“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
~ George S. Patton
Maintaining physical security of a community is important – but it is also important to note that many of the assumptions we make about the relative “danger” or “safety” of our communities can be flawed, anecdotal, and based on prejudice. One of the reasons for choosing a rural community is to avoid “squares on the murder map” – places in the USA (counties) where murders occur. You could argue that “rural” means lower population, therefore lower incidences of gun-play or violence. The truth of this issue is irrelevant to the following: know your area.
Know where you are living and who you live around. Get to know your neighbors – inside and outside the community. Having healthy, trusting, lines of communication with the wider-community (outside of your resilient ways community) can be the difference between over/under-reaction and appropriate responses, actions, based on evidence.
Before selecting an area for a community – consider impacts of rural problems, patterns of drug abuse, and make an effort to meet with the local sheriff and determine what he/she believes is the most significant threat/concern for that community.
Before continuing, let us be clear: this section of the document is NOT A REPLACEMENT for more formal training in military science, operations, self-defense, security, small arms training, or other related physical-security subject subject. It is the expectation that each community will develop and research the methods they will use to provide minimal amounts of security.
Membership in the Militia
Membership in any community watch or security program should be voluntary. It is expected that all members would/will contribute as much as they can to the security of their property and community. We believe that a community is much more resilient if all members participate in minimal security operations – like patrolling the border of the community, intelligence/information gathering from the local environs, and amateur journalism on the part of our community and the wider community to provide an information picture, a state of the community. Any member can participate in that sense – to be aware of the surroundings and to make a best judgment as to the importance/relevance to others.
There should not be physical/age limitations on membership UNLESS there is reason to believe the voluntary membership would create risk for the teams. This seems like an unlikely scenario, so it is mentioned as a consideration and NOT, principally, as an immediate or likely concern.
The main requirement of membership in any militia is a willingness to conduct personal and team training. Training is the only thing you do, in the part-time militia, other than patrolling and providing physical security for the community.
Teams, Platoons and Groups, and “Task Organization”
There is no “one way” to organize forces for military combat, or, more importantly, for a community based self-defense militia. The choice of organization does impact, directly, the way you can use your militia – but even here, there is a great deal of creativity and many “good answers” and very few if any perfect answers.
The Resilient Ways Foundation does not know, cannot know, the specifics to your situation – only you can know this. Only you know the local sheriff, only you know if your militia can also train as a search-and-rescue team working with the local sheriff’s department. Only you can know what major activities, power generation, nuclear, agricultural and chemical, are going in your area – rural areas don’t tend to have heavy industrial activities, but there are places that do.
It will be a function of “your needs” that will determine what kind of security force (if any) you decide to employ. As anarchists, that fully support the zero-aggression-principle, we expect that many communities will “do the minimum” when it comes to defense. Since this is a choice, based upon particulars to a region, there is no way to prescribe “the best answer”. As stated above – in carpentry, as warfare, there are many more or less “good answers” and the rest is taste, style.
Of all the assumptions we should make, here are some good ones:
- For defense only: these forces are only intended to provide the community with shared security and POSSIBLY as augmentees to a county-wide search-and-rescue team.
- Light infantry: given that these forces are only for defense, the make-up, training scenarios, and “attitude” should be that of light-infantry, lightly-mobilized (motor cycles available to those willing to train as motor-cycle dragoons), and “ranger” type units. Although members of the defense forces might have disabilities, no one should obligate themselves to a role that they cannot fulfill. This is a militia, which means voluntary, but it is also a military force (or search-and-rescue force) in circumstances when people’s lives are at risk. As such, every voluntary militia should be honest about capability, strengths, weaknesses, so that they can play an optimal role.
- Weapons are those that can be purchased without involving the law: the law, the government, should be avoided. What this implies to a specific community is between that community, its hired lawyer
One theoretical community could use a task organization based on “three” – 3 people to a team, 3 teams to a squad, 3 squads to a platoon, 3 platoons to a company, 3 companies to a battalion, 3 battalions to a regiment/brigade, 3 regiment/brigades to a division, 3 divisions to a corps, 3 corps to an army, you get the point …
This may seem simplistic, but it’s not that far from reality. Ask a typical, real world, infantry platoon leader “what’s your current TASKO and STRENGTH?”, and the numbers will be closer to what I’ve listed than the “official” full strength.
An army of 3’s has other advantages as well …
This kind of triangular force is, by design, capable of very flexible team-based tactics.
This kind of force has perceived features of “operational weakness” that can be used to fool an enemy into attack.
In this model – the team leader, squad leader, etc, is simply another member of a team. That “team” could be called the HQ Team, but it is a 3 person team. From the highest ranking, to the lowest ranking, all are members of a team, and know how to fight, tactically, at that level – in addition to knowing operations/strategy applicable to their overall level of command.
This kind of structure has about 3-5 times fewer numbers than government sponsored conventional military forces, relative to the unit size, above the platoon company level – it reflects realistic staffing and management models for defensive warfare. As stated elsewhere: this is not a TASKO for an offensive military unit capable of engaging in heavy kinetic warfare, but rather a light infantry force designed for security and emergency re-location in case of attack by a superior military force, and has the capability of covering lines-of-march for egress.
Unit Size (3^n where [n] represents unit-level):
(the “army” size number is very close to the TASKO size of a United States Army military division)
In a volunteer militia, the leadership of every team, squad, platoon, etc, must be determined given the following constraints, tensions: a) this is a militia in an anarchist community and is not likely amenable to formal titles and b) for a military to function, like a sports team, you have to have some organization and leadership.
Everyone that wants to be a leader – team, squad, platoon, otherwise – can participate in leadership training, and the 360 degree (all leaders and team mates) evaluation of performance during training. For leadership of the platoon, those with the highest evaluation would be a good choice – assuming they want the job. Another way would be random selection.
We would contend the following: no one should lead if they truly don’t want to, wanting to lead does not make you qualified to be a small unit or large unit military commander, but the desire is, in many ways, a prerequisite. So, definitely take leaders from the “voluntary pool”, but then you need to use best judgment, mentoring and training, as a way to cover the risks. You simply cannot design out human incompetence, but you can seek after excellence and “train as you fight”.
The Somali people have a long history of being fiercely individualistic. Yet they also have extremely effective militia organisations which have been very difficult to defeat. It is their tradition that the elders of the community choose a war leader. The war leader then makes assignments amongst the people, appoints team-leaders, consults with them on strategies and tactics, and keeps going until removed, killed, or victorious. A war leader may be removed for significant defeats or Pyrrhic victory. A war leader who seeks to keep power after the war commits the death-penalty crime of treason (crossing the “Rubicon”, so to speak).
All training should be based upon small unit conventional warfare – or what would be referred to as the light-infantry platoon, squad and team. Though the TASKO varies with the “units of 3” approach – it doesn’t vary that much at the level it counts the most, team, squad, platoon. One of the assumptions based into this model is that every person is first and foremost a member of a 3 person team, and secondarily in charge of higher order units. Therefore, every leader, team member, militia, needs to understand how to issue an operations order, how to conduct mission planning, 1/3-2/3’s rule, how to understand the team’s surroundings, or intelligence-preparation-of-the-battlefield, and other skills as well.
Tactical and operational training will consist of 3 basic kinds:
- Soldiering: these are skills that would be considered “common tasks” in most military organizations worldwide. Things like: marksmanship with primary weapons, first aid for combat, NBC (nuclear, chemical, biological warfare), basic to advanced wilderness survival, minimum physical fitness requirements for various roles. Land navigation. Communications procedures, challenge and password/passphrase. U.S. Army Common Tasks Manual describes in fairly good detail most of these.
- Leadership: 5 paragraph, or other, operations order. Intelligence preparation of the battlefield, terrain analysis, planning and estimating support needs, organizing communications plans. How to train, and organize training for your team, squad, platoon, or higher order unit. How to organize force on force simulated training. The standard tactics to patrolling. Understanding physical security, as it applies to buildings, roads, and best practice for gated/deliberate communities.
- Specialist: any training beyond the scope of either basic-advanced soldiering OR leadership/command. This would be training that might be specific to a mission. This could be specialized medical training, as part of a search-and-rescue operation. Specialists, within the community, identify their specialty (or specialties) as part of the militia onboarding process. They have a duty, in the militia, to train one “second” or replacement (if the specialty is critical, like combat medical care and trauma/shock medical treatment skills)
Training should happen at each level of command. For most smaller resilient communities, it is unlikely they could field, from volunteers, much more than a platoon – and its primary role would be the physical security of the community itself.
TRAIN AS YOU FIGHT! – In the case of these Resilient Ways Community Militia this means:
- Train for the most likely scenarios – patrolling, physical security inspection and surveillance, understanding your surroundings, search-and-rescue operations, pursuing criminals and liaison with local sheriff departments when dealing with suspected property theft, damage, taking down witness testimony and recording the crime scene. Fire safety analysis – identify threats. Some basic criminal and investigation training, for the whole militia, would be useful – given the normal list of threats.
- Train at every level, efficiently, given the time available – this is not “the day job” for anyone in the militia, so make wise decisions about what skills are deficient, which are not, and always conduct tactical training, re-training.
- Go to the RANGE! Practice with primary, secondary, weapons. In some communities, a gun range might be possible – but if not, find a place where you can take your militia for target practice and, ideally, tactical target practice.
- Train on rules of engagement – the ROE for your community will be established BY your community. These are the critical rules. These are the rules that help to prevent accidental injury or death.
- Support moral and competent leadership, reject the idea that “everyone can be a leader” – everyone can be trained to lead, but the desire to lead must be there. Use your own culture, community idiosyncrasies, to figure this one out.
- Treat the “bugging out” plan as a living document, based on changing circumstances, and train at the community level, twice a year (minimum), to execute a “bug out in 5 minutes” plan. Not that “5 minutes” is presumed, but to train for this event. One potential threat to stationary forces is to be “boxed in” – the “bugging out” plan is crucial to avoid being boxed-in, especially if this is being done by a superior military force with government backing. Train this plan, critique this plan, wargame this plan – and then do it all over again. This is the only strategic level plan that can be trained and must be trained for. All other scenarios have more variables.
Patrolling, Scheduling, and Rules of Engagement
Because you are a volunteer militia, as part of an an anarchist community, your duties under most circumstances are fairly obvious – patrol public spaces, per a schedule, and do NOT practice stalking or ambush tactics within the community. In essence, within the community your patrols should be: obvious, friendly, non-militant, and respectful of their own privacy and their neighbors’ privacy as well. Per our ethos, treat others as you would want to be treated – you’re not cops.
Scheduling patrols is not a one size fits all issue – in this case it is about how large your community is in land size, how large your community is in terms of numbers of people. For very small communities, it is unlikely they could do more than one 3 person or team patrol, per night (6 to 8 hours), inside the community – and one or more outside the community patrols a month to keep tabs on what is going on, the local situation. Outside the community, this can be as simple as driving the roads, talking to neighbors, and grabbing a beer at the local saloon. In general – remember that physical security and membership in the militia are not the “day job”, and if you’ve done the selection of property phase correctly, then you are not likely in a high-crime area.
Rules of Engagement
Rules of engagement, especially when it comes to potential use of force around families, must be simple, comprehensive, and TRAINED ALL THE TIME. These rules of engagement can deal with topics like “what angle is your rifle held at during patrol when not engaging with an enemy”, the way you question a child versus an adult, and knowing, by picture/name, who belongs in the community. One of the obligations of the militia is to be able to identify, from memory, who is a member of the community and who is not. While it won’t be obligatory for people to submit photos, it is expected that the militia will get proficient at identifying non-residents. Whatever rules of engagement your community adopts, be very sensitive to resolving incidents involving non-residents: if they are on the community property, with no one’s permission? – then you should follow the standard protocol your local sheriff would expect of other property owners with trespassers.
Even in states that support the “stand your ground” legislation, and even though you should post signs saying “residents armed”, with respect to security it is always easier to escalate than de-escalate. This means that the “Rules of Engagement” that your community adopts should be based on “reasonable force” and not “legitimate force”. Another way of saying it is this: your Rules of Engagement should support the minimal amount of useful force required to resolve the situation. Most people, including drunks, if found in the “wrong place”, can be cajoled to the “right place” without tasers … Minimal useful force is always the best policy. If a .357 revolver is the “minimal useful force” for some scenario, then use that. But don’t immediately pull the magnum because someone is drunk and naked at 2 AM.
A huge component of your community’s safety will depend upon your rational assessment of risks. Not all risks are the same. Not all risks are likely. Humans often obsess over risks that are huge in impact, but not likely to occur. Being able to protect your community is in part due to your ability to accurately assess the real risks being faced by your community – in terms of physical security, information security, wildlife and ecosystem health, and the temper of the human community surrounding you.
Intelligence-preparation-of-the-battlefield or IPB is process by which data about the current situation – geography, neighbors, local law enforcement, etc – are ordered to allow for wargaming scenarios and planning external patrols. IPB is not a necessary component of inside-the-fence community patrolling – but it is an essential part of protecting the community as a whole.
IPB is a critical part of leadership training – being able to assess situational-risks, faced by the community, do course-of-action analysis and wargaming based on these risks, and to implement a process to keep this up-to-date, openly, on the internal community blog/site, or using map-overlays and one or more rooms (locked) set aside for planning, voluntarily.
Supplying weapons and equipment for your militia can be tricky. One way to get “larger items” – like trucks, helicopters, armored-cars – would be to participate as part of your local search and rescue teams, in coordination with the constitutional sheriff. But, in reality, this is not going to get you much more than training on that equipment, and not likely possession. This means being creative about equipment, supplies.
One way to cover most of the supplies is to make “kitting” the responsibility of each militia member. You would still want to recommend standard kits, and potentially for food purchases (rations) that might be bought cheaper in larger amounts. Standard kits and some basic uniform that is functional for the community and the region.
There are really 3 uniforms for this kind of militia:
- Inside the community: normal civilians, arm-band, appropriate weapon of choice.
- Outside the community: normal civilians, no arm-band or identifying dress, concealed weapon carry. Whether or not the teams carry compact person-to-person radios or ear pieces is a question of money, resources. Really? – these “outside the community” patrols are really about getting to know neighbors, locals, getting a sense of “what’s going on”, and NOT about intimidation.
- Tactical: some standard camo appropriate to the time of year, plus recognizable arm band. This would be the uniform warn when staging a fighting-retreat (not preferable) scenario, where skirmishers during a “bugging out” scenario have to stage a moving defense-in-retreat.
The uniform issue can be over-complicated – and this should be avoided. A huge portion of this issue is about training people to use layering and to train to move in and out of different layers of clothing, as needed. Part of the uniform issue is really about camouflage/concealment. Some uniforms are more likely to blend with the surroundings than others. The “right camo” is determined by terrain, circumstance, time of day, season, weather.
Government Aggression and “Bugging out”
As is oft-repeated, in varying forms, by our founders – there is no “stand and die” order, there are families in these communities and if they are threatened by a superior, encompassing, and potentially government force with contemporary weapons and likely air support? – yes, the plan is to effectively escape the zone of combat, protecting the families, the elderly, the sick and infirmed, from harm. The “bug out” plan is similar to an “alert plan” for U.S. forces stationed in S. Korea. The “alert plans” are for N. Korean attack scenarios – so the “alerts” are held, randomly, once a month (or were 20 years ago). You never knew if the alert were real or not until an hour or so in (after getting ammo). Bottom line: the “bug out” scenario needs to be trained with a sense of urgency, and done in realistic training scenarios at least twice a year.
Here is a scenario involving envelopment of the community by a superior military force with likely air support:
- A member of the outer community, but local to your resilient ways community, accuses one or more of your members of some FEDERAL crime. The crime itself might not matter, what happens next does matter.
- A federal official shows up, demands to inspect some region of the property. The lawyer for the community is contacted, and no comment is made to the law enforcement, public, or press.
- Indications are that law enforcement is piling up outside your community. Based upon your most recent IPB (intelligence-preparation-of-the-battlefield) your local sheriff, for political reasons, is more sympathetic to the government side. At this point, you need to make a decision – do you trigger the bug-out plan or not?
If you have a friendly sheriff, and you live in a currently sympathetic community (communities can and do change – this is why intelligence gathering is an ongoing process), then your most likely course of action is to wait, do nothing to incur closer action by the police, let your community’s lawyer earn his or her paycheck.
If you do need to execute a general evacuation and retreat plan, for all the community, through whatever avenues of egress are available – to scatter to the winds? – then you will want to make this decision EARLY in the escalation process. If you have freedom of movement, and it’s mainly harassment, then there is no great concern – let the lawyer work.
If you are losing “freedom of movement” – which means your ability to scatter is being decreased – then you need to make a decision, and fast. An evacuation might be seen as probable cause by law enforcement. An evacuation can be, would be, in the worst case scenario an abandonment of wealth – of resources earned from hard work.
One of the preparations or actions required of an “scatter” maneuver, is that some portion of individual wealth is kept someplace “safe”. Almost by definition, we cannot (or, rather, should not) list all the “safe places” we stash our gold for safety. Where and even how we stash excess wealth for emergencies is not something that should be openly discussed in a text like this – but this should be a knowledge/competency area for the members of the community. An essential part of any “bug out” or “scatter” plan is to have economic resources that are accessible following the evacuation.
Resilient Rules of Defense and “Bugging Out”
- If you desire peace, seek solutions that avoid conflict. Always remember: open and free speech are the best bulwark against individual or collective acts of violence. War solves nothing. War is an excuse for the worst of us to behave worse than normal. Above all things: seek peace, find points of negotiation and mutual respect, and never let a perceived sense of injustice turn you into a bully.
- You are not going to defeat the combined tactical forces of the United States, or similar world power – nor is it likely that they will target you for attack. We do, however, live in a world where anarchists are labeled as “violent” and “terrorist”. In this world, a small community could easily be labeled “extremist” and then find itself surrounded by law enforcement equipped at levels found in the regular military. It’s also possible that conventional military forces could be used against communities that foster human liberty. In such a case, you do NOT want to “stand and fight”. You want to collect your go-bag, your family, and get out of that area as quickly and stealthily as is possible.
- Don’t become too dependent upon technology for communication. Learn to set up methods of runners, to use semaphores, and other techniques for low-tech communication and security.
- Offensive or aggressive warfare against an enemy is almost always a bad idea. The best case is one of “moral superiority” – whereby some party is committing some horrible act, and the only punishment for that act is to wage group/gang warfare. Setting aside how we determine “guilt” or “innocence” – how do we set ourselves up as government in this circumstance? As part of an anarchist ethos, we have to be willing to choose non-intervention in many circumstances.
- In the darkness, when all hope is lost, your spirit can move in one of two directions: a) downward toward collapse or b) upward towards hope. The battle is lost at the moment your faith in yourself is destroyed – armies die in moments of despair. But, if you cannot muster HOPE, then use HATE instead – hate goes a long way if you have no hope.
- Temporary defeat feeds your enemies’ ego and makes him/her fat. Let your enemy have his victory in one battle … If you are patient, you can still win the war. Remember: if the enemy believes you are dead, then you have the opportunity to plan his demise (the plan is not written in stone, but the plan is everything). Visions of success without proof are the mirage – your enemies will follow this until they die of thirst!
- Steal from the enemy – and what you don’t need, or can’t hide for future use, destroy on site! If you are “bugging out” from a government attack, know how to use their resources against them, and how to use them to support your escape.
- Preparation is an absolute necessity! If anger is your fuel, then let caution be your clock – anger can easily force premature battle. Battles that are fought too soon are in the hands of fate.
- Focus on your own strengths – only in movies do heroes have a chance to transform themselves from weaklings into steel, real life is not like this. Determine what it is you do well and hone that as your chief weapon – pick up other weapons as you can.
- Pick your standards, your flags, your colors and your symbols wisely and with 2 purposes in mind: a) to motivate your own militia and b) to drive fear into your enemies (if you have any). The greatest contrast between symbol and action confuses your enemy – nothing is more frightening or annoying than the sound of babies crying.
- If time and space allow it and practicality allow it, never use the same weapon twice – never fight the same battle twice. If each battle is different, the enemy has nothing to model against, nothing to pattern.
- Leave nothing for your enemy to grab hold of – move your headquarters, your team, vary your patrols daily.
- Immobility is your enemy also – and so is sloth. However, every rule has an exception and between battles your forces must rebuild – do so with caution! You cannot fight without sleep for long, or food, or drink.
- Not all weapons are designed to kill – nor should they be. If there is an option to stop/defeat an enemy without violence, then you MUST seek that path! If there is an option to attack and defeat your enemy with little or (preferably) no damage to the civilian population, then you should seek this path. Finally, all things being equal: “over kill”, or the use of more weapons/ordnance than is necessary to accomplish a mission, it not simply stupid from a resource standpoint, but also stupid from a propaganda standpoint. You defile yourself when you do more damage to this world than is justifiable – you carry that sin with you.
- Do not fight on a schedule, timing is everything and your enemy will keep track. If it is possible, make the temporal distance between each battle random and long enough to lull your enemy into complacency.
- A leader in warfare must have 3 characters living inside of him or her: a) The Magician, b) The Actor and c) The Gambler. The magician uses cunning and illusion (lies) to confuse and mystify the enemy. The gambler wagers on each decision with logic and intuition – never making reckless bets or avoiding the big pay-off. Finally, the actor is stalwart, brave, consistent, steadfast, strong and non-existent – let your troops believe you are more than a man even though you are not. Rational men feel fear – men of war must pretend they don’t and seem that way to their comrades and their enemies.
- Hubris and overconfidence work against you. Never forget that every victory you achieve DOES NOT guarantee the next. Success in the past implies nothing in the future – the belief that you are infallible will destroy you.
- Propaganda is expensive, but sometimes pays off. If the image you present to the world frightens those you fight against and engenders those you ally with, then you are doing well. But propaganda is also dangerous – a failed program can turn on you and demoralize your forces. Never get caught in a lie! And, the best lies are composed mostly of truth.
- Test your enemy’s weakness, but remember, the test can also act like a signal! There is always a trade-off between probing for points of failure in your enemy’s defense and possibly telegraphing your next move. Be careful, cautious, but also be willing to accept some risk — the pay-off can be large if you are crafty in your pursuit.
- Whether you face one foe or a multitude, you must remember that it is your enemy’s brain — and his organized brains — that drive the battlefield. ERGO: destroy the brain of your enemy (both small and large scale hive brain) and its ability to communicate recursively, then you will eventually destroy all of your enemy. Command, Control, Communication, Computers — the super system of thinking that your enemy will attempt to leverage and take away from YOU! Deny your enemy his or her own ability to think. Follow the discipline of the Boyd Cycle and OODA (observe-orient-decide-act)! Peace out!
- Your intentions drive you. You fight for a reason, a cause, and this can be used against you. There may be some for whom war is the cause or reason or purpose of their lives – these psychopaths believe that war is an end in itself. However, for the rational man war is an abomination and something to be avoided. The rational man (or woman) abhors war, but does not run from self-defense or cower in the face of Tyranny. Bottom line: hide your intentions from your enemy. Hide the reason you fight – if you don’t, he/she/it can use this knowledge against you.
- Discover your enemy’s intentions and basic motivations for War (Why are they at war?) – It is a corollary of “your intentions drive you”. This will give you great power!
- If you cannot figure out what drives your enemy, then remember this simple heuristic – everyone needs money. Sure, this statement is not ALWAYS true, but it is MOSTLY true.
- Patience is everything. Use the Fibonacci method, or some other contrivance, to force yourself out of your daily patterns. If information can be encrypted, then so also behaviors.
- Momentum, once achieved, invigorates yourself and your allies. However, momentum from the perspective of your enemies is a crashing wave. More so – a relentless series of crashing waves. Never lose momentum!
- Be “like” the sniper – because it’s good to be smart and great to be lazy.
- If you don’t realize this, war is stupid – and is sometimes forced upon you. Always seek peace in the face of war, and know that sometimes you have to fight.
- Be Invisible. If you are no one, invisible to those around you – this is poverty in life, but wealth in war. To begin a conflict as the underdog and doomed by status and prejudice is NO handicap. Let your enemy assume your weakness – this makes you stronger.
- Wars are seldom fought between men/women of pure intentions – with heroism, bravery and villainy. Wars are most often fought by humans – who are far less than perfect. Understand your own weakness and learn your enemies – try to forgive all.
- Don’t be afraid to learn from the best. Study military history. Study guerrilla armies. Study successful criminals. Learn from other people’s mistakes, and reuse their good ideas. “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
- Maneuvering around an enemy’s broken paradigm is the EQUIVALENT of tactical/strategic surprise. Understand your enemy’s “model of the universe” and discover the weaknesses therein, the flaws in their “truth”.