SHTF security training, where to start??

So, where do you start when it comes to training yourself and your group for providing your own security? Start with the 5 W’s and an H (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?) and determine your needs. Now these “needs” should be realistic. I wouldn’t start with “fast roping out of a helicopter in the dark” as a starting point. Maybe something more like, “protect our property in the dark”. Start asking questions like what kind of security do we need to provide? What kind of structure/ area are we trying to secure? Who/ what are we trying to defend ourselves/ area/ livestock/ etc. from? What manpower will we have available? What equipment do we have available? How do we best implement that manpower and equipment? The military calls this a “Mission Essential Task List” and we will kind of follow their example.

Once you have started asking these questions and opening the debate, you can then start to determine some common tasks that might be shared among the various aspects of your security planning. Things like “stand watch from the gate” or “provide a security overwatch for a working party” or “respond to strangers at the front gate” would all be examples of common tasks.

Tasks

Now, your list of common tasks kind of answers the “What do we need to do?” question, but it really doesn’t answer the “How are we going to do it?” question. For this reason, we need to break down our common tasks even farther into what are called individual tasks. Individual tasks are the tasks that an individual needs to perform to complete a job.

So start with one common task, I’ll use “stand watch from the gate”as an example. Now list all the individual tasks a person needs to be able to do to perform that common task. Start right after the person gets out of bed and gets dressed. I’ll take a stab at it real quick:

  1. Brush teeth and perform basic hygiene in the field
  2. Inspect load bearing equipment and perform a pre-combat check
  3. Ensure rifle is in good working order and optics/sights are on correct settings and working properly
  4. Ensure magazines are loaded and clean
  5. Put on gear and head to command post
  6. Leave command post with guard commander and head to gate
  7. Conduct “challenge and pass” with current sentry
  8. Review notes and observations from last guard and take charge of post
  9. Scan sectors using optics available (could be binoculars, spotting scopes, night vision devices, etc.)
  10. Know how to send the alarm in case of attack, etc.
  11. Know how to use a radio to communicate to command post
  12. Know how to use hand signals/ visual signals to communicate to command post
  13. Know how to conduct challenge and pass when being relieved
  14. Be able to engage threats with weapon

So that is a short list I came up with in about a minute. I’m sure we could add to that, and it could also be modified to fit your particular needs. So that is 14 individual tasks needed to be able to complete the common task of “stand watch from the gate”. So what happens when we start this process over with another common task, say “provide a security overwatch for a working party”? Let’s start at the same place as last time, our guy has just gotten out of bed and put on his clothes.

  1. Brush teeth and perform basic hygiene in the field
  2. Inspect load bearing equipment and perform a pre-combat check
  3. Ensure rifle is in good working order and optics/sights are on correct settings and working properly
  4. Ensure magazines are loaded and clean
  5. Put on gear and head to command post
  6. Review current situation with guard commander and working party commander. Determine best route out and back for group
  7. Leave command post with working party and head to work location
  8. Determine the best position to provide overwatch from
  9. Scan sectors using optics available (could be binoculars, spotting scopes, night vision devices, etc.)
  10. Know how to send the alarm in case of attack, etc.
  11. Know how to use a radio to communicate to command post
  12. Know how to use hand signals/ visual signals to communicate to command post and other members
  13. Be able to engage threats with weapon

So, if you were paying attention, you might have noticed that this list is nearly the same as our list for “stand watch from the gate”. There are a few differences, because after all it is a different common task, but a lot of the individual tasks are the same.

Using this technique, we can eventually come up with a master list of all the individual tasks we need to know to provide good, effective security. These are the things you need to be practicing! This is your “training to-do list”. Going off this list, you can also start determining other needs, such as equipment needs. You might suddenly realize that your .338 Lapua sniper rifle is suddenly not as useful as you thought. Or that your break down survival .22 isn’t quite what you need either. Or maybe that tricked out AR isn’t that conducive to your operating environment.

—Now, I suppose some people who read this might think that my idea of “security” is too militaristic. Too far fetched. Maybe it is for them. Maybe they live on the 20th floor of a high rise. Remember, you have to do this for yourselves and determine what your needs are. I’ve done my due diligence, so you do yours. As far as the terminology I use, feel free to change it to suit your needs. Make it sound more civilian friendly if you want. Just remember, as friendly or nice as the they might want the job to sound, doesn’t mean you let up on the quality of security you provide. You still want to look like a hard target to anyone looking. —

So now that we have our list of individual tasks, we need to get good at them. Really good. So let’s call this list our “Basic Individual Task List”. Now, we can take each of our individual tasks, and break those down even farther if needed. We can break these down into individual skills. So for example, an item on our new Basic Individual Task List is “Know how to use a radio to communicate to command post”. We can break this task into the skills:

  1. Know how to install batteries into radio
  2. Know how to install antenna on radio
  3. Know how to turn on radio
  4. Know how to adjust volume and squelch of radio
  5. Know how to check what frequency the radio is on
  6. Know how to change frequency
  7. Know how to talk effectively over a radio

Now we are getting somewhere. Now, when we have time to conduct training, we can grab this “Basic Individual Task List” and start going over it. Rather than sitting around BS’ing, we can have a structured plan to our training.

And if we wanted to take it a step farther, we can (and should) apply standards to each of these individual tasks. You have to set a goal for each person in your training, otherwise your training isn’t really training, it is just an orientation.  A good starting standard is after a skill has been taught, then later have the student demonstrate that they know how to do it. If you are teaching “how to install batteries into radio”, then every student should be able to explain and show “how to install batteries into radio”.

I will include a segment of one I have written below (I have also included sources for the information for each skill in parenthesis, to assist in self-studying):

Demonstrate ability and understanding of weapon system -Zeroing of iron sights (USMC Rifle Marksmanship Ch. 9) -Zeroing and functions of optics (Optic manual) -Explain capabilities and limitations of weapon and accessories (USMC Rifle Marksmanship pg. 13) -Explain capabilities of ammunition (USMC Rifle Marksmanship pg. 17&18) -Compensating for wind (USMC Rifle Marksmanship pg. 79) (Optic Manual)

Demonstrate ability to safely handle weapons -Determine weapons condition (USMC Rifle Marksmanship pg. 24) -Loading and unloading (USMC Rifle Marksmanship ch. 3)                     -Storing (Unit SOP)                                                 -Cleaning (USMC Rifle Marksmanship pg. 18-23)  -Demonstrate proper carrying of weapons (USMC Rifle Marksmanship pg. 31) -MAINTAIN SAFE MUZZLE AWARENESS

Safely manipulate weapons under stress

-Speed reload (Magpul “Art of the Tactical Carbine”, “TRP Vol.1” pg. 128) -Tactical reload (Magpul “Art of the Tactical Carbine”, “TRP Vol.1” pg. 128) -Failure drills (Magpul “Art of the Tactical Carbine”, “TRP Vol.1” pg. 128)

Shoot accurately under stress

-At CQB distances (TRP Vol.1, chapter 5) -At max range of weapon system (TRP Vol.1, chapter 5)                      -Under low light conditions

TRP Vol. 1 refers to “The Reluctant Partisan, Vol. 1: The Guerrilla” by John Mosby. It may seem a bit expensive at first, but I can assure you it is a great resource to have, especially if your group does not have any combat veterans in it. The Magpul DVD’s are always a good place to look for good firearms knowledge as well. And “USMC Rifle marksmanship” is a PDF file available for free online. And just because I am feeling nice, I’ll include my own list to help get you started. It should work as a good general guideline. Basic Essential Task List

 

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SHTF security training, where to start??

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