Identifying problems during an SHTF scenario

When it comes to preparedness, it’s easy to get caught up the rat race of caliber selection and food storage. “Beans, bullets, and band-aids” is what sustains an army, as the saying goes.

No one argues that these things are unimportant. But if that’s your first and only focus, then you’re putting the cart before the horse. Here’s why:

Considering what’s about to happen over the next ten plus years, I think the odds are stacked against most Americans.

Economists and investors are warning not only about a recession in 12-24 months and potential for another financial crisis, but they’re also concerned that the Federal Reserve has limited options to boost economic growth once a recession sets in.

If these economists and investors are right, that leaves open the distinct possibility that the next recession will last a lot longer than the average 11 months.

So we could see more than 11 months of economic contraction, which makes a financial crisis all the more likely.

That crisis could be in the national debt (a $22 trillion problem, and growing), corporate debt (an $8 trillion problem), in consumer debt (a $4 trillion problem), in pensions (a $6 trillion problem), in housing or in a number of other areas.

The truth about U.S. economic growth is that it’s largely debt-driven, the holes we’re digging are deep, and it’s going to have serious consequences.

Add the current toxic political and social environment, and it’s no surprise that most people gravitate towards guns and food in what could be another very ugly period in American history.

But it’s also vitally important that we understand the local effects of these national crises.

It’s vitally important that we study our local vulnerabilities and fault lines, along with current and potential threats in our own communities.

This type of information goes into an Area Study, which informs us of the range of potential conditions and outcomes during the coming crisis.

More than anything, the Area Study is our guide to understanding what factors will affect us, negatively or positively.

If you don’t have an Area Study, chances are good that you won’t be able to anticipate future conditions and events. That means you’re a lot less prepared than you think, because situational awareness is a critical factor in your safety and security.

And that’s really the value and utility of intelligence: you can reduce uncertainty about what happens in the future and identify the range of potential outcomes. Once you know that, you can identify your actual operational requirements for each scenario and be better prepared.

This quote that’s often mis-attributed to Albert Einstein sums up my point:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

The truth is that no amount of beans, bullets, and band-aids will reduce your uncertainty about what happens in the future.

Only intelligence can do that.

Only intelligence can give you a more accurate expectation of what could happen in the future. And the thing is, this stuff isn’t really all that complex. The average “prepper” can do this.

If you agree that understanding the future is important, then I invite you to sign up for a four-part Area Study & Assessment email series which goes into some detail about how to build your Area Study.

Its only cost is the time I spent writing it and the time you spend reading it — plus the time you spend doing it.

It’s well worth your time. You can sign up below.

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper



Samuel Culper 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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