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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Urban Survival Planning - Intelligence 201: The Situation Map

Following on the Urban Survival Planning – Intelligence Prep of the Battlefield 101 of 14 August 2010, this post concerns with developing an operational intelligence capability for your Urban Survival Group.

Simply, if you don’t utilize intelligence information to plan operations, then you are planning in an intelligence vacuum and will greatly decrease your chances of success.

You should consider intelligence for two geographical areas: the Area of Operations (AOR) , which is the immediate area around your Survival Base that you can direct power to or directly threatens you; and the Area of Influence (AI) which the area outside your AOR that events or actions occur in and can affect you in the near future. An example of an AOR would be your street and maybe one street parallel to you in each direction, or how far you could observe and engage with small arms. The AI would be an area outside of your AOR which may include many blocks away and even miles away. Again the AI is defined as th area outside your AOR that events can occur in that may threaten or impact on your AOR.

An example of an event in your AI could be gangs or mobs looting homes, which once finished it is likely they would move in your direction. Another example would be routes into your AOR that refugees would travel once the inner city unraveled.

This goes back to Survival being a team sport. You have got to be organized, even if loosely. If you don’t get it done pre-collapse, you’ll need to do it post collapse but it will be harder. You need to have some type of connectivity with any people or groups around your AOR and AI, for information and intelligence sharing. Not only for intelligence and information sharing, but for mutual support as well. Consider, if you have enough radios, providing a trusted neighbor with a radio for contact at selected times to pass off information or to coordinate movement or support.

Your Survival Group may assign one member as the Intelligence Officer, but in any case you will need to collect, collate/sort and store information of anything of value which may include: empty houses; houses that have been looted or intentionally burned; dead bodies; water sources and conditions; sign of any activity especially threat groups; covered and/or concealed routes; concentrations of refugees; locations of possible material of value; and, anything that pertains to your safety and continued survival.

One of the best ways to collect intelligence and information is to conduct debriefs on people passing by or people who are remaining in their homes. Debriefing your patrols is vitally important. You can annotate this information on a Situation Map (SITMAP) or a series of SITMAPS, so you can keep the area situation updated.

The below imagery shows the patrol that the Survivors conducted, see post on Opn’l Planning – The Patrol Order, after they returned to Base and were debriefed. The information they collected gave them a better picture of the AOR and AI around their base. In the absence of being able to access computers and print new images or maps, you can make sketches or even use chalk on a painted or a cement wall.

I have both blown up 36 inch x 36 inch charts, laminated so I can draw on them with dry erase markers. I have both maps and imagery, and multiple copies so I can provide other individual or groups with the same map or imagery for the purposes of being on the same sheet of music when talking about or reporting locations.

I can annotate events and other information using pieces of yellow stickies or plain paper and scotch tape and post them to my map or imagery creating a SITMAP or situational picture of my AOR and AI.

It is also useful for operational planning such as deciding where to put obstacles in place, or to establish LP/OP's, etc.

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