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Showing posts with label Think Like A Green Beret. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Think Like A Green Beret. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Think Like a Green Beret: The PACE Plan

Sometimes you get lucky and your plan works just as you thought it would. Enjoy those days, because there will not be many of them. No matter how smart you are or how hard you work, on the battlefield, the enemy always gets a vote. The famous philosopher Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” The Green Berets know something about taking a punch, and they have a plan for that, too.

Exercise Robin Sage is a series of very bad days. The culmination of the Special Forces Qualification Course, Robin Sage starts with intense planning, and then your ODA goes into Pineland, where a team of professional role players and evaluators crushes those sweet plans contingency by contingency until you lose your plan B, followed by that alternative you never wanted to use until you are in emergency mode. That is the point at which you realize, when you plan for the worst thing that can possibly happen, and that thing happens, the situation can only improve.

SEAL math famously teaches, “Two is one and one is none.” Green Berets aren’t happy with those odds when failure can risk a life or jeopardize the mission.

Lacking the SEAL’s poetic nature, the Green Beret forgoes rhyming and uses the acronym PACE.

PACE describes a methodology originally used to build a communication plan. For an ODA in a denied area, communication is the only way to get resupplied, and most importantly, extracted. The loss of all communications normally initiates the escape-and-evasion plan. The no-comms plan universally sucks, and almost always means abandonment of the mission and unsupported escape and evasion. Nobody wants that. The PACE acronym stands for primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency.

Primary: The routine and most effective method of communication.

Alternate: Another common method of passing a message with minimal to no other impact. May be used along with the primary under normal circumstances to assure readiness.

Contingency: This method will normally not be as convenient or efficient as the first two methods, but is capable of passing traffic when necessary.

Emergency: This is a method of last resort that probably sucks in some very significant way and may incur significant delays.

The PACE method establishes four methods of communication between your team and higher. The genius of PACE is what engineers call ‘graceful degradation.’

When your primary radio fails, it is way too soon to worry; you still have A, C, and E. You transition through the plan and hopefully get extracted before you are forced to rely on E.

An example of a PACE plan would be:

Primary: Satellite radio
Alternate: High-frequency radio
Contingency: Satellite phone
Emergency: Survival radio on guard frequency to aircraft overhead

To be valid, each method must have independent equipment and power sources. This costs a lot of weight and is typically spread across the team so the loss of one man or rucksack doesn't compromise more than one method.

Well, if PACE is good for communications, it is good for everything else, formal and informal. If I have four ways to do something, I can be pretty cavalier about a single failure. But there are many instances where we just don’t have that many options. On a parachute infiltration, we have two parachutes and the option to stay on the plane. The failure of all three of those alternatives makes the emergency option for reaching the ground look pretty grim.

For water, chow, weapons, and everything else essential, PACE is a natural way of thinking:

Primary: M4 rifle
Alternate: Grenades
Contingency: Handgun
Emergency: I use my knife to get another gun or two from the enemy

When the Green Beret has a full set of PACE alternatives in any area, he is confident. As problems arise, he works through the degraded options, always looking at ways to regain the lost alternatives and move back up the chain. Things will go wrong, equipment will get lost or broken, teams might get separated during the mission or by enemy action. PACE lets you plan for the very worst while maintaining a positive mindset.

Green Beret survival training prepares them to improvise weapons and shelter while foraging food and water. This gives them a resilience that allows them to maintain morale in conditions that would break others. They live PACE everyday. The idea that you can handle the worst possible situation makes anything better seem like luxury.

You can use PACE to plan how to get to work or what to do if your girlfriend dumps you. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Have a series of plans for that.

Having thought out the options and requirements beforehand makes the execution of a plan much less stressful.

Think like a Green Beret. Use PACE. If you don’t have that many options, be cautious and try to develop more. If you get pushed down to emergency options, push back and recover. Make a plan and work it. As Elvis, The King himself, once said, “When things go wrong, don’t go with them.”

[Source: Article from: Mark Miller, posted on the Load Out Room,]

Urban Man

Friday, August 2, 2013

Green Beret versus Doomsday Prepper

An article posted month back on the Daily Sheeple, written by Sobert Gummer, titled "Why You Should Think Like A Green Beret Instead Of A Doomsday Prepper". Visit his website often as he has some good article posted there.

This was sent to me by a reader who commented that he too believed in his Bug In plan as long as he can, and to work on developing his local suburban neighborhood into a post collapse survival team. Obviously any grouping of people will be much better off with the more work they can put into team building prior to the collapse, but sometimes this is not always viable. Not every neighborhood has a Home Owners Association which is a ready made organization, useful to communications and coordinating efforts. In lieu of an HOA, a neighborhood watch committee would be the next step and a ready made reason to walk the neighborhood and meet the dwellers. Anyway, great article by Sobert Gummer.

There is a disaster coming and you have a decision to make: Is it better to live like a rat in a hole (a bunker) or to network with your neighbors and organize your local area of operation? Sure, it’s a loaded question but it brings up an interesting point: That even the lone wolf can’t survive long by himself. We are social pack animals by nature and the stronger we make our local “pack” the better our chances of survival.

I’d rather have a local neighborhood of 400 organized, motivated individuals defending an area and watching each other’s back than to go it alone in a ten foot corrugated pipe buried in the middle of nowhere. And if we agree on this point, then it makes perfect sense to look at the Green Berets for inspiration.

The Green Berets are the U.S. Special Forces elite commandos who get dropped behind enemy lines and are tasked with organizing the local or indigenous population toward a specific goal. They are smart, motivated and trained in tactics that make them extreme force multipliers. This should be your goal as a prepper, because surviving alone is too big of a job. The days of “Liver Eatin’” Johnson, where a mountain man could live in the back country for years at a time, wasn’t even a high survivability endeavor back in the 1800′s. The odds that one man or even a small family can, “face it alone” are very slim. Sure, you might get lucky and pull it off, but personally I prefer to play the odds. And if we look at history, the odds on survival as part of a community are much greater than going it alone– which is why communities formed in the first place.

In a disaster scenario where there is No Rule Of Law (sidenote: See NutNFancy’s excellent Youtube video on WROL: Without Rule Of Law) there will be a power vacuum. People will be scared and afraid and this is where we as preppers need to be ready to step up and provide leadership. People will only huddle in their homes for so long and if an organizational structure isn’t set up quickly to utilize your neighborhood’s strengths and resources, then you may lose them forever.

First Things First

One of the first things that a Green Beret unit will do when deployed to an area is to set up an operational base in friendly territory that serves as both an operational and administrative focal point. The operational base is used for:

■Planning and Direction of Operations
■Communications Support
■Intelligence Support
■Logistical Support
■Briefing and Staging
■Liason and Coordination

Can you imagine setting up an operational base similar to what the Green Berets use by organizing your neighbors– perhaps at a local elementary school– and how it could be an asset in helping your community get through a Without Rule Of Law scenario?

Let’s compare two scenarios contrasting how modeling the Green Berets would work out much better for you and your family than modeling the typical character as portrayed on the Doomsday Preppers TV show:

A Tale Of Two Preppers

Timmy The Tool: Timmy has modeled his prepper plans in a similar manner to what he’s seen on the TV shows, including a buried corrugated pipe bunker that he’s stocked with two years worth of food for himself, his wife and his two kids, Timmy Jr. (9) and Susie (4).

Timmy lives in a non-descript suburban neighborhood in Bacon, Georgia. He doesn’t socialize or interact with any of his neighbors and the one’s who have made an effort to get to know him report that he is somewhat anti-social and odd.

When the balloon goes up, Timmy packs his wife and kids into his Chevy Suburban and gets on the road toward their buried bunker in the middle of nowhere. The trip is uneventful and Timmy hides his Suburban under a camouflage net and then ushers his family into the bunker.

Everything seems to be going swell the first night. But after seven days of living underground in a 10 foot by 40 foot bunker the kids won’t stop fighting and Timmy’s wife Helen is starting to show signs of emotional strain from being cooped up for so long without outside social interaction.

By Week 2 the radio stops working and Timmy can’t find where he put the backup radio. He’s now got a short temper and blames his wife, who’s close to the end of her fuse and can’t stop crying. Timmy’s daughter, on the other hand, has stopped communicating and their son spends most of his time escaping into books and has developed a strange cough. His wife is now begging Timmy to let them return to their home in the ‘burbs. But Timmy knows they must stay in the bunker in order to survive. It’s the only way at this point.

Two more weeks into the Crunch and Timmy’s wife has had enough. The boy is virulently sick and the antibiotics that Timmy had stored don’t seem to be helping. Their daughter has stopped eating and Timmy’s wife finally gives him an ultimatum: She’s taking the kids and returning to their home in the suburbs with or without him. Timmy weighs his options and decides that he can’t let her and the kids venture back to their house unprotected so he grudgingly packs their Chevy Suburban for the drive home. Or what’s left of their home. Looters have destroyed their neighborhood and most of the houses have burned to the ground because nobody organized the neighborhood into a defensive force that could have prevented the looting. Unfortunately, Timmy and his family will never make it home to see the wreckage because the highways are either closed or have been converted into ambush “kill zones” by marauding gangs before the military can restore order.


Ralph The Realist has adopted a different approach based on what he learned in the military as a Green Beret. Instead of withdrawing from his community he has taken proactive steps to deal with a “No Rule Of Law” scenario. Ralph is good friends with both the president of the neighborhood HOA and the principal of the nearby elementary school. Along with his wife and a couple of other friends of a similar mindset they have formed a prepper group and had begun taking action before the Crunch. Including storing ten 55-gallon drums of rice, wheat, beans and pasta in an unused storage shed at the local elementary school.

When news of rioting and societal breakdown begins to reach maximum velocity, Ralph and his group each begin to reach out to other friends and neighbors who – to no one’s surprise – are now very concerned about the current state of affairs, too. Many are open to taking action but nobody has a plan… except for Ralph and his group.

After the power grid goes down, Ralph’s prepper buddy, the president of the HOA, calls a neighborhood meeting and they discover that many of their neighbors have excellent skills that will help them survive the Crunch: One is a trauma nurse. Another is a welder. The guy down the street is a doctor and an avid hunter and there are several retired cops who live one block over.

Ralph asks for volunteers to form a neighborhood watch and almost everybody volunteers. They makes plans to barricade access to the neighborhood using old cars and RVs and set up a defensive perimeter. With roughly 150 families in their neighborhood there are more than enough adults with firearms experience to stand watch in shifts.

When Ralph’s son develops a strange cough, his wife takes her rifle and walks to the doctor’s house, a block over. She does not have to worry about leaving her house unattended since the “neighborhood watch on steriods” (hat tip: Rawles) is keeping the riff-raff out. The doctor correctly diagnoses her son’s cough and prescribes the right antibiotic. She then leaves her daughter to play with the doctor’s daughter for a few hours. The little one is coping with the Crunch as if it was a free day home from school: Fun!

After a week, Ralph’s son is feeling much better. His wife is happy and she has formed a gardening club with some of the other women on her block.

Three weeks later, Ralph receives word that things are still pretty crazy outside of their neighborhood. They’ve had a couple of gun fights when looters tried to gain access to their neighborhood but nobody was hurt. Word quickly spreads among the undesirables to leave Ralph’s neighborhood alone.

Everyone is coping reasonably well when a expedition group from another neighborhood proposes a trade of fish antibiotics (which can be used by humans) for some extra ammunition. The doctor advises Ralph that it would be a good trade, and since Ralph’s neighbor has a reloading press in his garage, they’re in no fear of running low on ammunition.

After another month, the military is finally able to get things under control and rule of law is restored.

A tale of two preppers: One a complete failure for adopting an ill-thought Lone Wolf strategy and the other successful after organizing his local neighborhood to withstand the perils of a Without Rule Of Law scenario.

About the Author: Sobert Gummer is the author of Sobert Gummer’s Survival Prepping For Hard Times web site. He has lived and traveled to some of the most dangerous cities in the world and has recently returned from living in South America where he fought off a home invasion with nothing more than a machete, married an Indian woman and had his head held over a fire by a Costa Rican witch doctor. He’s now back in the United States and prepping earnestly for an uncertain future while praying for the best. His latest book, Dogs For Preppers is now available at for your Kindle or Kindle app.