11 Critical Variables for Community Intelligence

When I was in the Schoolhouse, we trained against a Soviet-style adversary.  This was post-9/11 and Army doctrine was still preparing analysts for intelligence support to conventional force-on-force warfare: tanks, armored vehicles, mechanized infantry and self-propelled artillery.  One of the crowning achievements of earning our MOS was being able to analyze the physical terrain and brief the commander on the most likely disposition of enemy forces, to include the unit size and type, command posts, and specific equipment.  We studied the enemy doctrine, figured out what the enemy commanders liked to do (or had previously done) on the battlefield, and used that as a guideline to predict how enemy forces were arrayed.  Then we could task Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) assets to confirm the location of the enemy forces and then have them destroyed.  (The Army, as they say, is always preparing to fight the last war.)

Somewhere around seven months after graduation, I was on my first deployment in a country where there were virtually zero conventional force-on-force engagements, except at the very basic levels of fire and maneuver against groups of insurgents.  There were no T-72s or BMP-3s to find; rather, insurgents in plain clothing who blended into the populace.  Finding civilian-soldiers on the battlefield is a far cry from how we’d been trained.  And then there was the civilian populace and their tribes and ethnicities and religious sects that also required our attention; a task for which many of us were wholly unprepared.  I didn’t even know what a sub-tribe was before my first deployment, now I can recall many of them from memory.

A large part of my job now is teaching Patriots and Preppers how to conduct intelligence in their own areas of operation (AO), i.e, their communities.  They don’t have to worry about conventional force-on-force warfare and memorizing the appearance and nomenclature of military equipment ad nauseum.  Instead, what students must do is become experts on their own communities, and that’s a much easier task than anything else that could be asked of them.  Simply understand how your community works and how it will react to and be affected by any number of SHTF events.

In the book, SHTF Intelligence, I discuss the 11 critical variables that we need to consider in order to support the defense of our homes and communities.  I want to stress something that’s very important:  there are a great many members of militias and other security groups who don’t have intelligence support.  They may have an “S2”, but without real world experience or training, then that S2 is likely going to be ineffective. (Sorry to harp on this, however, last week I met an “Intelligence Officer” for a nearby militia who didn’t know what the Intelligence Cycle or battle tracking was.  No offense.)  And the same goes for the “warfighters” – if you haven’t been in the military or received ample realistic training outside it, then you will be ineffective.  Intelligence is not for the “intel weenies.”  Intelligence is for the warfighter.  Without intelligence, the warfighter is blind.  It doesn’t matter how much intelligence we in the 2 shop produce; we aren’t the ones who need it.  And that’s something that many civilians fail to consider (kudos to regular readers who already know this). Waaaaaaay too much money is spent on guns and ammo and not enough time is spent on developing threat intelligence.  Even just a couple hours can go a long way in your ability to understand threats in your AO.

If you’re planning on “going to guns” in an SHTF scenario and you don’t have intelligence support, then guess what – you either need to find some intel support, become your own intel support, or go ahead and dig yourself a ditch to die in.  If we don’t understand the threats or the enemy, then we will likely lose – that goes all the way back to the oft-quoted Sun Tzu.  I used to make a living by doing intelligence for the Federal regime.  I walked away in 2012.  Today I make a living by teaching and writing about intelligence for Patriots and Preppers.  In SHTF Intelligence I’m giving you a road map.  I’m taking out all the stops and have produced your Intelligence Manual for SHTF.  Unless you already have everything 100% figured out, get the book: SHTF Intelligence.

That said, here are 11 areas where we can get underway with developing intelligence.  I go into greater detail in the book, however, this will get you started and thinking about the intelligence information you’re going to need for your area:

– Nature and stability of the state/county/town/operating environment

– Regional and area relationships

– Local economics

– Local sociology and demographics (ethnicity, income, religion, political affiliation, etc.)

– Local Media outlets

– Physical terrain and environment

– Time & Weather conditions/limitations

– Technology employed against you

– Civil and community organizations

– Federal/state/local government’s will to achieve their objectives (the “national will”)

– Local security capabilities


I’ll be back with more free stuff next week.  In the meantime, let me know what you want to learn more about.  Also, the next book is going to be about either Balkanization, its effects, and what it might look like in America, or Counterinsurgency.  Your choice.  Both will be geared toward the Patriot and Prepper community.


  1. Sigo says:

    My vote is for Counterinsurgency

  2. unreconstructedgordo says:

    after long study of this salient point my assessment is to know your local police techniques and capabilities and past responses BUT the main threat lays with State and Federal agencies that may target you. At least you can be aware of their past actions, their capabilities and techniques to develop contermeasures. Beyond that will require stake outs and photography and building of files of the agents most likelyto be deployed against you, which is a huge leap in escalation but will be required at some point in the future,

  3. Steve says:

    My vote is for Balkanization

  4. Pam Knowles says:

    Thank you for the information. I am trying to absorb as much as possible from these articles.

  5. JackieO says:

    Thanks brother I am just getting on board. Hearing and listening.

  6. CHARLIE-24 says:

    I advocate for Balkanization (aka, devolution) for the following reason: The economists, James Dale Davidson and William Rhys-Moog, forecast the movement to use technology to create a global police state and ways to counter it, in their book, The Sovereign Individual (ca. 1997). They were fairly accurate in predicting how the Internet would enable the fascist state on the one hand, and counter it on the other hand. Their final conclusion was that the world would inevitably move towards devolution into individual nations and tribes (the polar opposite of a world government). The totalitarians will not go willingly to the dustbin of history. The faster that we can advance the movement towards devolution, the fewer lives will be lost in the impending civil wars and revolutions, because it will hasten the day that the police state collapses.

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