Special Operations Imperatives for Preparedness, Part Two – Forward Observer Shop

Special Operations Imperatives for Preparedness, Part Two

Last week, we posted Special Operations Imperatives for Preparedness numbers 1-6.  Here’s the link to catch up.

7. Anticipate and Control Psychological Effects

Any operation conducted, by any organization within the UW battle space, will have significant psychological impacts. Whether combat operations or civic actions, these can be conducted specifically to produce desired psychological effects, or simply result in the effects. A tactical victory over regime forces may be completely overshadowed by the negative psychological impact of blowing up a school bus of children in the process. The tactical victory of assassinating a key local security forces leadership personality can be destroyed if you murder his wife and kid in the process. The recognition of the fact that perception is more important than reality is absolutely critical to the resistance force. Leaders and planners must make certain that operations and operational objectives are understood by all parties impacted by the operation. Loss of control of the perceptions of the civilian populace will allow the regime to control those perceptions, and that will quickly destroy the gains of even the best-planned and executed you missions. We’ve spent twenty years in the preparedness movement and the militia movement, allowing the media to control the civilian population’s perceptions of what the militia is. Instead of continuing to let the media portray (sometimes accurately, unfortunately), the preparedness culture as a bunch of fat-ass rednecks with GEDs, we need to be making a more concerted effort to not only portray ourselves as contributing members of society, in a positive light, but an active PSYOP/IO campaign to get that message out to the general population.

8. Apply Capabilities Indirectly

Doctrinally, the primary role of Special Forces in UW is to advise, train, and aid resistance forces. The resistance leadership must assume primary authority and responsibility for the success or failure of this combined effort. This indirect control of the resistance reinforces the legitimacy and credibility of the resistance movement, rather than allowing them to be seen as “puppets” of the “Great Satan.”

For the resistance itself, it is imperative that local defense groups be allowed the autonomy to provide for their own defense, as much as possible. Well-trained, organized, and disciplined resistance cadre should serve more as an advisory element, leading the training of local defense groups. These cadres should not view themselves as special-purpose assault forces, intending to conduct direct-action missions against regime targets in outside operational areas, unless absolutely necessary, and even then, only in direct support of locally-conducted main effort operations. Let people fight their own fights. Instead of trying to use your group or militia unit to provide all the security for an entire county or state, look at them as force multipliers. Don’t settle for “good enough to get the job done, if the threat we face isn’t too dangerous” training standards. Set your standards high enough that, when necessary, you can TEACH the skills to others, who can form their own community defense groups, with your people as leaders and advisers. Don’t just watch YouTube videos, or just take a class. Take the information you’ve learned, sit down and write a class on it, then teach it to someone. Teaching skills serves multiple purposes. Number one, it helps you learn how to teach. Do you know how to teach adults with different learning styles? Do some research into adult education theory and science. Number two, it forces you to gain a more in-depth understanding of the subject matter. As a young Ranger, I had a pretty solid grasp on the fundamentals of individual and small-unit combat skills. As a junior NCO in the Regiment, I learned more, as I was responsible for teaching my subordinates. As a Special Forces NCO, whose job was to teach people these skills, who had never even seen them displayed, I gained a far greater understanding. Teach and you will learn.
9. Develop Multiple Options

Resistance leaders and planners must remain aware, throughout the planning and execution, of the possibility of adverse contingencies and follow-on missions as a direct result of intelligence information gleaned from their mission. Maintain operational and tactical flexibility by visualizing and developing a broad range of options and conceptual plans. Partisans should take advantage of the broad range of non-military expertise inherent within their organizations to think outside of the box, allowing them to shift from one option to another, before or during mission execution. Whether you are planing a security patrol, a relief or rescue convoy, a food-gathering expedition, or a bug-out plan, always consider and develop a PACE plan. Primary, Alternate, Contingencies, and Emergency versions of the plan will provide you multiple options if things go haywire with your plan.
10. Ensure Long-Term Sustainment

Leaders and planners must make every effort to avoid training their forces in tactics, techniques, and procedures that the unit(s) are incapable of sustaining. Whether due to a lack of material resources, human terrain factor limitations, or physical incapacity to execute, TTPs must be able to be modified to negate the threat that is actually faced, with the assets actually available, rather than focusing on strict doctrinal answers that demand inflexible application of resources unavailable to the resistance elements. Training must focus on TTPs and equipment that are durable, consistent, and sustainable by the resistance movement elements, within their operational environment.

I get asked questions about this a lot, in regards to both ammunition expenditure and medical care protocols. The medical care protocols of TC3 are all about keeping the casualty alive until you can get him to extended/advanced care. Having a doctor, nurse, or veterinarian in your network is pretty essential to long-term sustainment, now isn’t it? Keeping your people alive and contributing members of the network is pretty essential to long-term sustainment, now isn’t it? So, if you think TC3 is irrelevant to long-term sustainment, because “we’re not going to have medicine and doctors,” then you’re an idiot and are going to die of something like Clostridium difficile, because you don’t know what the you’re doing and have overdosed yourself on your stockpiled veterinary antibiotics.

If you’re worried about “wasting ammunition” and die because you didn’t provide adequate suppressive fire to keep the enemy more worried about NOT getting shot than he was in shooting you, then you’re not really looking at the long-term very well, now are you? If you fail to fire enough to protect your Ranger buddy, and he dies, you’ve not really considered long-term sustainment, since now you have to provide for his family too.

11. Provide Sufficient Intelligence

Solid intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) is the foundation of all UW success. Successful operations require detailed intelligence information on all aspects of the operational environment, from terrain considerations to the internal and external dynamics of the key players in the battle space. These incorporate overt, clandestine, and covert collection efforts, and the collation and analysis of available information resources for operational planning. These range from the collection of information on enemy activities, capabilities, and thinking, to terrain analysis information, to the use of CARVER format target analysis and selection. Effective guerrilla and underground operations demand accurate, timely, and accessible intelligence. Resistance personnel must develop expert intelligence activity skills for collection, analysis, and dissemination for mission applications. The use of sound target analysis, utilizing the CARVER matrix, provides options to operational planners, ensures that operations can meet the objectives, and reduces undue risk in operations. Intelligence activities may assess areas of interest to the resistance movement, ranging from political and security force personalities to the military capabilities of friendly and enemy forces, to the effects of terrain within the operational area on the planning process. Leaders and planners must establish sensible priorities of effort when identifying intelligence requirements, while protecting their own information through adequate OPSEC training and discipline. Effective OPSEC requires a disciplined, alert organization that can accurately assess the threat of penetration by enemy agents, educate the resistance at the personal and organizational level of the threat, and take timely effort to detect, penetrate, and neutralize the enemy’s penetration efforts. While it is imperative the UW actors recognize the threat implicit to force protection, it is equally important to recognize that not all, or even most, threats will come from the identified enemy. The non-military threats posed by civil sector players, ranging from criminal activities and unaligned civil unrest, to hazardous materials spillage and disease epidemics must be addressed as part of the counter-intelligence and force protection effort. Force protection of your family and group isn’t just about looking out for Cannibalistic San Franciscans or Belgian Smurfs. It’s just as important that you develop intelligence on likely non-military threats to their safety and security. It’s just not as “cool.”

12. Balance Security and Synchronization

Resistance cell members in one location may be uniquely situated to provide a significant positive impact on operations conducted by other cells. While UW operations are often compartmentalized for security concerns, too often that compartmentalization can exclude key personnel that may have significant important information to impart that will impact the planning process. It is absolutely imperative that resistance leaders find a way to mitigate the balance. Inadequate security procedures may compromise a mission, but excessive security paranoia, leading to inadequate face-to-face time with other key leaders will result in mission failure due to a lack of synchronization of efforts.

If you’re avoiding gatherings like the Oathkeepers NW Patriots and Preppers Rally in North Idaho, because it’s not “OPSEC” enough for you, you’re screwing yourself in the end. Your next door neighbor that’s a cool dude, but you’re not comfortable discussing preparedness with him in detail due to OPSEC? He might just be more prepared and better trained than you are. Be judicious in how you approach the topic in conversation with new people, but find that balance point in your life, so you can make new like-minded contacts.

I hear from readers all the time who are leery of attending classes and getting involved in their local politics for “security reasons.” Ending up in a grid-down police state because you were too chicken to figure out the balance point is not conducive to survival. It creates more opportunities for you to end up dead.

John Mosby is a former U.S. Army Special Operations soldier. He lives somewhere in the mountains.

1 Comment

  1. This is excellent. These two articles, hopefully, are effective at bridging the monumentous gap between those that have been in the military, found the USEFULNESS of military doctrine…or imperative; and Mosby has translated it here for the average person interested in preparedness. Does that make sense? Put it this way, there are more than half a dozen or so folks that I can give this information to and they’ll get it.

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