How do I start an ACE for community security or emergency preparedness? – Forward Observer Shop

How do I start an ACE for community security or emergency preparedness?

One of the major commitments I’m going to make to you in 2019 is to answer more questions and write more articles about intelligence and SHTF security. (And there’s a brand new Intelligence video series I’m recording for the Schoolhouse next month.)

I understand a lot of Americans are preparing for some very dire scenarios, and 2019 is showing no signs of slowing down with regard to instability and downside risk.

This morning, I want to write you my answer to a question from a Fox Company member:

“What are the first steps a [mutual assistance group] should take to build their ACE?”


First, let’s define the ACE. It stands for Analysis & Control Element, and it’s our intelligence section for disaster response, emergency preparedness, community security, an SHTF event, or however you want to characterize local operations.

Second, the best way to answer this question is to look at this like a progression:

1. Identify the threat/scenario
2. Define the mission
3. Build an ACE that can support the mission

We build the mission to respond to the threat.

For instance, a general and simple mission statement might look like this:

“Provide security operations for the community to prevent looters and potentially violent criminals from disrupting disaster relief efforts.”



And then we build an ACE capable of providing intelligence to mission planners and decision-makers.

Maybe they need real-time information about criminal threats. Maybe they need to know where families are in need of rescue or evacuation. Maybe they need to know which areas are flooded or impassable.

Or maybe you just need to know what’s going on ‘out there’ so you can prevent surprise and keep your family safe.

Once we know these intelligence needs, then we can build and staff an ACE capable of delivering this intelligence.

There’s a potentially endless amount of intelligence needs. “Intelligence drives the fight,” or in this case, Intelligence drives emergency preparedness and disaster response.

That’s our role in this mission: to enable better and faster decision-making through the work of intelligence.

I hope this is at least a start to understanding the first steps required to build your ACE.

Whether you’re concerned about riots, natural disasters, or something far worse, you need a person — or more likely a group of people — responsible for local intelligence gathering to keep you and others informed of the threats and conditions that exist beyond your line of sight.

I’ll write another post in a few days with some other thoughts about ACE staffing, gear, and organization.

In the meantime, feel free to comment or email with your own questions.

From beginner to advanced, I’ll work on making sure that we’re all moving the ball forward in our knowledge of intelligence and security.


Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

P.S. – One of the most important things we can do to improve preparedness is to gain valuable skills. If you want to start developing new skills and knowledge for emergency preparedness and disaster response, you can join our online intelligence training area here. It’s called the Schoolhouse, and you can get immediate access to the SHTF Intelligence Crash Course and then peruse other videos and resources on intelligence, security, and defense.

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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