Evasion Planning Considerations
(One aspect of “bugging out” or “escape-and-evasion” that is too frequently overlooked in American Resistance literature, is the planning aspect. All too often, bugging out seems to be covered by, “I’ve got my BOB/GHB/Go-Bag/etc, and I’m going to Cousin Bernie’s house 600 miles away.” That’s cool. Weekend at Bernie’s, right? Beer and babes!
If you start asking our guy pertinent questions however, and he begins to hem and haw, demonstrating a decided lack of actual forethought. How long is that trek going to take? What route are you planning on taking? What if that route is impassable for some reason? Are you going to walk, drive, fly, ride? What if you’re being hunted or pursued? What if you have dependents? What if your wife is injured?
Historically, and doctrinally, developing an Evasion Plan-of-Action (EPA) is a critical part of SOF operational planning, especially for SFODAs conducting FID and UW operations. While a lot of the assets currently available to an SFODA on the run will not be applicable to the rest of us, the EPA planning considerations for the Evasion and Recovery Annex to the Five Paragraph Operations Order (OPORD), can and should be modified to fit your specific needs. This provides a solid, well-developed way for the evader to communicate his EPA to dedicated recovery assets within the network, and forces the potential evader to actually PLAN his EPA.
The following Annex Plan is a SUGGESTED example. Your needs, based on your operational area, capabilities, and available network assets, WILL vary. –JM)
Resistance Force EPA
1) References: This paragraph should list any maps used in the development of your EPA. The list needs to be specific and complete. Not just “a highway map of New Jersey,” but “Fodor’s 2008 Gazatteer Highway Atlas of Upstate New Jersey.” This level of specificity is critical, allowing recovery teams to reference the same landmarks the evader does. Maps used should include city street maps of any cities within the evasion corridor, topographical maps of any rural areas, and highway maps. One thing to consider is to standardize on map selections within your network NOW, so when some poor bastard is on the run, eating out of dumpsters, and sleeping in highway culverts, waiting for a recovery team to whisk him away, the recovery teams aren’t scrambling to find the right maps at the thrift stores and used book shops.
2) Time Zone Used Throughout the Plan: Even for a pre-planned EPA, when the initiation time cannot be known beforehand, time hacks from initiation of the evasion will be necessary for planning/conducting link-ups. The time zone that will be used should be known. If the evader sends out notification that he’s running, at 0300 EST, and his EPA indicates he will be at his first RV point 24 hours later, when the network Evasion Coordinator sends out a notice to the recovery team at 0800, CST, the recovery team needs to be planning on the proper time, not 0300 CST the next morning, or then evader may already have moved on, assuming he needs to make his next RV before a recovery team can be sent.
3) Situation. Understanding the detailed nuances of the actual tactical situation on the ground is absolutely fundamental to constructing any effective plan. If you can’t ask and answer, the right questions, you’ll never accomplish any operation, let alone an evasion.
a) Enemy Forces: Who is the evader running from? UN invaders? Mutant Zombie Biker Vampires from the Outer Rings of Hell? TSA/DHS? State police? ALL LEO? What capabilities do they have in the area of the evasion corridor? How long will it take them to bring in more advanced capabilities? Does he need to consider UAV-based airborne FLIR? Non-FLIR equipped Air Assets? Satellite surveillance? Are their VCPs being conducted in the area of the evasion corridor that might preclude him driving out? Is his vehicle the subject of a BOLO that means he needs to steal or borrow another? How many jurisdictions will he be evading across, and are all of them in the loop? Can he expect help from some of them?
b) Friendly Forces: What other KNOWN resistance elements are in the area of the evasion corridor? Can he potentially make contact with them for assistance? Are there members of his own network that live in the area of the evasion corridor that he can contact for help? Are there Resistance-allied, but non-network folks in the area that might help?
c) Civilian Considerations: What are the local civilian attitudes towards the resistance? Towards the Regime? Will people help him? Or will they turn him in? Are they likely to simply ignore the guy sleeping in their garage when they come out to start their car in the morning, or are they likely to beat him to death with a Louisville Slugger, thinking he’s a vagrant, methhead, or burglar? Will they feed him and shelter him? Provide transportation?
d) Terrain and Weather: What terrain does the evader have to traverse? Can he cover it on foot? Is it seasonally dependent (The Wind River Range of western Wyoming, for example, in mid-winter may be possible to cross on snowshoes….maybe….but it’s not likely, unless you live there and do it all the time anyway…and even then, it’s not very fucking likely)? What kind of weather conditions can be expected? Will they help or hinder his efforts? Can he drive, or are the roadways natural chokepoints that will increase the chances of compromise (for our more eastern readers, large portions of the West are composed of largely roadless areas. There may be some two-tracks and other non-maintained roads, but only one or two paved, year-round, maintained roads in 500 square miles)? Is he going to have to cross significant natural terrain barriers (crossing the Mississippi, on foot, might be a little bit of a motherfucker…can he steal a boat? Does he know how to operate a boat? Or will he have to try and bullshit his way across a potential VCP in order to cross a bridge?)?
4) Mission: Obviously, the mission of the evader is to evade capture. This statement simply outlines Who, What, Why, When, and Where.
“John Mosby (who) will conduct a long-range unassisted evasion (what) from XXXXX to XXXX (where), in order to facilitate recovery by friendly force personnel (why), following initiation of this EPA (when).”
a) Concept of the Operation: The overall plan. This is a brief statement of how the evader(s) will conduct the evasion from beginning to end. “John Mosby will evade hostiles in the area of XXXX to XXXX, by moving on foot, through unoccupied or lightly occupied areas, until he has returned to friendly force control.”
b) Scheme of Maneuver: This needs to discuss locations–where you will move to, what your planned hide site locations will be, the description of intended route legs, time windows you anticipate being at certain RV points, and the actions you will take at each point, for security, concealment, communications, etc. This step requires some serious, objective, self-reflection. How fast can you walk? For how long? What if you are injured? What if you’ve got other personnel who are injured? What if you don’t have any gear or weapons? How will you notify your network that you’re on the run?
c) Criteria for Initiation of EPA: What specific criteria will cause you to initiate your EPA? A hurricane warning? A SWAT raid on your house? Black helicopters flying over your town? Declaration of martial law? An anonymous phone call that you’ve been targeted by the Regime’s security forces? If it’s a simple annex to a patrol OPORD, will a loss of contact with the rest of your patrol initiate it? The patrol being overrun?
d) Initial Evasion Goals: These are the anticipated actions within the first 48 hours of the evasion. This is intended to provide the network with an idea of the evaders’ initial actions, in order to notify recovery teams in preparation for a faster recovery effect. These should include your intentions in regards to hiding and evading. They should include your initial evasion point (What actions will you take at that point? Will you run as fast as possible for a set distance/direction, before trying to hide? Will you hide in place? What is your initial hiding place? How long will you remain before moving?). It needs to include your initial travel plans (what route will you take, within the bounds of what identifiable terrain features, when you do leave? What’s your second destination? How long will it take you to get there? What time of day will you move?). How will you handle injured personnel? Will you bury dead individuals, or leave them lie?
e) Extended Evasion Goals: If you’re not recovered within 48 hours, what will you do? This needs to include:
- Destination. What is your ultimate destination? You do have a goal of where you need to reach, right?
- Routes/Movement Corridors. What routes will you follow? You have a primary movement corridor, but what if it’s untenable? Do you have a secondary? A tertiary?
- Phase Lines: these are lines that you expect to pass, by a certain time frame. if that time frame is passed, then the recovery teams know not to bother looking for you behind that PL. identify your PLs with easily identifiable landmarks (the Mississippi River, The Missouri River, the Wind River Range, The Cascades, Interstate 70, Interstate 10, etc), and establish an estimated time you expect to arrive and depart those phase lines.
- Evasion Movement Procedures. How far will you attempt to travel each day? How long will it take you? What time of day will you travel (night travel, even with NODs will take longer than daylight travel. Vehicle travel will take longer if you have to use two-tracks and backroads than if you can jump on the Interstate and go).
- Commo Plan and Radio Procedures. “I will monitor FRS/GMRS frequency xxxx for five minutes at xxx and xxx hours daily. I will broadcast xxxx on HAM frequency xxxx at xxx hours daily, for five minutes. Once I have made a broadcast, I will move 5K north from my broadcast location and move into my hole-up procedures, in order to avoid compromise if Regime forces have RDFd my broadcast.”
- Signal Plan. How will you mark pre-planned RV sites so that a recovery team can know you are there, or have already been there and departed?
- Hole-Up Sites and Procedures. Where will you hide, in relation to a specific RV site, that allows you overwatch of the RV site, without being compromised by someone approaching the RV site (“I will be in a camouflaged and concealed hole-up site, 500M from the actual RV site, with overwatch on the RV site.”)
- RV Site Procedures. What the recovery team should do when they see that you are “at” a RV, in order to facilitate you making contact. What you will do to verify your presence to them.
- Far and Near Recognition Signals and Duress Signals. What the recovery team should do, in the RV site, to ensure that you KNOW they are the recovery team. What you will do to signal to the recovery team that you are the evader they’re trying to recover. What they should do to let you know that they’re being watched/have been compromised/are under duress. What you will do to let the recovery team know that you are under duress.
- Recovery Procedures: What will be the challenge and password you will use? What authentication codes/questions should be asked, and what the answers should be.
- Handling of injured personnel.
f) Evasion Corridor Boundaries. These are the boundaries you will NOT cross during your extended duration. This helps to reduce the amount of landmass that recovery teams and the network need to address while searching for you. Describe the directions, distances, and linear features designated as boundaries. Use roads, rivers, and other features that are easily recognizable from the ground and on a map.
6) Other Tasks:
- Tactics: These should be in accordance with your normal SOPs.
- Actions for the Care of Sick/Wounded/Dead. How will you mark grave sites? How will you carry wounded or sick personnel? Will you remain in place until they are recovered? Leave them behind?
- Actions on Civilian Contact. What will you do in the case of a chance contact with a civilian in the area (shooting them is not an acceptable answer, except in immediate self-defense! –JM)? What will you do if you NEED to make contact with the local civilian populace, such as for medical assistance, or to procure food/water?
- Imminent Capture Procedures. Detail the procedures you intend to take if you KNOW you are about to be captured, and there’s no way out. What documents will need to be destroyed? What equipment should be destroyed or hidden? Will you fight to the death or disablement? Will you surrender willingly, in hopes of later escape? Once captured, what will your resistance posture be (“I ain’t saying shit!” or “Take me to your leader!” or “Dude, if you give me a smoke and a bologna-fucking-sandwich, I’ll tell you whatever you want to know, just as soon as I’ve eaten.“). Just remember, eventually, you WILL talk, unless you manage to escape first. Everyone breaks eventually, or they die.
- Resistance to Interrogation and Exploitation and actions for escape. Include a short sub-paragraph for initial capture and movement (do you carry lockpicks secreted on your person? Do you know how to pick locks? Can you break flex cuffs? Can you run with your hands cuffed behind your back? Can you disarm or kill a guard, without being armed, in order to take his weapon?)
7) Coordinating Instructions and Emergency Destruction Plan. State when your EPA will be effective (upon completion, for the duration of a trip, after it’s been disseminated to the network evasion coordinator, unit commander, etc….).
8) Service/Support. Equipment: what is your EDC load-out? Do you keep your fighting load and weapons close at hand? Is your sustainment load/BOB close enough to grab if you need to initiate your EPA right now? What equipment will you have? Include verification, within the EPA, that the EDC/survival load includes network-SOP items such as evasion aids, survival kit items, and signal equipment specific to evasion and recovery.
9) Re-Supply. Specify the location of pre-placed re-supply caches, including a description, markings, time windows, actions to be taken at cache sites, etc. Include a list of cache contents.
10) Signal. Your signal paragraph needs to include a code word that lets the network know you’ve initiated your EPA. It should also include a codeword from the network that lets you know that they’re initiating recovery operations. It should include a primary, secondary, and tertiary way to communicate that code word to the network. Discuss what radios you have in your kit, what frequencies they operate on, and codewords/callsigns you will use in broadcasting, as well as a reiteration of what time windows you will use to receive and/or broadcast.
“Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance”
SFOB Rifleman’s Ridge