover and concealment do you see that could be potentially hiding enemy fighters? How far out are those positions? Are they within the maximum effective range of your enemy’s weapons?
Obstacles: When most people consider tactical obstacles, they think of man-made emplacements such as roadblocks or concertina wire emplacements. Both of these certainly fit the description, but limiting yourself to just man-made obstacles will not only limit your offensive options, but will ultimately result in your getting ass-raped in the defense as well. Man-made obstacles generally serve one of two purposes: to either block you from going somewhere, or to channelize your movement into a desired corridor of movement. In the first place, if properly emplaced and utilized, obstacles will always be overwatched by someone with a firearm. That may mean a sniper/marksman, or a rifle squad or platoon. It may just be a forward observer team with a radio and the ability to call for support.
In the second case, they will also be under observation, if done properly, but by bypassing them and taking the available route, you’ll be walking into an ambush kill zone. It’s sort of a fucked if you do, fucked if you don’t deal when dealing with man-made obstacles, unless you take the approach that coming across a man-made obstacle pretty much means you’ve gotten WAY too predictable, and completely change your operational modes.
Natural obstacles are the guerrilla’s best girlfriend. These are natural choke point and terrain features that restrict or limit the enemy’s ability to move somewhere he wants to—or needs to—go. A narrow, two-lane road along a lake, with steep, heavily vegetated mountainside on the opposite side of the road is a natural choke point, and no tactically proficient commander is going to utilize that approach, if he has even the slimmest glimmer of an alternative choice, or he’s so ignorant that he holds the enemy in complete disdain (don’t think for one minute that US military or LE commanders are immune to underestimating the enemy). On the other hand, steep, heavily vegetated terrain severely constricts the movement of vehicle-borne forces, often times forcing them to take routes that traverse natural obstacles that are natural choke points. Even air assets can be channelized by terrain. Make ridgetops impossible to land helicopters on, and the helicopters HAVE to set down in the valleys, where they are suddenly subject to interdiction from any fuckhead with a century-old .303 Enfield….let alone a .338 Lapua….
On the desert, there are thousands of dried, creekbed wadis that inhibit vehicular traffic (there’s a reason those Nevada ranchers still use horses to cowboy on…and it’s not all nostalgia). When looking at terrain for protection, we look at how natural obstacles can be used to “disrupt, turn, fix, or block” an enemy force (quoted from FM7-8 Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad, 22APR1992). Knowing that the enemy is a bunch of overweight, donut-eating, weak-sauce sisters, who can’t move more than 50 meters from their pickups without going into cardiac arrest, means you can use the desert terrain as an obstacle to approach, this “disrupting” their approach, forcing them to use ATV trails and established, known, and noted trails (turning), so that we can set up roadblocks, or man-made washouts to “fix” or “block” them in position for an ambush (Damn, ain’t is sweet how this shit all works together so well?)
Key Terrain: Key terrain is any location or area, the seizure of which affords the force in possession with a distinct tactical advantage over any hostile force that attempts to approach. In a nutshell, key terrain can be simplest defined as a location that offers covered and concealed positions, with observation and fields of fire on all probable or likely avenues of approach, and natural obstacles on any potential avenues of approach that do not afford easy fields of fire or observation (see what I did there? Damn my soul, it’s like I planned that shit or something….)
There is one very key, common misunderstanding about key terrain (pun not intended) that must be clarified. To most laymen, “key terrain” is synonymous with “the high ground.” Here’s the catch though…especially within the context of our current specific discussion…..”The High Ground” quit being automatically synonymous with “Key Terrain” on 17DEC1903, at approximately 1035. Think about it for a moment (or, just Google the date)
Avenues of Approach: “An avenue of approach is an air or ground route of an attacking force of a given size leading to its objective or key terrain feature in its path. In the offense, the leader identifies the avenue of approach that affords him the greatest protection and places him at the enemy’s most vulnerable spot. In the defense, the leader positions his key weapons along the avenue of approach most likely to be used by the enemy.” (quote is again from the 1992 edition of FM7-8)
I didn’t quote the FM because I’m lazy and couldn’t think of a better way to express it. I quoted the doctrine in that manner, because it pretty much tells you everything that you need to understand about avenues of approach. Some important details are encompassed in that. The avenue of approach that a small unit of elite personnel can use (such as scaling the cliffs of Pont du Hoc at Normandy) is not going to work for a large conventional force element without the advanced individual training necessary to utilize that approach.
A BLM SWAT team (do they have one?) may or may not use helicopters to effect a pinpoint assault on an objective (like the Bundy Ranch HQ), but the FBI HRT team sure as fuck will. An assault force of BLM officers, in trucks, is going to be limited in their avenues of approach in that particular corner of Nevada desert (seriously….if you’ve never been there, go check it out some time. You guys that are on the ground, take a hike away from the roadside festivities and go check out the surrounding desert……), but what if they do bring in helicopter-equipped “special operations” officers (I know I’m a dick, but using the term “special operations” in the same sentence as most cops just makes me giggle). At the same time though, the chances of even the FBI HRT using the same overland, foot-borne infiltration routes that say a SF or SEAL sniper team would use is pretty laughable (not entirely though…..).
It’s critical, when determining what avenues of approach an enemy force can use, to determine what his capabilities are (based on knowledge of training and rehearsal “activity” and what “equipment” he has available.). When you know what avenues of approach he’s CAPABLE of, then you can start figuring out which avenues he’s INCAPABLE of using, and crossing those of the list. That means you can put your most effective weapons (like .50BMG and .338LM heavy rifles) in the places they’ll do the most good.
When determining what avenues of approach your forces can use (say, to sneak up on the snoozing BLM fish cop in his truck, out in the field), it’s important to have a REALISTIC, OBJECTIVE analysis of what your forces are trained and equipped to be capable of. A bunch of 50-something accountants and programmers-turned-guerrillas who have spent all of their time “training” by shooting at full-size E-type and IDPA silhouettes at 10M on the square range, but bitch when I suggest doing “MORE PT!!!”, are not going to scale a 2000′ elevation, 70-degree rock face in Montana, using NODs. They’re not going to infiltrate, across the desert, at night, into an overwatch site, from 10 kilometers away, with five days worth of sustainment gear, to avoid being seen by the BLM spotters still watching the scene.
On the other hand, a bunch of young studs in their twenties and thirties, who run obstacle races for fun, do regular PT that includes forced marches for fun with heavy rucks, and spend a couple hours a month at the climbing gym in town, might actually be able to pull that shit off….
Terrain should be viewed as a third, neutral—but active—force operating in the battlespace. Knowing how to read and understand the tactical implications of terrain can turn it into an ally instead of an enemy. Ignoring terrain, or simply not understanding what it means, from an operational and tactical standpoint, means you will not only be fighting the enemy, but actually fighting the planet as well…and that’s one big bitch to have coming after you!
Troops: Knowing what friendly forces you have available may only be determined through active information gathering, as “friendly” force commanders hedge their bets by holding troops in reserve, to hide their true capabilities from their erstwhile allies, in recognition that, in a wartime environment—especially in UW—today’s ally may be tomorrow’s enemy. It may also be done in order to conserve power for dealing with tomorrow’s enemy.
On the same hand, trying to exhibit slightly more faith in humanity—even if experience and a knowledge of history and human psychology indicates it to be a misplaced faith—even if you are confident that you have a true representation of the number of friendly forces available to you, understanding what is available means you have to analyze the other METT-TC factors in light of that. For the UW leader (as opposed to say, an SF advisor working with foreign indigenous personnel), this can be difficult, due to the need to be thoroughly, brutally objective, about people who may be your buddies—or even your relatives. If you’ve spent two or three or four years—or more—training with your group of beer-drinking buddies, to start, organize, and develop the East Tiddly-Winks Volunteer Infantry Company, having to admit that you do not have the ability to conduct an effective sabotage mission, react to contact, or do fuck-all at night could be disheartening, to say the least. Having to admit it, at the same time that you realize, your brother-in-law is the chief training officer, might make Christmas supper awkward, to say the least (on the other hand, it’ll still be less awkward than explaining to your wife that her brother got smoked by the fish cop because you weren’t honest in your Troops assessment….)
I teach guys to perform an objective SALUTE report, just like they do for the enemy situation, on their own available forces.
Size: How many actual TRAINED, FIT fighters do we have?
Activity: What training have we done? To standard? Have we learned and practiced foot patrolling? Have we mastered hasty attack and break contact? Have we practiced conducting raids or deliberate assaults? Have we mastered clandestine movements in our operational environment, whether urban or rural? If we’re urban, have we learned, practiced, and mastered conducting link-up operations in urban environments without getting compromised by the old lady with 45 cats, who sits in her nightgown on the balcony, smoking Pall Malls at 0230, because the crazy bitch has no life? Or, did we sit on our asses, drinking beer and eating nachos and barbecue, while we plinked at steel at 50 yards, and called each other “sniper” while trading velcro patches?
Location: What locations are my guys able to access? Can they run across rooftops and cross from one building roof to another using scaling ladders in urban areas, or can they get down in the sewer system and traverse the city that way? Have we done it in training, or am I making shit up because it sounds cool? Can they scale cliffs, swim fast-moving rivers, or at least construct rope-bridges? Are they capable of even WALKING a mile or two with their fighting load on, if we can get them that close with pick-up trucks?
Unit/Uniform: Am I only using my guys, or do I have other cells/units coming to help? What are the capabilities of the others? Do I need time to train them up? Are they actually trained to the standards my guys are? Are they better trained? I’d be nervous as fuck if I were at Bunkerville right now, with guys from all these different “militia” units showing up, and no way to know their respective levels of training and safe-firearms handling habits….
How will we identify them as friendly in the heat of the fight, if we don’t know them? If it’s darker than three feet up a bull’s ass (what if they’re all wearing the same fucking multicam as the BLM guys are wearing?)
Time: Can my guys operate at night, or are we limited to daylight operations, and night time static sentry posts? What about my allies? How fast can my people move, stealthily, on foot, in the dark? If I have a limited time window within which to accomplish my mission (like the fish cop’s lunch break in his truck), does my guys’ inability to hump a ruck quickly, mean I will have to scrub the mission? Can my guys move, fast enough, across rough, broken country, in fighting loads, quietly, that we can get to the truck, and get the guy captured, before he drives off at the end of his lunch break?
Equipment: What weapons do we have available? What STANO equipment? What vehicles?
I need to know the enemy’s abilities, but I have to know my abilities as well. As the man said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Misconceptions about the enemy can be catastrophically bad but can be the result of poor intelligence collection or counterintelligence efforts by the enemy. Misconceptions about your own forces can only be laid at the feet of an incompetent fucktard of a leader.
Time available is not simply a measure of how much time you have to accomplish the mission. It also represents the impact of the ability of your forces and the enemy’s forces, to function at night, on that timetable. Will the fish cop still be there, or will he have driven off to ticket birdwatchers for disturbing migratory fish? Do I need to hit him before he’s moved, or can I do it while he’s driving (obstacles can help here, right?)? Can we keep enough people around Bunkerville to keep the BLM occupied until this affair is no longer front page news on the East Coast, or do we need to do something drastic to keep it on the front pages, in order to protect the Bundy family?
Civil considerations is a relatively new addition to the tactical intelligence packet, outside of SF, as far as I know. I do remember, as a young RIP candidate, in the early 1990s (I believe, 20 years later, the guy was a former ROTC Nazi, but I could be mistaken), asking one of the cadre (for veterans of the Regiment, the RI in question was “The Evil Christian.” For the rest of the readership, that’s actually a compliment….so don’t start burning me in effigy) a question about METT-T. The RI informed us, even back then, that METT-T was obsolete, because for “the cutting edge of special operations” it was now METT-TC. That having been said, I don’t really remember seeing the C factor much until I got to SF, several years later…..
Regardless of when the addition was made, in UW, civil considerations impact everything!!! Let me restate that for emphasis: IN UW, CIVIL CONSIDERATIONS IMPACT EVERYTHING!!!! If you think otherwise, you’re a complete fucking retard, which actually, probably doesn’t impact me personally at all, so don’t take it personally, but recognize that you’re going to lose—and die—because you’re fucking retarded.
The enemy’s response to your actions has to be considered, as well as the impact of that reaction on the civilian population. Will the enemy grab ten innocent civilians and execute them for every one of his guys you kill or wound? What impact is that going to have on the local civilian populace’s willingness to provide you aid? It might piss them off and make them more active in helping you. Or, just as likely, they may decide since you’re not protecting them, you’re not capable of protecting them, so they better side with the enemy, just to stay safe.
Civil considerations will impact your relationship with the terrain. If an avenue of approach requires crossing in view of eight different farms, will the farmers provide you food and shelter? If not, can they at least be trusted to keep their mouths shut about you being in the area? In urban areas, will the locals make you as a non-local (yes. Always!)? Will they help you, ignore you, or turn you in? Will they rat you out to the enemy in hopes of gaining a benefit?
Friendly forces has an impact on civil considerations, as we’ve discussed in this blog, ad nauseum. Your people need to know how to be genuinely friendly and helpful, rather than acting like dicks, even if they like the locals. Just because you think Islam is a 10th Century anachronism, full of barbarity that should be stomped into oblivion under the boot heel of modern liberal (in the classical sense of the word) philosophy and liberty (which I tend to), if you’re working in an Islamic country to defeat insurgents, you’d better know enough not to piss on dead bodies and burn Korans if you want to win….
In Nevada ranch country? Don’t start talking shit about rednecks or hillbilly farmers. Don’t talk shit about a man’s hat or his horse. Don’t discipline another man’s kids or his dogs (seriously. I almost got my ass kicked by a couple of Nevada cowboys once, because I grabbed one of their cow dogs and threw it out of the back of my truck…..). If you’re out on the desert, pulling overwatch, and get tripped over by some liberal fuckwit backpackers, or field biologists, don’t go all Rambo on them. Be polite, offer them water. When they leave, move. If you’re at the outdoor store, buying gear, and hear some patchouli-smelling douchenozzle with dreadlocks and tie-dyes one, talking smack, don’t engage directly. Be polite, and turn the conversation to anti-government common ground….then you can point out that the only difference between them and the Bundy family is that the Bundy family has better fashion sense, and grooming habits…..and NOW who’s the redneck, making prejudicial judgments solely on appearance (it worked for me recently, in Jackson, Wyoming….)
Always, always, always, consider the impact of your operations on the local civilian populace. Gather information from the locals on local attitudes towards your forces. Are they on your side? Do they support your foals, without being willing or ready to lend active support? Are they neutral and just don’t give a shit either way? Any of those are okay, from our point of view, although the first two are obviously preferable. Is there anything we can do to sway them towards the first two?
Is there a vocal faction swaying public opinion against you? Is that element actively opposed to you? Do they believe you are nothing more than a bunch of wannabe Rambo criminals who should be thrown into the darkest cell in the basement of a prison somewhere—preferably in a third-world nation they can’t pronounce the name of—and then have the key melted down to slag metal? If so, what would it take to change their minds and gain their support? Is that possible for you to accomplish? Chances are, in today’s America, the answer is a resounding yes. Not even liberals are happy with the government today. I’ll give you another hint….”Kill them” is NOT a valid answer, regardless of how tempting it sometimes is to “hoist a black flag and commence to slitting throats.” So, you just killed the naysayers….How is the rest of the populace going to perceive you, now that you killed their brother/father/uncle/cousin/boyfriend/husband/best friend from grade school/etc?
A thorough understanding of the implications of METT-TC in developing an accurate information picture of the battlefield is a critical element in determining what information is necessary to develop an actual tactical intelligence capability. In addition however, we also need to develop the ability to gather the requisite information to determine the validity of targets for attack, whether that target is an enemy encampment, a physical structure, like a motor pool, or a specific individual. That will be covered in part two of this article.
In the meantime, consider the implications of Tactical Intelligence Collection and Reporting, with the SALUTE report, in light of the current happenings in Nevada, and what those mean to the rest of us in the coming weeks and days.
(My personal thoughts…..Between the actions against Ares Armor by the ATF, and now the BLM ratcheting up efforts against the Bundy Family, in what has–up until now–been largely handled in the federal courts–if I were the paranoid type, I’d think someone is scared of something happening that they do not want the general American public paying attention to….what will they do next to keep people from following twisty trails to dark recesses?)
One of the complaints I often hear via email is the cost involved in traveling to training. Training itself, whether with me, Max V, Mason-Dixon, or any of a variety of other trainers, is not particularly expensive. Getting TO that training CAN be though. With trainers working all along the eastern seaboard, and throughout the midwest, as well as here in the mountain northwest, one of the shortcomings in training has been the southwest. I’ve done a few classes there, and will continue to do so in the future, but it’s not a place I go regularly (or at all in summer!).
Fortunately, there’s a new kid on the block ready to step in and do their part. Sierra12 (www.sierra12.com) is run by a couple of combat arm vets from the Army and Marine Corps who have been in a couple of classes with me, and know what they are doing. They’ve helped AI classes, and generally can be trusted to know what the fuck they are talking about in the context of their classes.
Most important of all, since they conduct at least some of their training on the same place I do training in Arizona, and I’ve had discussions about them with the land owner, I can attest that they won’t rape your cattle, steal your women, or show you a bunch of stupid bullshit that will get your ass killed earlier than fate decrees.
Perhaps most important of all, while I was doing important shit like taking classes for work, they were actually doing what they believe in and standing on the line in Nevada. Support their efforts.
If you’re in the SW, check them out.
Please accept my apologies for not posting in a couple weeks. Following the Iowa class (another AAR forthcoming, from the host), had to attend two weeks of a “professional development” course for my other life. I did not have any internet access for that span of time. Instead, when I wasn’t in class, I took the opportunity to work on the book revisions (more below), and spend time with the family.
As such, I have absolutely no comments on the situation in Nevada, as of this point, since I haven’t had the opportunity to look into it at all yet.
Book revisions are almost done. I know I keep saying that, but well, shit happens. It should be available for order by the end of the month, TEOTWAWKI not withstanding.