One of my favorite things about Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield/Community (IPB/IPC) is learning more about where I live. Many people point out that now is the time to collect information, when information is so freely available. We don’t yet know what Net Neutrality will do to the internet (although we have some good ideas), we don’t know that the sources of information we take for granted will be allowed to continue in their current forms, and we don’t know how a collapse-style event, even just a regional one, will affect the rest of us and our ability to collect relevant and timely intelligence information.
We as Intelligence Analysts are called to be subject matter experts. In short, we should want Information Dominance. In all my classes, I teach that information is a conflict currency. In conflict, the more we know, the wealthier and better off we are. We don’t want to live in poverty; while most Americans are dependent on the state-sponsored socialist message (information welfare) about on-going conflict (post-SHTF), we want to be the information capitalists. That includes the accumulation of as much intelligence information as possible right now. Don’t be on information welfare when the SHTF events/conditions arrive.
Later this month, or possibly as late as early April, I’ll start teaching the first iteration of Intelligence Preparation of the Community, where I’ll be building an IPC product from start to finish. You’ll be able to follow along and learn how to create a professional Intelligence product for the needs of the Patriot-Prepper. It’s an online course, and while I don’t have the exact details of when and how often we’ll be meeting in our live webinars (at least once a week), do expect those details to be published soon. (I have to get the FO Spring 2015 issue off to the printers, and then IPC is my next big project. I also need to start the FO Podcast up again. I’ll explain what’s been going on behind the scenes in the next podcast.)
We’re going to limit the number of students enrolled in the live IPC course, however, the recorded events will be available on-demand for all enrolled in Forward Observer University. I don’t want price to be an issue for preparedness, so I’m going to pull back the curtain so that everyone knows an important part of IPC.
At any rate, one of the things that I teach in IPC is the ASCOPE factors of Intelligence, which is what we’re exploring today. ASCOPE is an acronym that describes Areas, Structures, Capabilities, Organizations, People, and Events. I’ll provide a brief breakdown of each category below.
Areas: We use this category to identify boundaries of political, ideological, sociological, economic, religious, and ethnic lines within our Area of Operations (AO) and Area of Interest (AI). The ability to know or estimate the levels of preparedness among our neighbors will allow us to expect how many potential threats live in our immediate vicinity. If the lights go out, how many cold, tired, and hungry families will be scouting for sources of food, water, and medicine? Their scout locations probably include where you live. Identify the areas where these potential threats are going to originate. If you have government or low-income housing in your area, go ahead and estimate how many individuals live there. Look at the crime rates, and use that as a basis to build a realistic expectation of how much worse crime could get when/if they deplete their basic daily needs.
Structures: Identifying critical infrastructure is important because these places are the most likely to receive protection during an SHTF scenario. We define critical infrastructure as any structure that provides or enables the necessities of daily life. Buildings or facilities that provide food, water, power, and security immediately come to mind. Beyond power plants/sub-stations (and power lines) and water treatment facilities, we have military and police facilities as well. We can use the volume of critical infrastructure in our AOs to determine the likelihood and volume of military/police security in our communities during a SHTF event.
Capabilities: We should all be identifying threats and building out a threat assessment for each. Threat assessments are methodical processes we use to identify capabilities and then judge the level of threat they present now or will present in the future. But without getting into the weeds of capabilities, we can’t build a very good threat assessment. These capability studies begin with Order of Battle and a Table of Organization & Equipment, but they don’t end there.
Organizations: In the average community, there are numerous organizations. We have civic and religious organizations, but we may also have criminal and gang organizations. As Intelligence Analysts, we’d like to be able to see the future, so knowing how individuals are organized, and knowing how information is disseminated, is going to allow us to get a much better idea of how individuals will react to any given scenario. What’s the likelihood that solidly conservative and/or religious communities will form ad hoc organizations to defend homes and churches? And conversely, what’s the likelihood that criminals will form ad hoc organizations to increase their survivability? I’d imagine that the likelihoods are high, however, we can’t say for sure unless we know how individuals in our communities are already organized.
People: One of the greatest tools we can have is knowing the movers and shakers in a community. At this point of the process, we’ve identified Areas and Organizations. Now we identify the influencers and leaders of these areas and organizations. From a time and resource perspective (not to mention feasibility), it’s impossible for me to go to 1,000 people individually and inform and influence them. But if I can identify one person who can immediately inform and influence those 1,000 people, then I can use him as a force multiplier. We inform and influence him, and he influences his followers. We can use this to our advantage to promote building security and resiliency in our communities. We can also use this to our advantage to deter potential threats from targeting us.
Events: This has slightly less impact on us than it does the Intelligence Community at large. Going back to the previous step, if we have a group of people or other organization in our community, and I want to encourage them to cooperate for our security, then I want to identify some events when they’ll be gathering. It may be church on Sunday, or it may be a specific religious/cultural/ethnic holiday. It may be a Friday night game of poker or Saturday afternoon at a hair salon; but these formal and informal events present an opportunity for our inform and influence operations because they potentially give us a platform to spread our message. So what, when and where are these events in your AO?
I teach Intelligence for a living. I’m extremely blessed to be able to do what I love, and meet and train great Americans all across the country. For those that don’t know, a few years ago I decided to leave the US Intelligence Community and dedicate my work towards the ends of Liberty and Preparedness, because our culture, traditions, and Liberty itself are under attack from multiple angles. I make the information on this blog freely available in hopes that it’s put to good use. Over the past few years, there are probably several books’ worth on this site alone.
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