An introduction to Fox Company and “disaster intelligence” – Forward Observer Shop

An introduction to Fox Company and “disaster intelligence”

In my past two posts, I’ve talked a bit about Fox Company. There were several questions, so let me explain from the beginning and recap those previous two posts.

Fox Company is our team of disaster intelligence volunteers, and since last week we’ve provided intelligence support to Cajun Navy Relief search and rescue teams. Cajun Navy Relief is a non-profit organization made up of incredible volunteers who risk their lives to save Americans in need. They’ve rescued families out of flood waters, they’ve rescued families off the roofs of homes, they’ve rescued elderly patients from flooded nursing homes (and facilities at-risk of flooding), they’ve delivered food, water, and supplies to those in need. These heroes have done amazing work.

Fox Company volunteers have been assisting their work by answering ad hoc requests for information (well over a hundred), taking and vetting rescue requests, and assisting with operations planning. With finished intelligence, the leadership is better informed and can make better decisions about future operations (e.g., what areas have the greatest need).

Last I checked, the boat teams we support have rescued over 500 people from flood waters in North Carolina. It’s probably well over that by now. It’s been a busy, busy week.


Why intelligence is crucial…

We provide a pretty unique service, free of charge, to non-profit organizations like Cajun Navy Relief and another we supported for the past week, Humanitarian Aid Security.

The value of intelligence support teams is that decision-makers in fast-paced operating environments don’t have time to do their own research. A search and rescue team can’t pull over and spend 15 minutes trying to answer one of their intelligence gaps. They need that answer while they’re on the move.

These decision-makers need a constant flow of intelligence on what’s happening in the area of operations right now and what can be expected in the future.

Anyone can do a Google search or check a website, but these teams almost always lack the training and knowledge required to run open source, geospatial, human and signals intelligence gathering operations.

Only an intelligence support team can provide that level of information, and that’s what we’re here for. We can provide reach-back capabilities to monitor breaking news and official directives, at-risk critical infrastructure (dams, electrical power, etc.), road conditions (flooded, blocked, etc.), current and future weather patterns, area threats (looters, crime, etc.), and other atmospherics in their areas of operation.

When we deploy, we’re able to provide much more in-depth intelligence and early warning by combining real-time reach-back capabilities along with local intelligence gathering and operations integration. Better intelligence leads to a clearer understanding of the area of operations, which leads to faster and better decisions, which leads to more decisive outcomes.

I hope you have a better idea about what we do and the services and training we can provide. We already have a team of able volunteers who’ve put in long hours in support of this mission. And we’ve gotten kudos directly from these two non-profit organizations. (Here’s one: “Hey [Fox Company] — I’ve been working with your guy, Justin. He’s awesome.

Here’s what Justin had to say about this experience:

“Doing this type of volunteer work helps you to understand the intelligence cycle and see how it can help an organization. We can see the results of our work. They have mission-critical information that we know came from us, and you can tell they definitely are grateful for it. This is really great training.” – Justin, Louisiana

It’s been a great mission and an incredible opportunity to learn more about the needs of disaster response. It’s certainly given us new perspectives on emergency preparedness, and better prepared us for the next mission. We’ve been invited back to work with Cajun Navy Relief, and although we’re not excited about the next disaster, we know there will be a ‘next time’.

You can sign up to our Fox Company newsletter (below) for additional information about volunteer and training opportunities.


Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper


P.S. This isn’t a donation drive, but both of those non-profit organizations continue to serve the needs of American communities. If you’re going to donate to Hurricane Florence relief efforts, there are no organizations more deserving, in my opinion. You can donate at Cajun Navy Relief and/or Humanitarian Aid Security.




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.

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