Forward Observer (Intelligence and Community Security 1)

From Forward Observer

 

“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”— Jack Welch

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer. Welcome to Day 01 of Intelligence and Community Security. Today   we're talking about what I see as one potential future for America,  and  how to get started in understanding intelligence and security at a   practical level. You can read this post online here.
 

Shifting Landscapes and the OODA Loop

Welcome   to Day 01 of this Introduction to Intelligence and Community Security.   This series is intended for those at all levels to become familiarized   with the use of intelligence activities for community security. The   first few posts will cover some basic concepts and later this week and   next we'll get into a deeper dive of intelligence operations. It's my   intention to have readers, after reading this series, be familiar  enough  to begin teaching others about the value and utility of  intelligence to  improve community security. (If it's your first time to this blog, you can read the previous post here, and I recommend reading that before getting started.)
 

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

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

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

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

A framework for understanding decision-making

We   need a framework to understand how decisions are made, and we need to   understand what's necessary for good decision-making. We can make   decisions without any information, and unfortunately many people do. Some information may allow us to make better decisions, but ultimately we need intelligence   to make good decisions. We need to understand our operating   environment, the current and future conditions that will negatively and   positively impact us, and realistic expectations of what may happen in   the future. Intelligence allows us to anticipate what could happen and   it enables us to make better decisions about our security. Let's look  at  this decision-making process called the OODA Loop and what's required to feed it.

Let's say that you're driving up a small hill on the interstate with moderate traffic. You Observe   brake lights ahead of you at the top of the hill. Is it a speed trap?   Is there stuff in the road? Is there a wreck? We don't know, bur brains   jump into action as we consider a response. We immediately Orient   ourselves to our relative speed and how near or far we are to those   brake lights. Do we need to brake? Do we need to let off the  accelerator  a bit, or do we need to slam on the brakes and swerve off  the road to  avoid contributing to a massive pileup? Depending on how  well we've  oriented to the situation, we Decide on a course of action, our brains then tell our feet what to do and we Act   on the decision. This is called the OODA Loop and it's a universal   pathway for humans making decisions, from initial observation to final   action.

Chances  are good that if you've  taken a professional tactical weapons course  your instructor has at  least mentioned it in passing. U.S. Air Force  Colonel John Boyd  (1927-1997), who developed the concept, was a fighter  pilot interested  in how he could speed up the decision-making process  for himself and  his fellow pilots. He found that pilots who had fewer  options when  faced with a decision point made decisions faster than  those who had a  wide array of options. Additionally, he found that  pilots who could  more quickly observe and orient themselves to a  fast-developing  situation, like a dog fight, could also make faster  decisions. This  line of thinking is now a doctrinal part of military  training because  faster and better decisions are more likely to lead to  successful and  decisive outcomes. Understanding of the OODA Loop can  also be applied  to the enemy, which is why fighters seek to speed up  their OODA Loops  while simultaneously slowing down or disrupting the  enemy's.

Now   imagine that you're the head of your community security or  neighborhood  watch team. There's been a

Forward Observer Library

Intelligence and Community Security 1

from Forward Observer

                                   

“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”— Jack Welch

               

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer. Welcome to Day 01 of Intelligence and Community Security. Today  we're talking about what I see as one potential future for America, and  how to get started in understanding intelligence and security at a  practical level. You can read this post online here.
 

Shifting Landscapes and the OODA Loop

Welcome  to Day 01 of this Introduction to Intelligence and Community Security.  This series is intended for those at all levels to become familiarized  with the use of intelligence activities for community security. The  first few posts will cover some basic concepts and later this week and  next we'll get into a deeper dive of intelligence operations. It's my  intention to have readers, after reading this series, be familiar enough  to begin teaching others about the value and utility of intelligence to  improve community security. (If it's your first time to this blog, you can read the previous post here, and I recommend reading that before getting started.)
 

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

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

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

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

A framework for understanding decision-making

We  need a framework to understand how decisions are made, and we need to  understand what's necessary for good decision-making. We can make  decisions without any information, and unfortunately many people do. Some information may allow us to make better decisions, but ultimately we need intelligence  to make good decisions. We need to understand our operating  environment, the current and future conditions that will negatively and  positively impact us, and realistic expectations of what may happen in  the future. Intelligence allows us to anticipate what could happen and  it enables us to make better decisions about our security. Let's look at  this decision-making process called the OODA Loop and what's required to feed it.

Let's say that you're driving up a small hill on the interstate with moderate traffic. You Observe  brake lights ahead of you at the top of the hill. Is it a speed trap?  Is there stuff in the road? Is there a wreck? We don't know, bur brains  jump into action as we consider a response. We immediately Orient  ourselves to our relative speed and how near or far we are to those  brake lights. Do we need to brake? Do we need to let off the accelerator  a bit, or do we need to slam on the brakes and swerve off the road to  avoid contributing to a massive pileup? Depending on how well we've  oriented to the situation, we Decide on a course of action, our brains then tell our feet what to do and we Act  on the decision. This is called the OODA Loop and it's a universal  pathway for humans making decisions, from initial observation to final  action.

Chances  are good that if you've taken a professional tactical weapons course  your instructor has at least mentioned it in passing. U.S. Air Force  Colonel John Boyd (1927-1997), who developed the concept, was a fighter  pilot interested in how he could speed up the decision-making process  for himself and his fellow pilots. He found that pilots who had fewer  options when faced with a decision point made decisions faster than  those who had a wide array of options. Additionally, he found that  pilots who could more quickly observe and orient themselves to a  fast-developing situation, like a dog fight, could also make faster  decisions. This line of thinking is now a doctrinal part of military  training because faster and better decisions are more likely to lead to  successful and decisive outcomes. Understanding of the OODA Loop can  also be applied to the enemy, which is why fighters seek to speed up  their OODA Loops while simultaneously slowing down or disrupting the  enemy's.

Now  imagine that you're the head of your community security or neighborhood  watch team. There's been a disaster -- a hurricane or tornado, an  earthquake, maybe something worse -- and the power is out. Your cell  phone isn't working because the cell towers in the area are also down,  and now you're concerned about second- and third-order effects: namely  an increase in criminality because of this widespread systems  disruption, and then maybe running out of food and water, and all the  things that happen during prolonged periods of emergency. In this  scenario, virtually all systems have been disrupted. What does your OODA Loop look like?

In short, it's the exact same process as a fighter pilot's. We Observe what's going on, then we Orient ourselves to this new information, then we Decide on a course of action or how to respond, and then we Act.  After that action, the OODA Loop starts all over again -- in fact, it  never really stops. We are always observing new information, and then  orienting, deciding, and acting to changing situations. The greater  access we have to accurate information, the better and faster our  decisions can be. And generally whoever can complete that loop the  fastest is going to stay the most secure or win the most engagements.

This  concept is applicable to the tactical, operational, and strategic  levels of decision-making. Gun fights are an example of using the OODA  on the tactical level, but organizations on the operational and  strategic levels can also make deliberate use the OODA Loop. A set of  tactical observations can lead to a general understanding of what's  going on in the area, and observations from several areas can give us an  indication of the broader region. This is how we move from the tactical  to the operational and to the strategic. Additionally, with this  understanding, we can information decision-makers who can then make  better operational or strategic decisions based on the ground  intelligence.

For the purposes of community security, we're actually looking at two different functions: intelligence and operations.  There are those responsible for intelligence and those responsible for  operations, and the two work hand in hand. In fact, you may have heard  the maxim "Intelligence Drives the Fight", and that's best described  through the OODA Loop.

Observe and Orient (the OO in  OODA) is the function of intelligence. (This is us and what this blog  is about.) Observing describes intelligence gathering and Orienting  describes intelligence analysis. We have to be good at both of those  things, and in later posts we'll talk more about what it takes to  Observe and Orient well in a time of conflict. After we Observe and  Orient -- in our case, after we gather intelligence information and  produce finished intelligence -- we pass it on to decision-makers.

Decide and Act (the DA in  OODA) is a function of operations. As intelligence people, we advise  the commander or decision-makers on what the situation is, but we don't  make the decisions. We support planning, but we don't plan. And there's a  very good reason for this: because as the intel guys, we're called to  be experts on the enemy and operating environment. We alert the  commander to where the enemy is, what they're doing, and what they might  do next -- something we refer to as the enemy situation -- but only the  commander knows his troops, time, and resources well enough to make  decisions and issue orders.

Hopefully  we've moved beyond the understanding of just the tactical use of the  OODA and into how intelligence plays a vital role in an organization,  like a community security or neighborhood watch team. Without the  ability to observe and orient -- that is to say, without the deliberate  employment of intelligence activities -- your organization will have a  difficult time deciding and acting to security concerns in your  community. In closing, I'm reminded of my absolute favorite quote. It's  by Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, who says, “If the rate of  change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end  is near.” He's talking about a multi-billion corporation adapting to  both the changing needs of the customer and to product development by  competitors. If GE isn't planning for 10 or 20 years into the future,  then they're going to fail. It's the same for community security, but on  a much smaller scale. If, during an emergency, we can't keep pace with  security developments -- if we don't have an adequate focus on  intelligence gathering about threats in the area -- then the end is  near. It's only a matter of how near and how painful.

Tomorrow's post

Posts  over next the nine days will focus on all aspects of the OO phase of  the OODA Loop. We're going to discuss the concept of intelligence, what  it is and what it's not, the Intelligence Cycle, intelligence  disciplines, where to find intelligence information and what to do with  it, and we'll finish up with some very practical ways in which we can  turn these concepts into reality.

In  tomorrow's post, I'll write about some specific examples of why and how  intelligence is useful for community security. We'll use this post to  identify some considerations before Wednesday's post on Intelligence  Collection and Analysis.

If you haven't already, be sure to read yesterday's post,  which is an introduction to this blog. And if you want to read about  Forward Observer's new mission in light of what we believe is likely to  happen in the future, then be sure to read The Very Last Early Warning.

Intelligence and Community Security 2

from Forward Observer

                                   

“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”— Jack Welch

               

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer.
 

Last week, I announced the decision to end the Early Warning emails,  which caused many of you to write in about it. I understand that some of  you really enjoyed them, which has caused me to reconsider keeping  them. (Plus I kind of liked writing them.)
 

This nation has a lot of challenges ahead of us, and I don't want to be  just another news source in an already crowded marketplace. The most  important thing I think we at Forward Observer can do is teach, inform,  and inspire. We do that through our premium intelligence products, but  also now through this blog which is focused on intelligence, security,  and defense for Americans concerned about an uncertain future.
 

In  lieu of the daily Early Warning, each week you'll receive an email from  me containing my best blog post of the week, and a summary of what else  is going on at Forward Observer. (If you'd like to get these emails every day instead of once a week, click here.)
 

This week, I'm focused on writing a series called Intelligence and Community Security. It's an overview of how we can use intelligence tasks and concepts to improve overall security for the community.
 

Here's this week's best post (so far), along with links of other posts from the week.

A New Introduction to the ACE Blog
Day 01: Shifting Landscapes and the OODA Loop (in this email)
Day 02: What Intelligence Does for Us
Day 03: Intelligence Collection & Intelligence Analysis

Shifting Landscapes and the OODA Loop

Welcome  to Day 01 of this Introduction to Intelligence and Community Security.  This series is intended for those at all levels to become familiarized  with the use of intelligence activities for community security. The  first few posts will cover some basic concepts and later this week and  next we’ll get into a deeper dive of intelligence operations. It’s my  intention to have readers, after reading this series, be familiar enough  to begin teaching others about the value and utility of intelligence to  improve community security. (If it’s your first time to this blog, you can read the previous post here, and I recommend reading that before getting started.)

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

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

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

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

A framework for understanding decision-making

We  need a framework to understand how decisions are made, and we need to  understand what’s necessary for good decision-making. We can make  decisions without any information, and unfortunately many people do. Some information may allow us to make better decisions, but ultimately we need intelligence  to make good decisions. We need to understand our operating  environment, the current and future conditions that will negatively and  positively impact us, and realistic expectations of what may happen in  the future. Intelligence allows us to anticipate what could happen and  it enables us to make better decisions about our security. Let’s look at  this decision-making process called the OODA Loop and what’s required to feed it.

Let’s say that you’re driving up a small hill on the interstate with moderate traffic. You Observe  brake lights ahead of you at the top of the hill. Is it a speed trap?  Is there stuff in the road? Is there a wreck? We don’t know, bur brains  jump into action as we consider a response. We immediately Orient  ourselves to our relative speed and how near or far we are to those  brake lights. Do we need to brake? Do we need to let off the accelerator  a bit, or do we need to slam on the brakes and swerve off the road to  avoid contributing to a massive pileup? Depending on how well we’ve  oriented to the situation, we Decide on a course of action, our brains then tell our feet what to do and we Act  on the decision. This is called the OODA Loop and it’s a universal  pathway for humans making decisions, from initial observation to final  action.

Chances  are good that if you’ve taken a professional tactical weapons course  your instructor has at least mentioned it in passing. U.S. Air Force  Colonel John Boyd (1927-1997), who developed the concept, was a fighter  pilot interested in how he could speed up the decision-making process  for himself and his fellow pilots. He found that pilots who had fewer  options when faced with a decision point made decisions faster than  those who had a wide array of options. Additionally, he found that  pilots who could more quickly observe and orient themselves to a  fast-developing situation, like a dog fight, could also make faster  decisions. This line of thinking is now a doctrinal part of military  training because faster and better decisions are more likely to lead to  successful and decisive outcomes. Understanding of the OODA Loop can  also be applied to the enemy, which is why fighters seek to speed up  their OODA Loops while simultaneously slowing down or disrupting the  enemy’s.

Now  imagine that you’re the head of your community security or neighborhood  watch team. There’s been a disaster — a hurricane or tornado, an  earthquake, maybe something worse — and the power is out. Your cell  phone isn’t working because the cell towers in the area are also down,  and now you’re concerned about second- and third-order effects: namely  an increase in criminality because of this widespread systems  disruption, and then maybe running out of food and water, and all the  things that happen during prolonged periods of emergency. In this  scenario, virtually all systems have been disrupted. What does your OODA Loop look like?

In short, it’s the exact same process as a fighter pilot’s. We Observe what’s going on, then we Orient ourselves to this new information, then we Decide on a course of action or how to respond, and then we Act.  After that action, the OODA Loop starts all over again — in fact, it  never really stops. We are always observing new information, and then  orienting, deciding, and acting to changing situations. The greater  access we have to accurate information, the better and faster our  decisions can be. And generally whoever can complete that loop the  fastest is going to stay the most secure or win the most engagements.

This  concept is applicable to the tactical, operational, and strategic  levels of decision-making. Gun fights are an example of using the OODA  on the tactical level, but organizations on the operational and  strategic levels can also make deliberate use the OODA Loop. A set of  tactical observations can lead to a general understanding of what’s  going on in the area, and observations from several areas can give us an  indication of the broader region. This is how we move from the tactical  to the operational and to the strategic. Additionally, with this  understanding, we can information decision-makers who can then make  better operational or strategic decisions based on the ground  intelligence.

For the purposes of community security, we’re actually looking at two different functions: intelligence and operations.  There are those responsible for intelligence and those responsible for  operations, and the two work hand in hand. In fact, you may have heard  the maxim “Intelligence Drives the Fight”, and that’s best described  through the OODA Loop.

Observe and Orient (the OO in  OODA) is the function of intelligence. (This is us and what this blog  is about.) Observing describes intelligence gathering and Orienting  describes intelligence analysis. We have to be good at both of those  things, and in later posts we’ll talk more about what it takes to  Observe and Orient well in a time of conflict. After we Observe and  Orient — in our case, after we gather intelligence information and  produce finished intelligence — we pass it on to decision-makers.

Decide and Act (the DA in  OODA) is a function of operations. As intelligence people, we advise  the commander or decision-makers on what the situation is, but we don’t  make the decisions. We support planning, but we don’t plan. And there’s a  very good reason for this: because as the intel guys, we’re called to  be experts on the enemy and operating environment. We alert the  commander to where the enemy is, what they’re doing, and what they might  do next — something we refer to as the enemy situation — but only the  commander knows his troops, time, and resources well enough to make  decisions and issue orders.

Hopefully  we’ve moved beyond the understanding of just the tactical use of the  OODA and into how intelligence plays a vital role in an organization,  like a community security or neighborhood watch team. Without the  ability to observe and orient — that is to say, without the deliberate  employment of intelligence activities — your organization will have a  difficult time deciding and acting to security concerns in your  community. In closing, I’m reminded of my absolute favorite quote. It’s  by Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, who says, “If the rate of  change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end  is near.” He’s talking about a multi-billion corporation adapting to  both the changing needs of the customer and to product development by  competitors. If GE isn’t planning for 10 or 20 years into the future,  then they’re going to fail. It’s the same for community security, but on  a much smaller scale. If, during an emergency, we can’t keep pace with  security developments — if we don’t have an adequate focus on  intelligence gathering about threats in the area — then the end is near.  It’s only a matter of how near and how painful.
 

Always Out Front,
Samuel C

Intelligence and Community Security 3


from Forward Observer

                                   

“If  I always appear prepared, it is because before entering on an  undertaking, I have meditated for long and foreseen what may occur.” –  Napoleon Bonaparte

      

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer. Welcome to Day 03 of Intelligence and Community Security. Today  we're talking briefly about intelligence collection and analysis, and I  provide an overview of the four intelligence disciplines you'l want to  use. You can read this post online here.

Intelligence Collection & Intelligence Analysis

Welcome to Day 03 of this Introduction to Intelligence and Community Security. You can catch up on previous posts below:

A New Introduction to the ACE Blog
Day 01: Shifting Landscapes and the OODA Loop
Day 02: What Intelligence Does for Us

In  previous days, we’ve discussed a good foundation for understanding the  value and utility of intelligence for community security. We talked  about the OODA Loop — the pathway for decision-making — and how  intelligence is the first half of that loop: Observing and Orienting. (If you’re confused about the OODA Loop, refer back to Day 01 of this series and start from there.)  Today, we’re talking about what intelligence collection and  intelligence analysis actually look like for the purposes of community  security.

We  can’t Decide and Act unless we Observe (intelligence collection) and  Orient (intelligence analysis), which is why collection and analysis are  so crucial for community security, emergency preparedness, warfighting,  or anything in between.

We  have blind spots; we have a fundamental need for real-time intelligence  to support real-time decision-making, therefore, our mission requires  collectors and analysts.

Traditionally,  as with the military and civilian intelligence agencies, collectors and  analysts are different roles. Collectors don’t analyze and analysts  don’t collect, and there’s a good reason for this. Let’s think of  intelligence as the process of baking a pie. Intelligence collectors are  trying to collect the ingredients for the pie, while the analysts are  sorting through everything that’s been collected to find only the best  quality ingredients. Collectors aren’t that concerned with the quality  of the ingredients they’re finding; they job is just to collect and pass  on the ingredients. Furthermore, each collector has access only to the  ingredients he’s collected, and doesn’t know what other collectors have  gathered. How can a collector, then, analyze what’s best for the pie if  he doesn’t know what other ingredients are available? That’s where the  analysts come in, because they’re pouring through everything that’s  being collected in real-time until they have everything required to bake  the pie. That’s how you get finished intelligence, as opposed to raw  information. Collectors are reporting raw information, while the  analysts are putting it together, using only the best and highest  quality information, and then producing intelligence. We make decisions  based on the finished intelligence.

Another  way to look at this is using yesterday’s puzzle analogy. Let’s say that  we’re putting together a puzzle, so the analysts dump the puzzle box  onto a table, sort through the available pieces, and find that some are  missing. So the analysts tell the collectors what puzzle pieces are  required to put together the puzzle, and then the collectors go look for  the missing pieces. The collectors being looking around the house for  puzzle pieces, and then start giving any puzzle piece they find to the  analysts. Only the analyst can compare each new piece to the needs of  the puzzle and determine if the puzzle can be completed.

Aside  from these two analogies, there’s training and specialization. Signals  Intelligence (SIGINT) collectors are not Human Intelligence (HUMINT)  collectors. Why? Because each of these jobs require very specific  training for very specific missions. Additionally, neither SIGINT nor  HUMINT collector would be good all-source analyst because he lacks the  training and experience in intelligence analysis. This is also true for  other professions: heart surgeons aren’t brain surgeons, wide receivers  aren’t safeties, civil engineers aren’t electrical engineers, and so on.

Unfortunately,  we at the community level probably aren’t going to have the luxury of  having a well-staffed, well-trained, and specialized intelligence  section. That means we’re going to have to wear multiple hats, both of  the collector and the analyst. Let’s go ahead and break down what this  all looks like.

First,  our analyst — that’s probably going to be you — is what’s referred to  as all-source. I’ll cover this in greater detail next week, however, for  now just know that the all-source analyst is responsible for combining  all the different sources of intelligence (called disciplines) into his  analysis.

Next,  our collector — that’s probably going to be you, too — is responsible  for gathering information from sources. There are numerous intelligence  disciplines, however, for the purposes of community security, we’re  going to focus on four. (I’ll cover these in much greater detail next week, but for now here’s an overview.)

Open Source Intelligence  (OSINT), often referred to as the most underutilized and under  appreciated type of intelligence, is often the most widely available.  According to the U.S. Intelligence Community, 80 percent of all  intelligence information globally comes from open sources. That’s  probably 90 percent or more considering the ubiquitous adoption of  social media. OSINT includes things that are openly broadcast, like  television or radio news reporting, magazines and other publications,  and most of what can be found on the internet. In fact, with a few  caveats, Google can be one of our best facilitators of intelligence  information. Although not often highly considered, local events like  town halls, city council meetings, and political gatherings can also be  considered OSINT. Because it’s the most available, easiest to collect,  and provides us with some quick wins up front, OSINT should become one  of our top collection priorities.

Imagery Intelligence  (IMINT) is information derived from photographs and video, and we’re  going to rope GEOINT into this category, as well. Maps of our  communities and broader areas are an example but we’re also going to  include geospatial information software like Google Earth, ArcGIS,  FalconView, or any number of free, open source tools available on the  web. IMINT allows us to visualize physical terrain and its geographic  layouts without having to expend the time and resources to travel to  these places. Lesser considered IMINT sources could also include  full-motion video from traffic or security cameras, as well as drones.  IMINT can carry with it some limitations, such as old or outdated map  data; however, it is an indispensable source of the intelligence  information we’ll need. More recently, Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT)  is being used to describe information about environmental factors, like  the attributes of physical terrain (flood plain data, for example).  Whereas IMINT captures what the physical terrain looks like, GEOINT  could describe factors like soil composition and density (“Is the ground  of this open space capable of supporting a staging area for heavy  equipment?”), and climatic and environmental effects on the physical  terrain (“Does this area flood?” or “How much snowpack will there be in  February?”).

Human Intelligence  (HUMINT) is intelligence information derived from human sources.  Through HUMINT, we can gain access to information that we could never  gather on our own. The dramatized spy films, for instance, where CIA or  MI6 case officers leverage and recruit foreign nationals to infiltrate  criminal or terrorist organizations are examples of the use of HUMINT.  For our purposes, we’ll focus more on localized collection about local  threats. Friends and family, neighbors, convenience or grocery store  clerks, peace enforcement officers, and city/county officials are all  high value sources of information.

Signal Intelligence  (SIGINT) is derived from signals, including from communication devices  like cell phones and computers. You may have heard that it’s used to  target terrorist leaders around the globe. From the jungles of Columbia  and the Philippines to the deserts of Iraq and Yemen to the mountains of  Afghanistan and lots of places in between (including your hometown),  U.S. military and civilian intelligence agencies (to include law  enforcement agencies) rely heavily on the use of SIGINT. Through even  very rudimentary capabilities, we can leverage this Gold Standard of  intelligence collection to provide early warning, through a subset of  SIGINT called Communications Intelligence, or COMINT. (For an equipment recommendations, refer to the Ultimate ACE Startup Guide.)

Utilizing  all available disciplines, sources, and methods required for the  mission, the task of intelligence is ultimately to reduce uncertainty  about the future. Now that we have our feet with with the understanding  the decision-making process (OODA Loop on Day 01), the difference between information and intelligence (What Intelligence Does for Us on Day 02),  and the practical difference between collection and analysis today,  tomorrow’s post will be about putting this all together and what the  entire cycle of collection, reporting, analysis, and dissemination looks  like.

Intelligence and Community Security 4

 from Forward Observer

                                                

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer. You can read this post online here.

Welcome to Day 04 of this Introduction to Intelligence and Community Security. You can catch up on previous posts below:

A New Introduction to the ACE Blog
Day 01: Shifting Landscapes and the OODA Loop
Day 02: What Intelligence Does for Us
Day 03: Intelligence Collection & Analysis
 

In  previous days, we've discussed the value and utility of intelligence in  decision-making, the foundations of intelligence collection and  analysis, and an overview of the top two intelligence responsibilities  for community security.

Today,  I'm writing about applying these concepts to the community, which we'll  refer to as our "operating environment". Think about your community and  it's characteristics: the houses up and down the street, the people who  inhabit them, the width and condition of the roads, fences or ditches,  and probably a whole lot of other things. These are all characteristics  and it's up to us as intelligence analysts to identify and describe how  these things might impact us and our security.

There are seven layers of our operating environment, and we need to account for each of them:

  1. Physical Terrain
  2. Human Terrain
  3. Critical Infrastructure
  4. Politics and Governance
  5. Law Enforcement/Military/Security
  6. Economic/Financial

Practically,  you'll need to go though each of the seven layers of your community and  identify the significant characteristics. This is a critical step,  especially during a local or national emergency, and specifically for  community security. Failure to complete this step is like building your  house on sand, except your intelligence product will be built on sand.

Threats  don't exist in a vacuum. The same layers of the operating environment  -- mountains, roads, neighbors, police, etc. -- are going to affect  threats in the area, too. And unless we understand what's positively and  negatively affecting area threats, we're likely going to fail to arrive  at an accurate estimation of what threats will do in the future.  Yesterday, we discussed that actionable or predictive intelligence is  our end goal for community security, and we certainly can't produce  predictive intelligence unless we understand all the factors that weigh  on a threat.

The Physical Terrain  includes traditional terrain features — mountains, hills, valleys,  lakes, rivers, etc. — and manmade features like roads, houses,  buildings, fences, etc. Weather is often grouped in with physical  terrain, so we’ll cover weather and climate patterns, as well.  Understanding how these factors could influence future conditions is an  intelligence task.

The Human Terrain  includes the people, along with their attitudes, beliefs, behaviors,  and customs. From a community perspective, identifying all the elements  of the Human Terrain helps us to identify security partners and  potential threats and foes, especially if disaster were to strike.

Critical Infrastructure  includes the facilities and people who provide access to food, water,  fuel, electricity, transportation, commerce, communications, and the  internet; all of which are critical to the average AO.

Politics and Governance  includes elected officials, political appointees, government employees,  their institutions and facilities, and their political and ideological  beliefs. The better we understand how local political and governance  works, the better informed we can be of their potential future  decisions, especially during a protracted emergency.

Law Enforcement/Military/Security  includes all aspects of public and private security personnel. Police  departments, sheriffs’ offices, National Guard and Reserve components of  the military, and private security corporations all take part in  security and emergency operations. Understanding these organizations or  units, their personnel, and their capabilities goes a long way in  staying informed of what they’re likely to do in the future.

And finally, the Economic and Financial  drivers of a community matter, especially if these systems are  disrupted. Disruptions to economic and financial factors have very  significant second- and third-order consequences, and understanding how  these factors will affect the community is critical.

Once  we identify the significant characteristics in each of these layers,  our next job is to describe how they will affect us. How will terrain  and weather affect our community security operations? Which roads flood?  Which people in our community will help out with a neighborhood watch?  Which people are going to be burden or try to impede our efforts? How  will local governance respond to an emergency, and how could they worsen  the situation? What might that look like? How can we expect law  enforcement to respond? What will their presence look like? There are  all sorts of factors we need to consider.

Two  question you might ask: "How large of an area should I be looking  at,when considering these layers, and how large is my operating  environment?"

We  need boundaries for intelligence collection. We need to be able to tell  our neighborhood watch or community security group how far away is too  far. At what point do potential threats become irrelevant? A mile away?  Two miles away? 10 or 20 miles away?

In  the Army, we had Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield, or IPB.  There's an IPB product for every contingency operation in the world, and  before an operation is planned, military commanders and their staff are  looking over the latest intelligence contained in the IPB. I've taken  that IPB process and modified into Intelligence Preparation of the  Community; something we refer to as IPC. Instead of dealing with tanks  on a battlefield, we're dealing with people in a community. The benefit  of using a methodical and systematic process like this is that we have a  framework for everything we do.

To  answer those two questions above, we want to identify some boundaries  that we call the Area of Operations and the Area of Interest.

Area of Operations (AO)  is the he area around our home or neighborhood where we expect to  conduct security operations. For most, this is a small area; it’s the  boundary of your property or perhaps just beyond your property. Others  might determine their AO by the range of their rifle scope. If you don’t  foresee yourself venturing farther than a mile from your home, then  your AO should be less than a mile radius. If, during an emergency, you  don’t see yourself venturing more than 100 yards from your home, then  your AO should be less than a 100 yard radius.

The Area of Interest (AI)  is a boundary around our AO that we'd like to monitor. We don’t expect  to operate here, but we may still be interested in what happens here.  For instance, my AO doesn’t include the nearest police or fire station,  nor does it include the nearest school or Walmart; however, I’m still  very interested in what happens at these locations. The AI is the area  that we’re going to monitor because what occurs there could indirectly  affect us.

This  is an important step because it’s going to focus our planning and  intelligence gathering within these specific boundaries. Threats are a  game of proximity; the father away they are, the less relevant they are  to us. But at some point, threats become very relevant because they  enter our AI or AO. That’s why we need to identify these boundaries.

Four  days into this series, I hope that you're getting a better  understanding of just how crucial intelligence is to community security.  We're barely scratching the surface! In tomorrow's post, which is the  last of this series, I'll be back to write about how to organize an  intelligence section, and I'll leave you with some final thoughts on  intelligence. After that, I'll be back on Monday to write more about  other topics regarding intelligence, security, and defense. I hope  you'll join me.
 

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper

Intelligence and Community Security 5

 from Forward Observer

                                                

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer. You can read this post online here.

Welcome  to Day 05 -- the last post in this series on the Introduction to  Intelligence and Community Security. You can catch up on previous posts  below:

A New Introduction to the Forward Observer Daily
Day 01: Shifting Landscapes and the OODA Loop
Day 02: What Intelligence Does for Us
Day 03: Intelligence Collection & Analysis
Day 04: The Operating Environment & You

Yesterday we talked about the Operating Environment that is your  community, and the boundaries that help our intelligence efforts focus  on where and what to collect. Today, I'm leaving you with some final  thoughts on threat intelligence as I wrap up this series.

I'll  be back next week and each day (Mon-Fri) there after to write about  past and future events, national security and community security,  culture war and world war, intelligence, warfare, and defense for an  uncertain future. At the bottom of this post, you can sign up to receive  each of these blog posts by email, or one weekly summary.

Now  that we have a good grip on some basics of intelligence and the area in  which threats exist, let's start to break down the threat environment.  The are four categories of potential threats we're concerned about. They  are:

  • Conventional
  • Irregular
  • Catastrophic
  • Disruptive

The Conventional  threat includes foreign and domestic armies, the police state, and  other forces of state tyranny. We call them conventional because, by and  large, they wear uniforms that symbolize their de jure authority.  They’re acting within the authority of a recognized, legitimate  government. For instance, U.S. Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan  represented a conventional threat to insurgent groups there.

The Irregular  threat includes gangs, looters, insurgents, guerrillas and other  criminals. More often than not, although they may wield de facto  authority, they are not the nationally-recognized authority. The  irregular threat typically doesn’t represent a recognized, legitimate  government. They typically don’t wear uniforms and often aren’t bothered  with laws, either civilian or of land warfare. Insurgents posed an irregular threat to U.S. Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Catastrophic  threats can be either natural or man-made disasters. Examples are  hurricane, earthquakes, pandemics, and nuclear/biological/chemical  weapons. These are mass casualty events and, through second- and  third-order effects, can create conventional and irregular threats.

Finally, there are Disruptive  threats. A disruptive threat isn’t going to kill you, although it will  disrupt your operations. Things like power outages, identity theft, fuel  shortages, and cyber attacks are all examples. Like catastrophic  threats, these, too, can result in conventional and irregular threats.

Think  about your community and what types of threats may exist, either  potential or active. Snowstorms and tornadoes are examples of potential  threats, thieves and gang members pose active threats.

Get  out a sheet of paper and think through your community; imagine that you  are at the beginning of a national emergency that has local effects,  and write down all the active and potential threats that you may face.  Keep this list and discuss it with your neighborhood watch, community  security team, or preparedness group. Use a group approach to ensuring  that we have as complete a list as is realistic.

The  next step is to audit this list and determine the actual risk of each  threat. Specifically, we want to look at the threat's likelihood of  threatening us and the impact if we're threatened. Sort the items on  your list according to HIGH and LOW likelihood, and HIGH and LOW impact.

For  instance, looting in your neighborhood after a natural disaster may be a  HIGH likelihood and HIGH impact threat. A nuclear meltdown or a cyber  attack that causes bank holidays are examples of LOW likelihood but HIGH  impact threats.

Ultimately,  we want to determine what our HIGH/HIGH threats are because they're the  most likely to affect us and impose the greatest impact. Once you  complete this step, I highly recommend reviewing the past four days of  this series and begin incorporating your previous thoughts into a  cumulative approach to intelligence. Bring this all together and use it  to aid in security planning for the next emergency.

If  you treat these exercises seriously and get this far either by yourself  or with your group, you're going to be head and shoulders over your  peers, and in a good position to teach others about this approach to  threat intelligence and community security.

If  this interests you and you'd like go further, you do have a few  options. The first thing you can do is to sign up below to receive these  posts via email. My goals is to begin teaching concerned citizens how  to become de facto intelligence officers during the next catastrophic  event, whether it's local or national. And with the way things are  trending, I do believe that we're going to experience significant bouts  of systems disruption where this information may be extremely useful to you.

If you enjoyed reading these posts, I did write a book about this back in 2015. SHTF Intelligence: An Intelligence Analyst's Guide to Community Security  is an intelligence manual that takes students through the entire gamut  of intelligence, from collection and analysis to operations. I provide  very detailed and step-by-step instructions on how to use intelligence  for community security planning.

If  you want to take an entire course on the subject, I do offer two- and  three-day courses for students. After there was enough interest, I built  out an online version called the Area Intelligence Course.  Through seven hours of lecture and instruction, six worksheets, an area  assessment tool, and 20+ intelligence and security manuals, it's a  great option for those who want to jump into intelligence with both  feet.

If  you want to keep getting my daily dispatches on intelligence, security,  and defense for an uncertain future, sign up by email below. Each day  (or each week) you'll get my best thoughts and ideas on what's going,  what's going to happen in the future, and how we can start planning for  it now.

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

Intelligence and Community Security 6

  

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer.

Welcome to the Forward Observer Daily. You can read this post online here.

It's Friday -- the day of the week where I answer questions from the mailbag.

This week, Shawn asks: What do you see as the community security equivalent of the TOC?

Shawn  is prior service and he's referring to the Tactical Operations Center.  If you had walked into any TOC in Iraq or Afghanistan over the past  10-15 years, you'd have been liable to see a team of soldiers monitoring  live video feeds, conferring with military staff, working on updating  maps (either on the wall or digital), and generally keeping the pulse of  ongoing operations.

Law  enforcement and civilian authorities often refer to their version of  the TOC as a command center, such as the one a city would set up during a  natural disaster. This is the brain of any large effort.

Let's boil all this down to the community level.

When  it comes to the organization tasked with collecting and collating  information and turning it into intelligence, I teach students that they  should form an ACE, or Analysis and Control Element. (My goal is  not to copy the Army's terminology, so call it whatever you want - the  intelligence element, the intelligence section, the S2, whatever. I'm  going to continue to refer to it as the ACE because I know it's a system  that works.)

During  an emergency, the ACE is going to be a valuable part of the security  effort because it's the 'central processing' element for incoming  information.

If  we as a community are going to keep our families safe during an  emergency, then we need access to timely information about what's going  on beyond our line of sight. Without access to timely information, we're  flying blind. Furthermore, we could have a dozen people across the  community relaying information to the ACE, but without people to receive  that information, triage and process it, and turn it into intelligence,  their efforts do us little good. This bottleneck is like having all the  crude oil in the world: without a refinery, there's no fuel. So we have  to build a refinery, and this is exactly what the ACE is.

Let's  look at it another way: Information about your surroundings are relayed  to your brain through your senses. Ideally, all your senses are  noticing things in the environment around you, and that information is  fed to your brain where you make sense of what's going on. Welcome to  the ACE.

Here are a handful of things we can do now to be better prepared for the next emergency.

1) Maps:  You simply must have maps of your area of operations (AO). There are  three maps that I recommend: a 1:24,000 scale topographical map  (available from the USGS or MyTopo),  an imagery map which you can find on GoogleEarth, and a street map  which you can find on Google Maps. The source of the map doesn't matter  so much as what's on the map, and the map needs to be recent. Within the  last six months is best, but if there's a lot of construction in your  area, then you might need to find something more recent. I recommend  these maps be 24" x 36" and tacked up on the wall for quick reference.  This is going to allow us to plot real-time locations of events or  personnel (a bridge outage, flooded areas, a check point, robberies,  looting, etc.) using map overlays.

2) Police Scanner:  Scanning local emergency services frequencies is the absolute best way  to get up-to-the-second intelligence information during an emergency.  Unless you live in an area where this traffic is encrypted, you’ll have  access to some of the same information that law enforcement does. And  when it comes to making informed, time-sensitive decisions, a police  scanner will be your best friend. They’re expensive, however, I highly  recommend the Uniden Home Patrol 2. (Anywhere under $450 is a good price.)  It’s my police scanner of choice for several reasons; one of which is  because, unlike other scanners, its screen shows me what agency is  transmitting. (You can read my full review here.)  That goes a long way in my ability to determine the area of  transmission. You can read a full break down of equipment that I  recommend in the Ultimate ACE Startup Guide.

3) Personnel:  We need eyes, ears, and brains in our ACE. Let's think through our  needs during an emergency: at a minimum, we need someone monitoring the  police scanner (1), we need someone monitoring local radio and the news  (1), we need someone monitoring social media (1+), we need someone  plotting threats and events on our map overlays (1), and we need someone  to oversee and disseminate the real-time intelligence we're producing  (1). Already this is easily five or more people. The odds are good that  you're going to have to wear multiple hats, so we need practice. They  key here is to pre-designate members of your neighborhood watch,  community security team, or preparedness group and start getting them  trained up.

4) Experience/Practice:  Whether you're riding a bicycle, baking a cake, or playing a sport,  doing anything the first time can be difficult. Now we have added  pressure because our job is to monitor as many sources as possible for  information about or indications of threats that could affect our family  or community, and going through this process for the first time in  real-time is not ideal. So during the next natural disaster, riot, or  other emergency -- even if it's nowhere near you -- sit down at a  computer or a police scanner and practice observing and listening for  threat information. Write down what you see (for instance, via social  media) or hear, and go through the motions of identifying and reporting  this information.

I  teach courses all around the country, and we spend an entire afternoon  in a practical exercise that resembles these kinds of conditions.  Students get first-hand knowledge of what's required of them, they get a  feel for the battle rhythm of performing basic intelligence analysis  during an 'emergency', and they come away with some experience that  makes doing this in a real-world scenario hopefully easier and more  complete.

My next course is in Austin, Texas (19-20 MAY),  however, we'll be scheduling additional courses this year in Colorado,  Idaho, North Carolina, and other states. Sign up for our weekly updates  to stay connected on future course offerings.

If you can't make a course, then you may be interested in SHTF Intelligence: An Intelligence Analyst's Guide to Community Security, which has an entire chapter dedicated to ACE Operations.

I  hope today's article gives you some considerations for community  security, and gets you pointed in the right direction. And thank you to  Shawn who wrote in. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, then  feel free to leave a comment below, or get in touch with us through the contact form.

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper

Forward Observer Library 2

Intelligence, Security, and Defense for an Uncertain Future 1

 

Welcome to the Forward Observer Daily. You can read this post online here.
If you haven't already, I recommend getting started with the Intelligence and Community Security series (Day 01)  because everything we cover from here builds on that base of  understanding. Today's post covers an introduction to Intelligence  Preparation of the Battlefield, and it's a revised and expanded section  from the Introduction found in SHTF Intelligence: An Intelligence Analyst's Guide to Community Security.
At the heart of Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield, or IPB  as it’s called in the Army, is understanding the elements of terrain  and how they affect friendly and enemy operations. IPB products are  prepared and updated daily around the globe by militaries for their  operations and contingencies. (Intelligence analysts and military  planners are no doubt pouring over and constantly updating the IPB of  Syria as this post is published.)
The  Intelligence Analyst's understanding of the battlefield is the bedrock  of military operations because he prepares the intelligence that informs  the commander and his battle staff of what the battlefield looks like,  or will look like in the future.
A  battlefield’s physical terrain offers advantages and disadvantages to  invading and defending fighters, regardless of cause, creed or  nationality. The battlefield doesn’t choose sides by itself; the  battlefield just is. The physical terrain is little more than a tool,  and it can be an asset or a liability. Physical terrain like hills,  mountains, roads, lakes, rivers, bridges, and buildings can quicken the  advance of an army or stop it dead in its tracks.
And  it’s this incredible utility of best using the battlefield’s terrain  that has enabled fighters for millennia to punish larger armies, defend  more ground, expedite an invasion, and perhaps most importantly, predict  what an enemy leader and his fighting men will do in a given situation.
Military  leaders since time immemorial on all sides have exploited these terrain  effects to great success or peril. French Emperor and military leader  Napoleon Bonaparte was said to have had his aides scour libraries in  search of maps and books detailing the foreign lands of his campaigns.  Attaining an expert knowledge of the battlefield terrain contributed to  his success: of the 60 battles he fought over his career, he won 46 and  lost seven. Confederate General Robert E. Lee was commissioned into the  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1829. By the end of the Mexican War in  1848, Lee had participated in every major battle, and had provided U.S.  Army General Winfield Scott with detailed reconnaissance information. He  was a practitioner of terrain analysis and it’s part of what later made  him a brilliant Confederate commander.
But  there’s another type of terrain that we need to understand as future  participants in low intensity conflict. As we survey the past decade and  more of American warfare in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, we see a  great need to understand not just the physical terrain, but also what’s  called the human terrain.
As  opposed to naturally-occurring features or man-made obstacles of the  physical kind, the human terrain includes the people, their feelings and  opinions, their wants and desires, their languages and cultures and  collective histories. When adversaries, especially numerically inferior  guerrillas, can take their message to the people, they open up a  parallel war. Not only are our adversaries trying to kill the enemy and  stay alive themselves, but they also lobby or coerce tribes, groups or  individuals for support. This “war of the people” can’t be won on  physical terrain or by conventional means alone. For as much difficulty  as there is in patrolling a remote mountainside, the human elements of  those who inhabit it make the fight much more complex. These human  factors can lead to making war on the enemy among the people more  difficult than is respected or appreciated.
T.E.  Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, lived among the Arabs and  he understood the human terrain. That’s what enabled him to lead Arabs  in a successful guerrilla campaign against the Ottoman Empire.
Having  a poor understanding of the populace in Iraq and Afghanistan is one  area that greatly contributed to the enemy’s successes in both countries  during U.S. operations there. The local insurgents understood the  people and, in many cases, we didn’t. We understood the insurgents, but  generally not their base of support and the fault lines that surrounded  the tribal relations in these areas. We can see insurgents and insurgent  activities. Tribal dynamics -- the allies and bitter enemies of a  particular sub-tribe going back hundreds of years, for instance -- is  more difficult to see. When those dynamics are rubbed the wrong way,  military operations become exponentially more complex. The human  terrain, just like the physical, can be leveraged by us or against us.  Just like an army leader can force his adversary to fight on unfavorable  physical terrain, so can the army leader force his adversary to fight  in unfavorable human terrain.
Mao  Tze-Tung famously said that the guerrilla should move through the  populace like a fish moves through the water. The Army’s approach to the  wars when I arrived in both countries was largely still to sort through  all the water in order to find the fish, when we should have been  working with the water to find and expel the fish for us. The Army, as  good as it is at killing people, was wholly unprepared to fight a “war  of the people” on that scale. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan  proved that conflict is already costly and messy enough, but not  understanding all the elements of the operating environment makes it  more expensive, both in financial terms and in the cost of human lives.  The years spent playing ‘catch up’ in that part of the world reignited  scholarly and academic approaches to warfare that emphasize sociology  and psychology; lessons learned the hard way by the Army every few  decades dating all the way back to fighting the insurgents of the  Philippine War in the late 19th century. The “parallel war” of tribes  and non-combatant populations is much more important than was given  credit to by many commanders in the early and mid-2000s.
For  as long as IPB has been practiced, it will be practiced into the  future. But it’s difficult to say just what that future will look like  for those interested enough to learn more about Low Intensity Conflict.  Billions of dollars are spent on national defense and intelligence  gathering at home and abroad, and leaders and policy makers still don’t  know exactly what to expect. The world is a big place filled with a lot  of people, after all.
And  while we - you and I as preparedness-oriented individuals who share an  interest in protecting our families and communities - don’t have billion  dollar budgets, we also don’t have to deal with the world, or the  nation, or even an entire state. What belongs to you is your home and  community. That’s your area of responsibility and that’s where most of  your preparedness time and resources need to be directed. People often  don’t believe me upon hearing it for the first time, but the fact of the  matter is that your greatest and most immediate threats are likely the  unprepared folks who already live around you.
Our  mission during the next emergency hopefully won't involve tanks and  planes, but the same principles apply. The security of our community is  still at the mercy of the terrain and people who inhabit it. If you need  a refresher on the six layers of the operating environment, check out Day 04 of Intelligence and Community Security: The Operating Environment and You.  In future posts, we'll work on fleshing out this concept of the  Operating Environment and explore ways that we can analyze the effects  on community security.
If  you're like me and concerned about the next recession, natural  disaster, cyber attack, world war, domestic conflict, or any number of  events that can impact our communities, then I hope you'll continue to  read the Forward Observer Daily as we delve deeper into  intelligence, security, and defense for an uncertain future. If you  don't want to wait for future posts, you can get a head start on the  competition by reading SHTF Intelligence: An Intelligence Analyst's Guide to Community Security.
If  you want to immerse yourself in intelligence and community security  over the course of a few days or a few weeks, we do offer an online  training course, which is available for streaming 24/7. The Area Intelligence Course  is a series of lessons that guides students through the process of  building an Area Study for their community that outlines the risks and  threats likely to be faced during an emergency, whether local or  national.
As  always, thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments,  I'd be more than happy to do what I can to answer them. Leave a comment  below or just email me.
Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper

Intelligence, Security, and Defense for an Uncertain Future 2

 

Hey - It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer.  Today we're talking about planning for community security in an urban  environment, based on a 1953 Civil Defense manual, which is surprisingly  good. You can read this post online here.
 

I  have roughly 30 gigabytes of collected manuals, guides, white papers,  reports, and other documents on intelligence, security, defense, and  warfighting in PDF. On a new site revision, I'll make a lot of those  available for download. One thing I'll start doing today is reading  through these documents, commentating on their content, giving readers a  frame of reference as to why a particular section is important for  intelligence and community security, and making the download available.

Today,  I'm flipping through Technical Manual 8-1 Civil Defense Urban Analysis,  published by the now-defunct Federal Civil Defense Administration in  1953. (DOWNLOAD)  Somewhat surprisingly, for being published in the 1950s, this manual  contains a lot of great information for analyzing urban terrain.

Context:  One of the most difficult aspects of fighting in urban terrain is its  three-dimensional nature. Not only do soldiers in urban battlefields  have to worry about what's behind and ahead of them, but they also have  to worry about what's above them. One really great example of this  happened during the Russian conflict in Chechnya, where Russian tanks  invaded Grozny. A line of tanks would occupy the street, and rebels  would cause a road block, stopping the tanks. Then the Chechen rebels  would fire RPGs out of second- and third-story windows in the buildings  above and destroy the tanks. If we were to apply this concept to  community security, the same effect applies: this is a characteristic of  our operating environment that we need to take into consideration.
 

Principal Uses for Urban Analysis

Starting on Page 1, the manual outlines the reasons to pay attention to urban analysis:

(a)  To identify by target analysis the area or areas which any enemy may  consider most profitable in terms of maximum casualties and structural  damage.
(b)  To develop a web defense or other sound tactical organization of the  ground for the most effective dispersal, use, and control of civil  defense services and community facilities.
...
(e) To develop a program for reducing or eliminating as many physical hazards as possible in advance of an attack.
(f) To determine location of the city's critical features which may be potential targets for attack.
 

This  manual was written during the Cold War, when the risk of invasion,  sabotage, or warfighting on the home front was exponentially higher than  it is today, but this doesn't make these lessons any less important.  Any kind of security or movement in an urban or built up area means  accounting for the buildings and structures above you.

Starting at the bottom of Page 2, the manual lists off some features we'll want to consider. Here are the highlights. (Also, you should be tracking this information and including it in the appropriate sections of your Area Studies.)

  • Industrial plants
  • Plants and facilities dealing with highly flammable or explosive materials
  • Industrial storage plants using or capable of generating poisonous gases
  • Public shelters
  • Public buildings
  • Population distribution
  • School population
  • Military installations
  • Police stations and communication system
  • Fire stations and communications system
  • Rescue units and locations of stored tools
  • Water distribution system and auxiliary sources
  • Sewerage system and garbage collection and disposal services

This list overs well over 50 features you'll want to identify in your own areas. (If you want to learn how to put together a professional Area Study, check out our Area Intelligence Course.)

Chapter  2 covers maps, but it does bear some updating. I recommend having  24"x36" topographical, imagery, and street maps. You can learn more  here: The Ultimate ACE Startup Guide

Chapter  3, starting on Page 9, is on identifying potential targets and the  effects of an atomic bomb -- not entirely relevant to this blog.

Chapter  4 is entitled, "Method of Estimating Damage to Structures and  Facilities". Unless you're doing battle damage assessment or determining  the potential effects of battle damage, this chapter is not very  relevant.

Chapter 5 is on the potential for fire, and it does contain a good section on fires and fire season (Page 27-30).

Chapter  6 is on estimating casualties during a mass casualty event, depending  on city population and time of day. Page 32 features an interesting  graph on the topic.


Chapter  7 covers "Maps Used in Planning Operations" and contains good general  information on considerations for infrastructure, public services, and  roads and highways.

In all, this is a really useful manual, especially that first chapter. It's a great building block for SHTF Intelligence: An Intelligence Analyst's Guide to Community Security.

If you want to get head and shoulders above your competition, then do an Area Study.  We've built out an e-course that makes this process easy and efficient.  Put in the work, and you'll get the results that will help you navigate  emergencies, whether they're national or local.

If  you enjoyed this article and want more of my thoughts on intelligence,  security, and defense for an uncertain future, be sure to subscribe to  my email updates.

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

Intelligence and Community Security 7

 

Hey - It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer.  In addition to the Physical Terrain, Critical Infrastructure, and the  other elements of the Operating Environment, the Human Terrain is also a  critical area to consider. You can read this post online here.
 

Iraq  and Afghanistan have plenty lessons learned for our mission in  community security during the upcoming national instability. One of  those is the Human Terrain, which is incredibly important for us to  understand. In Iraq and Afghanistan, understanding tribal dynamics,  tribal history, human beliefs and attitudes, and the outlook and  opinions of the populace toward governance (among other factors) was  supremely important to district and village stability programs. In some  cases, commanders knew this and got it right. In other cases, commanders  got it really wrong. Today, I'm writing about some human considerations for community security because we can't afford to get it wrong.

Everything  we do in intelligence revolves around the mission. If we don't  understand the mission, then we can't properly support it. I'm really  big on writing down mission statements for our community security  efforts, and those mission statements are based on threats or  conditions. When everyone involved in community security understands the  mission, we can all work together to achieve success. If we don't  understand it, then we probably won't accomplish the mission. For  instance, during the next hurricane or tornado (or earthquake or riot,  etc.), the mission statement might be Protect the community from  looters, predators, and other criminals, establish basic security in the  neighborhood, and aid in humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.  Your mission statement is going to vary, but you'll need to define your  mission at the very least. Once the mission is defined, then we can  start identifying mission requirements.

So  let's think this through... In our scenario, a hurricane is threatening  our region, we expect major flooding, lots of property damage, a lot of  needy people (especially women and children), and the potential for  criminals to threaten us, our neighbors, and the community at large.  This event is going to heavily impact human beings, which is why we in  intelligence need to understand the human terrain. Here's what it looks  like...

One  of the first tasks for my intelligence team is to figure out which  areas are likely to be impacted by flooding. We can look up flood plain maps  and historical data on flooding to get a good idea of our problem  areas. Then we need to look at the human factors in these areas. Who's  going to be affected? We cross-reference the likely impact areas with  demographics and other factors: socioeconomic status, income,  race/ethnicity, property crime rates, violent crime rates, and home  values are a good start, but these are really just surface-level data  points. (I use City-Data.com to find some of this information.) Answering How will groups of people respond to instability, need, and a loosened rule of law?  is what we'd like to achieve. To answer this question, I'd start  looking at historical and/or likely Federal Emergency Management Agency  (FEMA) aid stations, schools, churches, food banks, and other locations  that are traditionally a magnet for refugees. Identifying the likelihood  that our neighborhood could be directly impacted by the presence of  hundreds or thousands of needy individuals is going to be a significant  accomplishment. Identifying what neighborhoods -- especially if it's our  neighborhood -- are at a higher risk of out-of-area refugees, looters,  and organized criminals is another step we can take to determine what  could or what's likely to happen in the future.

Once  we can answer these question, we can produce intelligence that informs  decision-makers about about what they can expect in the future. That's  going to enable them to make informed decisions about how best our  community can prepare to deal with the third-order effects of this  hurricane: extreme need, displacement, criminality, widespread systems  disruption, and other effects.

In this scenario, a few of the intelligence requirements I'd be trying to satisfy include:

  • Which individuals or households in our neighborhood could become a threat?
  • Where are the nearest impacted areas that could produce threats to our neighborhood?
  • Which avenues of approach will out-of-area threats likely utilize to threaten our neighborhood?

I'm  sure you could come up with a much longer list of intelligence  requirements, and you should. This is Phase One of the Intelligence  Cycle and it's a good starting point. (Read this for more on the Intelligence Cycle.)

Demographics  and socioeconomic data are a good starting point for understanding  who's in your community. Get out and talk with your neighbors, go to  city hall or county commission meetings, observe the people who attend,  and maybe ask them some questions. Meet a community leader for a cup of  coffee. Knowing race and income is not enough to answer complex  questions; we have to understand community members at a deeper level:  who are they politically and ideologically? What's their opinion on  local government, state government, federal government? How do they  perceive local law enforcement? How self-sufficient are our neighbors?  Which of our neighbors don't have two nickels to rub together? Which of  our neighbors could pose a threat to us during an emergency? Which of  our neighbors are going to get on-board with our community security  effort? Which of our neighbors are veterans, or nurses, or engineers, or  first responders? Which of our neighbors are also concerned about the  state of the country and our current trajectory? These are questions  that can't be answered by online databases, and they're going to require  some leg work, either in person or perhaps via social media.

The  bottom line on human terrain is this: any terrain is a tool that can be  used against our security or for our security. The better we understand  who lives around us, the better we can anticipate security needs in the  future, and especially during an emergency where cooperation makes the  difference between security and insecurity.

If you want to get head and shoulders above your competition, then do an Area Study.  We've built out an e-course that makes this process easy and efficient.  Put in the work, and you'll get the results that will help you navigate  emergencies, whether they're national or local.

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

Intelligence and Community Security 8

 "Are  we reaching a point in the so-far-failed Resistance where little is  left except abject violence in the manner of the Roman or French  Revolution?" - Victor Davis Hanson              

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer.

Welcome to the Forward Observer Daily. You can read this post online here.

Leading up to the November 2016 elections, I wrote to subscribers that  my most pressing concern regarding national instability was a failed  election. A replay of the 2000 "hanging chad" incident, a cyber attack,  evidence of widespread voter fraud, a case of actual collusion,  or any number of potential catastrophes could have derailed what's left  of our Republic and potentially induced widespread, organized political  violence.

One  of my greatest concerns as we look to 2018, 2020, and beyond is still  organized political violence and revolutionary activity. I make a  distinction between politically-related violence and organized  political violence. The sporadic assaults against Trump supporters is  politically-related violence; an armed take over of a college campus (à  la the 1970 Columbia ROTC take over), government building, or a  coordinated campaign of violence against politicians or  politico-cultural figures are examples of organized political  violence. The former we've grown accustomed to, the latter could be the  start of a domestic conflict. Extreme events are unlikely but not  impossible, especially considering what's at stake in the elections and  the future of the country. There are a number of potential scenarios we  could see going forward.

Let's start with political subversion,  which we're already seeing. There's no doubt that the collusion  investigation, which to date has reportedly produced no evidence of  collusion, and the intent to remove a sitting president is a  revolutionary act. Moving beyond the usual mud slinging in politics, the  activities of government apparatchiks to undermine a legitimate  president and the media's efforts to foment illegitimate fear, unrest,  hatred, and opposition are historical precursors for revolution.

Along these lines, a Coup D'etat  is a violent or non-violent overthrow of an established government,  usually by a small number of people at or near the top of the ruling  class or military. One could argue that, along with political  subversion, there's been and continues to be an attempted coup against  President Trump, although not in a traditional sense.

Unlike  a coup, which is organized and executed at or near the top of power, an  insurgency's heavy lifting is done at the bottom. We're undoubtedly  seeing a (mostly) non-violent political insurgency, which historically  carries some risk, under the right conditions, of developing into an  armed insurgency. We can define insurgency as "The  organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge  political control of a region" (Defense Department). We're not yet at  the point of armed insurgency, however, there are indications of intent.  I typically characterized the Right as having the capability but  lacking widespread desire, and now the Left as having the desire but  lacking the capability. We have, however, observed behavior  among extreme Left groups of adopting gun culture -- everything from  purchasing firearms and ammunition to holding range days and firearms  training. It's one indication that the extreme Left is marginally, yet  incrementally, developing the capability to foment an armed insurgency.  About fifty years ago, Leftist revolutionary groups in the United States  carried out over 2,500 bombings in less than two years, along with  police assassinations, bank robberies, and other violent activities. By  their own words, they really thought a revolution was about to break out  (Days of Rage).  Few of those responsible for the bombings were caught, fewer were tried  in court, and many of them are still alive. It's not inconceivable that  undesirable election results in 2018 or 2020, or some federal policy  perceived as crossing a red line, could drive their contemporaries to  the same kinds of activities. It's not a prediction, but there exists  the potential.

Short of an insurgency that seeks to overthrow a government, there's insurrection and rebellion. An insurrection  is localized violence carried out by an organization desiring to change  policies. A riot intended to overturn or modify government policy,  deter an undesirable outcome, or punish a government or institution  would be an example of insurrection. Lastly, there's rebellion, which is an attempt to create a new, independent regional government through violent means.

Shortly  after the 2016 election, I started tracking 20 early warning indicators  of revolutionary movements in the United States. We started with six or  eight indicators around Thanksgiving 2016, and by Thanksgiving 2017, we  had moved up to 12 of 20 active indicators, either strong or weak. As  of this morning, I've added another, which brings us to seven strong  indications and six weak indications, for a total of 13 out of 20.

For  those new to understanding indicators, they're a way intelligence  analysts can judge how near or far we are from an event, or how dull or  intense an event or condition is becoming. If three or four of 20  indicators are exhibited, then we're on the low or unlikely end of the  spectrum. If that number starts ticking up to 10 or 12, then we're  seeing moderate growth in likelihood or intensity. If the number of  indicators grows to 15 or 17 or more, then we could produce a warning  that a situation is serious or dire, perhaps imminent, or of a high  intensity. At 13 of 20 today, this is a moderate issue and it's  something we're actively tracking.

Leftist  revolutionary movements are becoming more organized and active in the  United States, although most of this activity occurs underground and is  limited to just a handful of cities and regions. The week to week  activities of these groups include outreach and recruiting, community  organizing, and some agitation. There are a number of groups training  with firearms and there are even some cadres of military veterans  teaching basic infantry skills to a few of these groups.

While  the number of active early warning indicators of Leftist revolutionary  activity has doubled in the past year and a half, that's not to say that  the trajectory is set. Conditions change, and attitudes and opinions  and behaviors change often with them. Major Democratic victories in 2018  and 2020 could stifle the growth of revolutionary sentiment, or it  could rapidly expand it under favorable conditions. It's too early to  predict what will happen, however, it's not too early to prepare for  potential instability.

If  you're interested in the potential for these scenarios, or concerned  about where we could be headed as a country, then stay up to date with  developing conditions with our threat intelligence reports. Each Friday  we publish two intelligence summaries:

  • Alt-Observer,  a weekly look at the development of domestic conflict, revolutionary  political movements, tribal violence, and other factors that disrupt our  “civil” society.
  • National Intelligence Bulletin,  which covers issues of national security, domestic systems disruption,  risk of failing critical infrastructure, and threats to social,  political, and economic stability.

Stay  ahead of the curve. Understand the threats and current events shaping  the future so you can be better prepared for tomorrow.

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper

Intelligence and Community Security 9

 from Forward Observer

      Military Operations & the Homeland Defense Mission (Part One)                                           

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer.

Welcome to the Forward Observer Daily. You can read this post online here.

Last month, the Defense Department published an updated version of their Homeland Defense manual (Joint Publication 3-27).  Admittedly, I've never read this manual before and just noticed that a  new version was released. This manual's been around for a while,  however, the last major prior update occurred in 2013 and 2007 before  that. Joint Publication 3-27 contains some real gems of information  should the U.S. military be called in to quell unrest or respond to a  domestic conflict. Here are some notes on the first chapter,  Fundamentals of Homeland Defense. I'll write up notes for other chapters  (Parts II+) in the coming days.

[Homeland Defense] is the protection of US sovereignty, territory,  domestic population, and critical infrastructure against external  threats and aggression or other threats, as directed by the President of  the US. 

-  Starting on Page I-5, the manual covers a host of potential threats to  the homeland. They include chemical, biological, radiological, and  nuclear (CBRN)/weapons of mass destruction (WMD), rogue nation threats,  transnational criminal organizations (like MS-13), "ongoing illegal  immigration and potential special interest aliens", and "presence of  homegrown violent extremists".

We're  going to focus on the presence of homegrown violent extremists and a  potential military response under a homeland defense (HD) mission.

Page  I-6 gets interesting. Subsection (I)(3)(1) describes the Posse  Comitatus Act (PCA), which prohibits the regular Army and Air Force from  participating in civilian law enforcement activities within the  homeland. There are two exceptions to this rule: the first is an act of  Congress, and the second is described as a "Constitutional exception to  the PCA". This exception covers missions considered as Homeland Defense;  in other words, the regular Army and Air Force are able to operate  within the homeland if it's a matter of national defense. (For more  information, see What You Need to Know About Military Assistance to Civil Disturbances.)  I'm not a national security lawyer, but that might be a matter for the  president to decide. If a domestic conflict or civil war were to break  out, then the regular Army, not just the National Guard, could be called  out for a homeland defense mission.

Let's  take this one step further: subsection (I)(3)(2)(b) covers the  "Acquisition of Open-Source Information". Typically it's illegal for the  U.S. military to gather information about U.S. Persons, but is this  still the case during a Homeland Defense mission? And which  organizations would be responsible for collecting intelligence  information on U.S. Persons during a domestic conflict/civil war? In  other cases, that's usually part of the mission for local, state, and  federal law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security. During a  Homeland Defense mission, would Army Signals Intelligence be collecting  against U.S. Persons? How would NSA be involved? Would Army  intelligence analysts be building organization charts and targeting  packets for U.S. citizens? These are questions worth considering, and  I'll circle back around to them in a future edition of the Forward Observer Daily.

Subsection  (I)(3)(2)(d) covers the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which  says the domestic use of military UAS outside of established "policy,  law, or other guidance" would require SecDef approval. A Homeland  Defense mission would almost certainly rely just as heavily on UAS  (armed or unarmed) as the U.S. military did in Iraq and Afghanistan --  which is to say, we're talking about a lot of drones. 'A lot of drones'  means a lot of analysts watching drone feeds and lot of activities and  locations being tracked. A single, localized insurrection or rebellion  is going to have a lot of attention, per capita, as opposed to  widespread violence across the nation. I remember when NSA whistleblower  Bill Binney warned that our country was inches away from a "turnkey  dictatorship" and something like a domestic conflict could certainly tip  the scales if that were politically palatable.

Subsection  (I)(3)(2)(e) covers "Incident Awareness and Assessment" (IAA) and it  appears that SecDef approval is all that's needed for military  intelligence support to a Homeland Defense or Defense Support to Civil  Authorities mission. "Traditional intelligence capabilities" for IAA  could be used for:

  • situational awareness
  • damage assessment
  • evacuation monitoring
  • search and rescue
  • [Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear] assessment
  • hydrographic survey, and
  • dynamic ground coordination

I'll have to bang out another article on these tasks and topics at a later date.

Subsection  (I)(3)(3) covers Military Information Support Operations (MISO) --  things like psychological operations, information warfare, etc. -- which  could be used in what's called Civil Authority Information Support  (CAIS) "during domestic emergencies within the boundaries of the US  homeland". Activities would include the dissemination of information  relating to national security or disaster relief and, according to this  manual, do not appear to include information operations targeting the  U.S. populace, although I'll have to refer to some experts about this.

Subsection  (I)(3)(4)(a) covers Rules of Engagement (ROE). "US forces, when  performing an HD mission, must be prepared to engage the enemy [in  accordance with] the appropriate [rules of engagement] and [rules for  the use of force]." The ROE would be issued by military authorities, and  presumably those authorities and/or the SecDef would govern changes to  the standing ROE. The rest of this subsection covers the legal aspects  of ROE, however, it does include the following statement: "Self-defense  is an inherent right and obligation exercised by the unit commander in  response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent."

Section  (I)(5) covers the Homeland Defense Operational Framework, and I do have  some general questions. This section specifically mentions the  requirement to defend against threats to critical infrastructure, key  resources, and the domestic population. The language sounds as if its  referring explicitly to foreign threats -- i.e., invasions -- but a  domestic conflict is likely to include internal threats to critical  infrastructure and key resources. Consider that the National Guard is  standing up cyber units and some of them are actively training to secure  the grid and other infrastructure. I would expect the cyber space to be  contested during a domestic conflict. "Hacktivist" groups have taken  aim at targets in the past, and I expect them to in a domestic conflict,  as well. This is probably not considered very often when we talk about  domestic conflict, but there is certainly the risk of some major systems  disruption if fringe groups consider targeting critical infrastructure  and key resources. Hacking critical infrastructure, for instance, in  "red states" could become a common occurrence during a domestic  conflict. Even foreign exploitation, such as causing systems disruption  to cities, could cause significant loss of life, disrupt public services  and utilities, and generally make life more difficult for inhabitants.  We should take this threat seriously and not overlook the possibility of  foreign interference in a domestic conflict. This topic probably  deserves an entire series dedicated to looking at the possibilities.

On  that note, subsection (I)(5)(c)(2) points out that "land operations"  and the "protection of critical infrastructure" are included in the HD  mission. Critical Infrastructure is one of our six layers of the  Operating Environment (ref: the Area Intelligence Course), and this subsection just underscores the importance of knowing what's in your area.

Another  consideration is subsection (I)(5)(f) which states that deterrence is a  major part of the HD mission. My first thought is, If a domestic  conflict were looking likely -- an increase in civil unrest, political  violence, violent rhetoric, etc. that encourages widespread violence --  what might the National Guard or military do in response? If this were a  situation where law enforcement was not an adequate deterrent, might we  see mobilizations and staging activities by the military as a "show of  presence" or "show of force" to deter more violence? Might there be an  information operations effort by government or law enforcement to deter  groups organizing for political violence? Developments like these might  be a good gauge or provide early warning if federal law enforcement  thought there was a moderate or high likelihood of domestic conflict. A  change in tone or a series of public service announcements or some other  information effort might be a good indicator that the risk is  considered to be significant or imminent. This could take the form of  publicized arrests and trials, a broader effort by law enforcement to  identify known or suspected "radicals", radio and television ads, etc.

I'll  finish reading up on the next several chapters this evening and I'll  prepare some more notes, especially for Chapter III and the Appendices.

If  you're interested in the potential for these scenarios, or concerned  about where we could be headed as a country, then stay up to date with  developing conditions with our threat intelligence reports. Each Friday  we publish two intelligence summaries:

  • Alt-Observer,  a weekly look at the development of domestic conflict, revolutionary  political movements, tribal violence, and other factors that disrupt our  “civil” society.
  • National Intelligence Bulletin,  which covers issues of national security, domestic systems disruption,  risk of failing critical infrastructure, and threats to social,  political, and economic stability.

Stay  ahead of the curve. Understand the threats and current events shaping  the future so you can be better prepared for tomorrow.

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper

Intelligence and Community Security 10

 from Forward Observer

 Domestic Military Operations & the Homeland Defense Mission (Part Two)

                                                

Hello. It's Sam Culper from Forward Observer.

Welcome to the Forward Observer Daily. You can read this post online here.

Yesterday  I covered the first chapter of Joint Publication 3-27, Homeland  Defense. The manual describes for us military doctrine and some  operational guidance for what to expect for domestic military operations  under the Homeland Defense (HD) mission. You can catch up here. I'll probably also write up an Executive Summary of everything I've learned from reading this manual.

Today,  I'm breaking out my thoughts on Chapter II (Command Relationships and  Interorganizational Cooperation) and Chapter III (Planning and  Operations for Homeland Defense).

Subsection  (II)(1)(b) clearly states that combatant commanders in the HD mission  will be answering directly to the President and SecDef "for the  performance assigned missions and the preparedness of their commands".  Because of the complexity of domestic military operations under the HD  mission, both civilian and military officials will bear the burden of  coordination, from the lowest levels of junior officers and local  officials, to commanding officers and state officials, to combatant  commands (ie., U.S. Northern Command) and the joint force intelligence  staff, and all the way to the Secretary of Defense and the President.  That's a lot of coordination, which means a lot of movement and  communication, and a lot of places to drop the ball.

Subsection  (II)(2) covers "unified action" and, in summary, states that all  officials from the local level to state and federal, to include civilian  and military officials, are required to coordinate their efforts to  achieve unity of effort. U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and special operations  units already train with the Department of Homeland Security and "other  interagency partners". During an HD mission, federal officials will  stand up a civil-military operations center (CMOC) where much of the  aforementioned coordination will take place.

In  yesterday's post, I briefly mentioned that the effects of domestic  cyber operations and "hacktivism" are probably being overlooked by most  people contemplating a domestic conflict, and subsection (II)(2)(f)  provides us some additional information:

"For  cyberspace, the vulnerability and complex interrelationship of national  and international networks demand closely coordinated action among the  military, private sector, and other government entities at all levels."
 

U.S.  Cyber Command and other military cyber units "are the military front  line of defense," and that would, presumably, include operations against  hacktivists and other foreign or domestic hackers targeting critical  infrastructure and key resources.

Interestingly,  the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), currently Marine  General Joe Dunford, is responsible for "the preparation and review of  [domestic] contingency plans... and reviews HD plans and operations for  compatibility with other military plans". The CJCS also "reviews and  assesses requests from governors for [National Guard] HD activities and  provides recommendations to SecDef".

Subsection  (II)(3)(a)(7) covers the role of governors. "Governors retain [command  and control] of [National Guard] forces executing HD activities in their  respective states". "The President, SecDef, and [combatant commanders]  are no in the state operational chain of command."

Subsection  (II)(4)(1) provides guidance for media relations: "Within the US  homeland and its approaches, forces may face continuous media scrutiny.  When faced with media questions or scrutiny, consult with the public  affairs (PA) office before responding."

Subsection  (II)(6) covers Multinational Forces, generally with regard to the  defense of North America. Subsections cover security cooperation efforts  and enabling continental defense, however, I don't see anything that  specifically covers multinational force deployments to the United States  for HD missions.

Moving  on to Chapter III, subsection (III)(3)(a) of the manual outlines that  regardless of the scope of military operations, civil-military  relationships will be difficult to manage because of the numerous  stakeholders involved. Those stakeholders include local, state, and  federal officials and authorities, who communicate through different  channels, have different policies and procedures, different chains of  command, etc. "Interagency forums, associations, information sharing,  and constant communications will be vital enablers" of overall  coordination.

Back  during the Ferguson riots, we at Forward Observer learned a valuable  lesson. Local, state, and federal response brought together law  enforcement from all levels, and they each had their own communications  infrastructure. In order to be on the same page, they used common  frequencies and much of their communications were broadcast in the  clear. That enabled us to listen in and begin to see the same security  picture they were seeing. During a HD mission, we may be able to listen  in to some local traffic, but I don't expect to be so lucky as to gather  as much information as we were able to during Ferguson. And that means  that, absent as much signals intelligence information, we're going to  rely more heavily on human intelligence to get our security picture.  (See SALUTE and SALT Reporting for more information.) There's  a lesson here: unless you have eyes and ears collecting and reporting  information today, you're going to lack the intelligence required to  drive decision-making tomorrow.

Subsection  (III)(3)(b) covers an important part of this strategy: "... requires  the [Joint Force Commander] to include communication goals and  objectives in the commander's intent and to have a communication  approach that ensures unity of themes, objectives, and messages among  key activities; consistency in intent or effect between command  operations, actions, and information; and a risk assessment of the  information that may reach unintended audiences, create unintended  consequences, and require risk mitigation measures."

Public  Affairs, covered in subsection (III)(3)(b)(2), will play an active role  in the HD mission. The PA is tasked with "communicating truthful and  factual unclassified information" about defense activities.

Next  we move on to (III)(4), which covers Intelligence Sharing for Homeland  Defense. This section provides guidance for commanders at all levels to  ensure that the fusion of "intelligence, counterintelligence (CI), [law  enforcement] information, and other available threat information occurs"  as it will "assist in developing a more accurate assessment of threats  to the homeland and may prevent surprise". Subsection (III)(4)(d) points  out that U.S. domestic military operations operate under a different  intelligence framework than overseas operations, and are subject to the  Constitution and applicable laws. "These policies permit DOD  intelligence missions in the homeland if the subject of the intelligence  effort is definitively linked to defense-related foreign intelligence  and CI activities," however, it makes no mention of U.S. persons who are  considered a threat to national defense. It appears that intelligence  collection against U.S. persons would fall under the purview of local,  state, or federal law enforcement; but this is not definitive.

The  rest of Chapter III deals with a lot of information that's irrelevant  to our community security mission. Tomorrow I'll be combing through the  Appendices and providing my notes and thoughts on some probably valuable  information contained therein.

If  you're interested in the potential for these scenarios, or concerned  about where we could be headed as a country, then stay up to date with  developing conditions with our threat intelligence reports. Each Friday  we publish the National Intelligence Bulletin,  which covers issues of national security, domestic systems disruption,  risk of failing critical infrastructure, and threats to social,  political, and economic stability.

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper