22 – 28 July 16 – SHTF Indicators Tracker 🔒 – Forward Observer Shop

22 – 28 July 16 – SHTF Indicators Tracker 🔒

22 – 28 July – SHTF Indicators

(Updated @ 1400 on 28 July 2016 – 17 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.


This content is for subscribers only. To continue reading, please log in or subscribe here. [/wcm_nonmember]

[wcm_restrict plan =”fo-osint”]

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?

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.

When hackers broke into the computers of Bangladesh’s central bank in February and sent fake payment orders, the Fed was tricked into paying out $101 million. (21 July; Reuters)

Crude oil prices will remain in the $45-$50-a-barrel range till mid-2017, with little to change the global supply and demand situation, Goldman Sachs said in a note Thursday. (27 July; CNBC)


Election 2016

American intelligence agencies have told the White House they now have “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee, according to federal officials who have been briefed on the evidence.(27 July; NYT)

If foreign governments learn that they can influence our elections with impunity, this opens the door for future manipulations, both document thefts and dumps like this one that we see and more subtle manipulations that we don’t see…  Even more important, we need to secure our election systems before autumn. If Putin’s government has already used a cyberattack to attempt to help Trump win, there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again — especially now that Trump is inviting the “help.”  Over the years, more and more states have moved to electronic voting machines and have flirted with Internet voting. These systems are insecure and vulnerable to attack…  Longer term, we need to return to election systems that are secure from manipulation. (27 July; WaPo)







A Russian-American was sentenced to 10 years in prison for posing as a Russian dignitary to funnel technology to his mother country’s military. (21 July; Courthouse News)





“In our administration in the first 100 days we’ll put forward a comprehensive immigration reform package that includes a path to citizenship,” Tim Kaine shouted. (23 July; Breitbart)

Since January of this year, about 26,000 unaccompanied alien children and almost 30,000 family units have tried to cross the southwest border, according to Customs and Border Protection. The majority of them were from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras… “Through the Central American Minors program, the U.S. government offers an alternative, safe, and legal path to the United States for children seeking protection from harm or persecution in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson in official statement. (26 July; ABC)

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


While it wasn’t a prominent aspect of Poland’s national military exercise Anakonda in June, the US Army incorporated [electronic warfare; EW] and cyber events into operations there… The Army relies on the electromagnetic spectrum for everything from the individual soldier’s communications to precise weapons targeting and situational awareness, but even with this major dependence the service has been slow to develop its [EW] capability… The [Army] is working to refine its [EW] tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) so there are no surprises on the battlefield when it comes to malfunctioning equipment… (15 July; DefenseNews)



“The district troops have been reequipped and received new warplanes and the S-300V4, S-400, Buk-M2 air defense missile systems, the Pantsir-S1 combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system. As a result, the efficiency of the country’s anti-aircraft defense in the northwestern strategic direction has improved 1.5 times…(27 July; TASS)

Russian warplanes reportedly bombed a secret military base in Syria used by elite American and British forces last month…  Nearly a day before the strike, 20 of 24 British special forces pulled out of the base. The U.S. tracked a Russian plane heading toward the base. The warplane dropped a cluster bomb, according to U.S. and rebel officials…  Despite the fact that some forces could have been killed and the bombing dampened relations between Russia and the Pentagon and CIA, the White House and State Department still pursued a compromise. (22 July; Military)

An unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders in Philadelphia: Is Vladimir V. Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election? .. [R]esearchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies, which were the same attackers behind previous Russian cyberoperations at the White House, the State Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year…  Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, argued on ABC’s “This Week” that the emails were leaked “by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump”… (25 July; NYT)

A new regiment set of the S-400 Triumf antiaircraft missile system will be delivered to Crimea in August after trials…  The S-400 Triumf is the newest long-range antiaircraft missile system that went into service in 2007.  It is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range missiles, and can also be used against ground objectives.  The S-400 can engage targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 30 km.  (15 July; TASS)


Despite China’s great power aspirations, its cyber warriors threw a fit after losing a legal battle to the Philippines in The Hague. Within hours of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s unanimous rebuke of China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea last week, at least 68 national and local government websites in the Philippines were knocked offline in a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack… The crippling DDoS attacks against Filipino government networks began in the afternoon of July 12, as the court in The Hague announced its sweeping ruling… (22 July; Diplomat)

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson used a visit to the port city of Qingdao on Wednesday to push back against Chinese bluster and deliver a message that the U.S. will continue to oppose China’s artificial islands and military buildup in the region…  “The U.S. Navy will continue to conduct routine and lawful operations around the world, including in the South China Sea, in order to protect the rights, freedoms and lawful uses of sea and airspace guaranteed to all,” he said…  A Chinese admiral said, “We will never stop our construction on the Nansha Islands,” where the Philippines and other nations also claim rights, Wu said, referring to the Spratly islands… “The Nansha Islands are China’s inherent territory, and our necessary construction on the islands is reasonable, justified and lawful,” he said. “Any attempt to force China to give in through flexing military muscles will only have the opposite effect.” (20 July; Military)

North Korea

The North broadcast a series of seemingly random numbers on Pyongyang Radio twice recently, an eerie reminder of the days when the North encrypted messages to its spies in South Korea. (21 July; NYT)

South Korea’s military discovered dozens of plastic bags, each carrying about 20 leaflets, near the estuary of Seoul’s Han River close to the tense Korean border last Friday, according to the South’s Defence Ministry. Seoul is only an hour’s drive from the border.  The leaflets contained threats to launch missile attacks and a repeat of the North’s long-running propaganda such as that the North won the 1950-53 Korean war, a ministry official said, requesting anonymity because of department rules.   (27 July; South China Morning Post)

Middle East

Israel’s prime minister says the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah will face an “iron fist” if it attacks Israel again.  Israel say Hezbollah’s improved missile arsenal can now strike virtually anywhere in the country but that the war re-established Israeli deterrence and provided a decade of quiet. (19 July; CJN)

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



A federal appeals court ruled that Texas’ voter identification law, one of the strictest in the country, violated the Voting Rights Act… Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who defended the voter ID law against legal challenges when he was the state’s attorney general, said the court had come to the wrong conclusion… “Voter fraud is real, and it undermines the integrity of the election process,” Mr. Abbott said in a statement. “Texas will continue to make sure there is no illegal voting at the ballot box.” (20 July; NYT)







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

[Economists are] concerned that the swelling of wealth could prove unsustainable because it’s far outstripped the growth of the economy since the recession’s end in 2009. Household net worth ballooned in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s; in the first instance pumped up by rising stock prices, in the second by expanding home values. Both cases ended badly, with the economy falling into recession after the bubbles burst… Despite this, Carson sees good reasons to expect the economic expansion to continue, perhaps for another three to four years… The problem, he said, is that “the financial cycle is way ahead of the economic cycle.” (22 July; Bloomberg)


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *