08 – 15 July 16 – SHTF Indicators Tracker 🔒 – Forward Observer Shop

08 – 15 July 16 – SHTF Indicators Tracker 🔒

08 – 15 July – SHTF Indicators

(Updated @ 1200 on 13 July 2016 – 32 Data Points)

An indicator is an observable or potentially observable clue about capabilities, intent, or a future event.  Our mission is to identify indicators in order to provide early warning of future events, identify the likelihood of future events, or identify capabilities or intent that could cause an emergency or SHTF scenario.

This is the long-form intelligence reporting of our EXSUMs.  If you’d like a summary and analysis of the intelligence reporting, see our previous Executive Intelligence Summaries.


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Priority Intelligence Requirements:

PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption that could lead to a SHTF event?

PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict? (Russia, China, Middle East)

PIR3: What are the current indicators of military, government, political, or social-related instability or violence that leads to domestic conflict?

PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability that leads to civil unrest?

PIR5: What are the current indicators of Islamic terrorism or the expansion of the Caliphate?

PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption that could lead to a SHTF event?

Critical Infrastructure

Waste water spillage continues to be the number one threat to clean water, particularly after heavy rains.  Typically, boil advisories are issued until crews are able to decontaminate the water.  Cyber attacks and exploitation come in at second place, with ransomware attacks claiming the top trend.

Obama confirms WH hacks.  U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday that the U.S. government has to improve its cyber security practices for the modern age of smart phones and other technology, saying that hackers had targeted the White House.  “I am concerned about it, I don’t think we have it perfect. We have to do better, we have to learn from mistakes,” Obama told a news conference in Madrid. “We know that we have had hackers in the White House,” he added. (Reuters; 10 July)

National Guard & the power grid.  The electric power grid is highly disaggregated, with nearly 5,000 different entities of widely varying size and capacity generating and/or distributing energy. Some 72 percent of all consumers are served by the nearly 2,000 shareholder-owned electric companies…  Guard cyber units in California, Maryland, Wisconsin and Washington, for example, have established collaborative relationships with local utilities. In some instances, the Guard unit and the utility have conducted joint exercises…  In Washington State, the National Guard cyber unit, with the approval of the governor, provided a risk assessment for the Snohomish County Public Utility District… The Maryland National Guard is creating a cyber center of excellence. Other Guard units are looking at collaborating with local companies to train their IT professionals to be cyber operators. (RCD; 11 July)

Michigan lock system key to US economic activity.  An astonishing 99 percent of the usable iron ore in the U.S. comes from mines in Michigan and Minnesota.  According to a report by the Department of Homeland Security, if the Poe Lock were to shut down for six months, the U.S. would enter a significant recession, with a loss of up to 11 million jobs nationwide. (Detroit News; 12 July)

Cybersecurity expert warns that GOP Convention could be a target for hackers.  “It makes sense for these hackers to hit the Republican National Committee right before or during its showcase event,” Samide said. “The ability of a hacktivist group to disrupt the Trump campaign is nothing compared to the havoc a state-sponsored cyberattack can wreak during the convention. However, I would not underestimate either group. They are both considered elite, extremely capable and dangerous.”  “Considering the likelihood of continual, state-sponsored hacks, our political parties need to fortify their networks,” Samide said. “Attacks typically increase as political and international tensions rise as they are now. In this environment, both political parties have a duty to protect their networks and build effective cyberdefenses. It’s not an easy task, but it can be done.” (Channel Partners; 09 July)



SMA warns about enemies exploiting US dependence on technology.  Today, more than 2,700 pieces of equipment in a brigade combat team run off GPS or satellite communications… But what happens if those systems fail? Or if the enemy launches an invasive and effective cyber or electronic warfare attack?   “If you’re asking if we’ve degraded our analog skills based upon technology and the increase of technology, of course we have,” said Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey… “Any system is going to be targeted by your potential adversaries, Dailey said. “When you design an electronic system, we’re all fully aware they’re subject to that,” he said. “What do you fall back on? Systems that can’t be messed with. It’s pretty tough to mess with a map, a protractor, a pencil and a compass.”  “But based on our known threats, based on our assumed threats, we have to be prepared to revert back to our analog skills.” (Army Times; 05 July)



California man arrested on espionage charges involving satellites.  A California man charged with allegedly attempting to sell sensitive information used in military and commercial satellites to the Russians was ordered jailed without bail Friday.  Authorities say the 49-year-old engineer, who worked for a Los Angeles defense contractor, provided proprietary software technology and other information to an FBI agent he thought was a Russian spy. (ABC News; 08 July)



Use of robot and bomb to kill Dallas shooting suspect raises debate.  “This is sort of a new horizon for police technology. Robots have been around for a while, but using them to deliver lethal force raises some new issues.” (The Atlantic; 08 July)



Evidence of recidivism of illegal immigrant sexual predators.  According to Senator Toomey (R-PA): “An internal Department of Homeland Security memo revealed that during an eight-month period in 2014, sanctuary cities across America released 8,000 illegal immigrants, and 1,800 of them were later arrested for criminal acts. This included two cities that released individuals who had been arrested for child sexual abuse, and in both cases, the individuals were later re-arrested for sexually assaulting additional young children.” (Breitbart; 09 July)


PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict?


Obama reaffirms commitment to NATO.  President Obama, acknowledging that the trans-Atlantic alliance faces an unprecedented array of threats from terrorism, migrant flows and an aggressive Russia, said on Saturday that “in good times and in bad, Europe can count on the United States — always.” (NYT; 11 July)

Ukraine urges NATO to concede nothing against Russia threat. Western nations should not consider revoking tough economic sanctions against Russia, according to the deputy prime minister of Ukraine, who has told CNBC that the conflict in the eastern region of the country is escalating once again.  (CNBC; 08 July)

NATO agrees to reinforce eastern Poland, Baltic States against Russia.  NATO leaders agreed on Friday to deploy military forces to the Baltic states and eastern Poland for the first time and increase air and sea patrols to reassure allies who were once part of the Soviet bloc following Russia’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine…  White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters that what he called continued aggression by Russia would provoke a response by NATO and a greater alliance presence in Eastern Europe… Host nation Poland set a tone of mistrust of Russian intentions. Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told a pre-summit forum: “We have to reject any type of wishful thinking with regard to pragmatic cooperation with Russia as long as it keeps on invading its neighbors…”  The head of NATO’s military committee, Czech General Petr Pavel, said Russia was attempting to restore its status as a world power, an effort that included using its military. “We must accept that Russia can be a competitor, adversary, peer or partner and probably all four at the same time,” he said… Stoltenberg also said NATO defense ministers would consider calls from Romania and Bulgaria for a stronger allied air and sea presence in the Black Sea, where Russia has a fleet based in Crimea and is building up its interdiction capacity. (Reuters; 08 July)

US expels two Russian diplomats over last month’s attack on Embassy official.  The US has expelled two Russian officials over an attack on a US diplomat in Moscow last month by a policeman, the State Department said. (Telegraph; 08 July)



Russia continues drills to test readiness, command and control.  More than 900 troops and more than 100 units of weapons and military equipment are involved in an exercise that has been launched at the Alabino range outside Moscow, the press service of the Western Military District reported on Tuesday. The troops will practice the use of the integrated system of troops command and control… The exercise involves artillery, motorized infantry and reconnaissance units of the Guards Tank Army… (TASS; 12 July)

Russia to spend $15bn on domestic defense industry.  The Russian government will allocate 1 trillion rubles ($15.625 billion) for the development of the domestic defense industry, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting with members of the ruling United Russia party on Monday… [T]he program will focus on retooling Russian defense enterprises and providing them with new equipment.  The first goal is to bring the level of the defense industry’s production and technological readiness to 100% to ensure the output of armaments and military hardware. This year, this figure stood at 97%… The second most important task is to put 929 new production facilities into operation. The third goal is to bring the share of innovative products in total output to 40%. The fourth goal is to develop at least 1,300 technologies by 2020 to ensure the output of military products. (TASS; 11 July)

Russia to build 10 new airfields in the arctic.  The Russian Defense Ministry intends to build and reconstruct in the Arctic 10 airfields in order to strengthen Russia’s presence in the northern latitudes… more than 150 facilities – lighthouses, islands, military units are planned to be delivered to remote military garrisons. “The Northern delivery is planned for the favorable weather conditions period in order to safely ship cargoes to the most difficult in terms of delivery and unloading places.”  In late 2015, Russia completed equipping its six military bases in the Arctic.  (TASS; 11 July)

Russian response to NATO summit.  Russia often depicts NATO as an aggressor whose members are moving troops and military hardware further into former Soviet territory, which it regards as its sphere of influence… Moscow has declared its intention to deploy nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania, in response to NATO’s activation of a U.S.-built missile shield on Polish soil.  (Reuters; 08 July)

Russia denies involvement in 2015 cyber attack against German Bundestag.  Russia has officially denied accusations by German intelligence agencies that the Russian state is responsible for the 2015 attacks on the German Parliament… According to Schlegel, Western intelligence agencies are commonly involved in cyber-attacks on the websites of Russian state agencies.  (SC Magazine UK; 08 July)

Russia says it poses no threat to NATO.  “It is absurd to talk about any threat coming from Russia at a time when dozens of people are dying in the center of Europe and when hundreds of people are dying in the Middle East daily,” said Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman.  “You have to be an absolutely short-sighted organization to twist things in that way,” said Peskov, saying Russia hoped common sense and an understanding of the need to avoid confrontation would prevail.  (Reuters; 08 July)

Putin announces combat strength of Russian armed forces.  Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has established the organic strength of the Russian Armed Forces at 1,885,371, including 1 million servicemen, according to the presidential decree posted on the official legal information web portal on Friday. (TASS; 08 July)



North Korea

North Korean sub-launched missile test likely fails.  North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine but it likely failed in its early stage, the latest in a string of tests that are part of efforts by the North to advance technology capable of delivering nuclear warheads, the U.S. and South Korea said.  The U.S. Strategic Command said that the missile was tracked Saturday over the sea between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, where it apparently fell. (AP; 09 July)

North Korea to treat US under “wartime law”.  North Korea said on Monday it had told the United States it will cut the only channel of communication between them, at the United Nations in New York, after Washington blacklisted leader Kim Jong Un last week for human rights abuses.  All matters related to the United States, including the handling of U.S. citizens detained by Pyongyang, will be conducted under its “wartime law,” its official KCNA news agency said.  (Reuters; 11 July)


Middle East

IS using armed attack drones.  Islamic State fighters are posing a growing threat to U.S. and Iraqi forces by deploying small commercial drones armed with improvised explosives devices or spy cameras that can evade detection, according to the Pentagon.  The threat led the Defense Department office charged with monitoring and countering improvised explosive devices to ask that Congress approve shifting $20 million to provide seed money for a counter-drone effort.  (Bloomberg; 07 July)


PIR3: What are the current indicators of military, government, political, or social-related instability or violence that leads to domestic conflict?

#Black Lives Matter



Cleveland GOP Convention








PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability that leads to civil unrest?


Goldman Sachs: Stocks Will Fall as Uncertainty Rises


PIR5: What are the current indicators of Islamic terrorism or the expansion of the Caliphate?

North America




Bombshell Intelligence Report Reveals Hundreds of Hamas, Hezbollah Members Operating in Germany



Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

1 Comment

  1. Should there be resistance put forward when these black liberation groups start protests near our homes when we live outside of the cities where they go to instigate and provoke using intimidation and violence, blocking our streets, highways and our ability to move freely without police intervention to stop it? That in my mind, if during a normal days routine activities, we may come to fear for our personal safety, which is of our Constitutional Rights to self defense?

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