April 2017 Notes

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April FTX will commence at 1200 on the 22nd and run thru 1600 on the 23rd at Training Area North.  Subjects to review include  SALUTE Reports, some common knots,  and terrain map reading.  In winter time, terrain features are less concealed.  This is spring time and the surrounding terrain changes in appearance as the foliage and brush returns to full growth.  Using a terrain map will show where certain features are when they might otherwise go undiscovered.




The third part in a series at ITS Tactical, 4 Steps to Collect, Analyze and Make Intelligence Work for You, briefly covers these points:



Identify Your Environment

Explore Your Environment and its Effects

Understand the Threat Environment

Anticipate the Threats



Most of this can be found in more detail in  FM 34-130.  Solid advice when looking at your AO.


Always good to know  that the National Counterterrorism  Center has slightly modified their view of “Home Grown Violent Extremists”.  NCTC  Bulletin can be found here at Public Intelligence.



(U//FOUO) A Homegrown Violent Extremist (HVE) is a violent extremist of any citizenship who has lived and/or operated primarily in the United States or its territories, and who is acting independently of the direction of a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). Because HVEs are acting to further the goals of an FTO, they are considered foreign intelligence threats under the authorities of both the Intelligence Community and domestic public safety entities.



Worth reading the 36 pages maybe.






Also this past month, Max has been running his Combat Leader Course.  Max is currently running this week-long class only once a year, but after reading this Class AAR, that may change to twice a year, maybe more.  The main thrust of the Combat Leader Course is:  


“This is an infantry combat leader class designed to teach you leadership, decision making, and the planning and the execution of combat missions at the team and squad level. There are in fact no training prerequisites for those coming from alternative tactical training backgrounds.  There is also the option to attend as a rifleman with no command responsibility.”


Max has offered quite a selection of training courses for a number of year now and this may become another premier class to attend for those developing leadership roles in their units.  Your are developing leadership positions in your units aren’t you?





Finally, NC PATCON 11 will commence on 31MAY and run thru 5JUN.  Should be another  good program this time around, and as always the local Bar-B-Que is top-notch.












March 2017 Notes

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March FTX will begin at 1200 on the 25th at Training Area North and run thru the 26th at 1500. Subjects to cover are radio communications as a function of small unit tactics and movement, Recon Patrol, and of course more Map and Compass work with Land-Nav.  Bring your side-arm as our Aerographer is trying to conjure up some fair weather for the weekend.



Radio propagation has been pretty good on 40 and 80m this past month.  A good amount of traffic on the Coastal Carolina Emergency Net.  Have yet to check in to Tar Heel Emergency Net.  Both ideal for working NVIS on 75m. 




Band conditions are found on many places, but this one is quick and updates every five minutes.  Plus, it’s got a link to some web-based SDR sites, which is good when you’re away from your radio.





Last month,  the RSA security conference was held in San Francisco, CA.  One item of interest is the Yubi Key, a USB device made for two-factor authentication as an extra security measure on your log-in accounts. It contains your security key in either RSA-4096 or ECC p384 and has both FIPS 140 and FIDO  certifications.  Not bad for $40.



And speaking of extra security measures, Wikileaks released documentation, called Vault 7,  of a very extensive set of software tools used to breach  the smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers that everyone uses everyday.  There are real software companies that develop these little programs and sell them, and not just to the CIA and NSA.  Just another example of the massive collusion between the device manufacturers and these government and non-government organizations to collect every scrap of information that they can get to in the name of making the country safer. 







And even though the encryption of applications like Signal remains intact, some of these tools will access your information before it gets processed thru Signal.  How often does your device perform app and system updates, yet nothing looks or acts differently?  What really is in those updates?  Especially the ones that require you to reboot.  You should really be paranoid enough by now to be compartmentalizing your communications and data and taking measures to know what’s going on with your second favorite little friend.




Going to be a busy summer.  NC PATCON 11 is just three months away.  Long term,  in the worst case scenario, we have less than four years to prepare for a really wild time if the Progressives come back into power.  They are already organized in many ways to keep making the country unsettled and ungovernable.  It’s a very good time to inventory your “bullets, beans and bandages” and get on top of that training program that you know you’ve got to do.














February 2017 Notes


February FTF will commence at 1400 on the 26th in our park location. Items to discuss will mostly detail how to carry out the training schedule for the spring/summer. Bring your notebooks.


Sun Tsu was an early strategist on warfare and put his ideas into print around 500 BC. His book guides both strategists and practitioners of warfare even today.




1500 years later, events in feudal Japan lead to the rise of the Samurai. During a civil war, the Minamoto and Taira samurai clans rose to prominence. They fought one another in the Heiji Rebellion (1160). After their victory, the Taira established the first samurai-led government. The defeated Minamoto were banished from the capital at Kyoto.





Another 500 years later, The Book of Five Rings, a text on kenjutsu and the martial arts in general, was written by the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi  (1645).





Two thousand years sounds like a long time for the distillation of what seems such a simple concept, doesn’t it?






Locally, the mind-set of Sun Tsu and Musashi are put into real-life practice in our Robin Sage FTX, already on the calendar. Details of the big “Who, Why, How, When, and Where” describes the extent of the exercise in the SFODA learning curve. Last year’s preview:



“The exercise’s notional country of Pineland encompasses Alamance, Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Davidson, Guilford, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly and Union counties. Throughout the exercise, Special Forces candidates and Robin Sage role-players not only conduct training missions such as controlled assaults and key-leader engagements, but also live, eat and sleep in these civilian areas.”





And a year has passed since last spring, when the DHS and FBI released an intelligence assessment on the Baseline Comparison of US and Foreign Anarchist Extremist Movements.





“(U//FOUO) The vast majority of US anarchist extremist attacks targeted property likely due to the location’s accessibility and as a symbol of capitalism and globalization. Most foreign anarchist extremist attacks targeted persons likely because of the cohesiveness of the movement and greater emphasis on issues that can be blamed on local, individual targets. US anarchist extremists targeted the banking/finance sector most often, as these perceived soft targets of capitalism are possible to attack with tactics that are non-lethal yet cause significant economic damage and pose significant public safety risks. Foreign anarchist extremists most often targeted government entities, likely due to the emphasis placed on local domestic issues by foreign anarchist extremists and their capabilities to commit attacks against hardened targets.”



How many attacks by extremist have taken place, domestically and over seas since then, and have they followed the same pattern? The real question being, “Is there an identifiable rise in domestic violence and acts of terrorism?  And is there a common source of funding and organizational support for those groups involved?”




Maybe the most telling graph –






Our scenario planning model that we’ve used for the past several years needs a little updating in light of events since November 2016.  As much as the SPLC makes its money exploiting information  of dubious value concerning Militias and White Supremacists groups (they equate the prevalence of both to the same factors), there is so far no equivalent place to discover all the various groups (largely funded by the same organizations) that are trying to emerge as major players in the general effort to cause disruptions for the edification of the Main Stream Media.  Here are but a few, but you might get the feeling they aren’t lacking for motivation and convictions, much like any other terrorist group.  And a few others that might be a source of training to counter those groups.   Keep in mind that there are still elements in the government that are enabling these groups despite having the responsibility to protect the public from these groups.







“You may think that, boisterous as these demonstrators are, and although they can draw a few thousand youngsters to their events, they are but a tiny fraction of the population and could never pose a serious threat to any government. But how wrong you would be.”





Paul Sperry wrote earlier this week in the New York Post how former president Obama is actively sabotaging President Trump.


“He’s doing it through a network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing for Action. Normally you’d expect an organization set up to support a politician and his agenda to close up shop after that candidate leaves office, but not Obama’s OFA. Rather, it’s gearing up for battle, with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country.

Since Donald Trump’s election, this little-known but well-funded protesting arm has beefed up staff and ramped up recruitment of young liberal activists, declaring on its website, “We’re not backing down.” Determined to salvage Obama’s legacy, it’s drawing battle lines on immigration, ObamaCare, race relations and climate change.”




“We’re Agency, an anarchist media relations project since 2013. During Occupy anarchist ideas also enjoyed greater coverage, but we noticed that most stories focused on the same few anarchist voices over and over. As anarchism is garnering more and more interest now, we want to broaden the voices and ideas that show up in the news.”




Learn how to execute Red Team Operations properly by converging Penetration Testing, Social Engineering and Physical Security tactics.



What you will learn –

Full-cycle Red Teaming from Operational Planning to Reporting phase
How to converge technical, personnel and physical vulnerabilities
Covert and overt methods of entry into a target location
Social engineering tactics, from telephone to face-to-face (see our book)
Evasion, lock picking and other bypass techniques
Physical security scouting and reconnaissance
Penetration testing for Red Team Operations



What you will do –

Full-training Exercises (FTX)
Plan, execute and report on a full-training Red Team Operation
Conduct target reconnaissance both offline and online
Clone RFID badges, steal/impress keys, pick locks or bypass security controls
Exploit system vulnerabilities on the target’s network
Use several social engineering tactics to gather information from targets
Make overt and covert entry into a target location and establish APT persistence





From the old REDTEAMS Website:


“Most people are starting to realize that there are only two different types of companies in the world: those that have been breached and know it and those that have been breached and don’t know it.”



Rule 1: Always have an escape plan
Rule 2: Never get caught.
Rule 3: Be aware of your surroundings.
Rule 4: Always have a backup plan.
Rule 5: Assumption is the mother of all fuckups.
Rule 6: Trust your gut.
Rule 7: Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility.
Rule 8: KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.
Rule 9: The solution is in the problem.
Rule 10: Don’t become predictable.
Rule 11: Never take the elevator.
Rule 12: Act, don’t react.





View story at Medium.com

The more you hack in peace, the less you bleed in war

“Hacking takes time. Developing the tool chain takes time, recon takes time, sometimes systems get hardened and the optimal time to hack them was in the past, and so on and so on. The best time to collect intelligence about an adversary is before you need it.”



The road ahead promises to be full of challenges for the next few years.




January Supplemental

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Winter Field Day today.  Actually this whole weekend.  Put on by SPARS  in Ohio.  This is technically a field day type contest and some people might sweat the details in their electronic logs about how many contacts they can make in different modes on different bands into different counties, states and countries with different power levels using different antennas.  Some may do this more than once if they are using different radio rigs for different bands.  But basically, if you can drag your portable stuff out into the garage or onto the back porch and set up some quick and dirty antenna in the back yard to go with it, you are getting the flavor of emergency communications.  Any contact you can maintain for a minute or two, no matter where it is or how scratchy it might sound still counts in the end.






The reason we have field days, at different times of the year, is usually to set up and practice communications under emergency type conditions.  Wouldn’t be much of a test if you’re in a well-lit ham shack, surrounded by $30,000 of top of the line equipment feeding several computers and a couple humongous antennas up on 100 foot towers.  The challenge is to get as close to nothing equipment wise and still collect information (by listening) and get your message out as best you can.  This means probably using your mobile rig on low power running directly off some old car battery that might die in the next 15 minutes.  This means using an antenna slapped together from junk salvaged from the trash heap.  For added points, try doing it in the dark, and cold, while it’s snowing/raining with the wind howling, while wearing a leg splint and an arm sling, and an eye patch.  And your neighbor’s daughter is having her baby a little  early due to the storm.  And the looters are just starting to come up the street.   Just to make it fun.  There, now you have your hands full.  That’s why you do this.







Thing is, most ham radio operators, under normal, sunny-day conditions, are more interested in making contact with one of those tiny pacific islands, or McMurdo Station, or Tierra Del Fuego, or just about anywhere besides someone local within a 100 mile radius, that might be available, or that might know someone else  that is available, to help with your difficult situation during the current emergency.  Always nice to chat with the fine folks down at McMurdo Station (or even the International Space Station), but they ain’t coming by to help you get your emergency generator running any time soon.  But now, old Jim Bob, that hayseed  over in the next county that sold you his black rifle cause it’s just too finicky for him to keep around the farm, just might.  Remember, he’s got an antenna on every truck he owns and on a couple of his tractors.  How often do you make radio contact with him?


So now that you’re trying to figure this all out, here are some useful resources to look at to gauge what the communications conditions are.  Might save you from wasting 20 minutes on a frequency that is totally useless this time of day.  Just remember, this works a lot like fish finders.  Sure, the fish are out there.  Just  doesn’t mean they’ll bite.


First stop, check CONUS HF BAND CONX.  Breaks down the HF band conditions and updates every couple minutes.  A rough indication where people might be listening on their radios.




Next, you should look at the F-2 layer propagation map because you will be using an NVIS antenna and that signal you’re shooting straight up needs to make it right back down.





And just maybe, you’ve worked on developing your skills at digital modes, for just such an emergency where you have low power, high noise and bad band conditions coupled with crappy makeshift gear while wearing gloves and an eye pad. 




Some place to help you with that is another “Old Guy”,  W1HKJ.  Has just enough info to get you started and going crazy with digital.  The best is the Sights & Sounds of Digital Modes“, where you can hear sample transmissions, and read about the up and down sides of those various modes.  So start your homework now while the sun is out and the power is still on.  There’s no guarantees how long that will last.



January 2017 Notes


January FTX will commence at 1000 hrs on the 28th and end 1500 hrs on the 29th.  This covers most of the operating window for Winter Field Day.



This should be a good opportunity to test out our new antennas and radio gear.  And we already have an established ARES group in the county.



This falls in to the category of being technically and tactically proficient.  Story at ITS Tactical here.





More topics in the category of proficiency we need to work on this year than will be listed here right now.


Some bit of kit that would help keep our tactical electronics gear running  is the small solar panels made by Core Third.  A 10W solar panel coupled with a 10,000 mAh power bank would go a long way to maintaining some essential electronics charged up and running.  Might have to do something about the Ferrari Red accents on the solar panel frame, though, just to subdue the visuals while deployed.





Another excellent piece of gear, that Santa forgot to bring me this year, is the Load Bearing Chest Vest made by our good buddies at London Bridge Trading.  As with nearly anything from LBT, it’s a little expensive at $450.  Lifetime warranty might mean something to you optimists.   All pouches have both hook and loop closures and fastex buckles, so you could tape over the velcro when you needed to and still be GTG.  There are many good chest rigs for half the price, like the Special Operations Rig from Max just up the road.





Nor did Santa bring me the Rabbit Gun from Hell that we’d all love to have.






Also, something you can wear for those little shopping trips to town when a chest rig might not be appropriate is the new anti-surveillance clothing in the Face-Recognition pattern from Hyphen Labs.  This pattern was shown at the C3 conference in Hamburg.  Facial recognition software is running in many places these days, including that little smartphone you carry everywhere, and has evolved into a fairly mature product.  Thing is, it’s still pretty specialized to do just one job, and this type of fabric pattern should really give those surveillance cameras something to happily work on.





In the early 1960’s we were “involved” with a counterinsurgency effort in South Vietnam.  (Yes, that’s a crass over-simplification)  Some of this was directed towards improving village agricultural conditions in the Central Highlands,  while at the same time trying to collect information on VC and NVA infiltration into the mountainous border areas.  Heading up this program was the CIA and the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV).  To accomplish this, around 70 men from Fort Bragg’s 5th Special Forces Group set up operations in Saigon and later moved out into the country.  A lot of very specific information on how this progressed to setting up the MACV Recondo School located at Nha Trang in this Civilian Irregular Defense Group report.  Very good reading, and maybe only of interest to us “old guys with bad feet”, yet leads to the question “Could this be the basis for organizing a similar operation here these days?”  Read it here.







And while you’re reading, waiting for all this snow and ice to melt away (projected to be 67 degrees Thursday),  the Intelligence Community Assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections can be found in pdf form over on the sidebar.  It’s sad actually, because these kind of reports used to mean something, even in their unclassified and redacted forms.  This one is little more than a wild mix of whining and sour grapes.  Lacks the time stamps, and the IP addresses, and the trace routes, and the sample scripts that one might expect from all the hoopla pushed by the MSM pointing the finger at President Putin himself for directing hacking efforts to derail the presidential election process this past year.  Even with all the leaked information that has come out, not a bit of it has been implied to be incorrect as to names, places, times and dollar amounts.  Creates a lot of doubt as to the caliber of the current staff of bureaucrats sitting behind the Workstations (now A-Space).










Finally, a short article on 4GW, that details how plenty of 4GW operations are already underway, and we’re just on the receiving end.  Very important to survey current events before launching your own 4GW programs.  From there, a Kipling reference.


The Stranger within my gates,

He may be evil or good,

But I cannot tell what powers control–

What reasons sway his mood;

Nor when the Gods of his far-off land

Shall repossess his blood.


 –The Stranger, Kipling








December 2016 Notes

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No FTX this month.  It’s December and we’ll take the extra time to work on family and community.  Church and service.  Observing traditions keeps the connection between generations on common values.  Unwind from the election stress, and see where our inventories need a little re-supply. 






And remember, our role and mission parameters did not change with the general elections, but some of the possible scenarios might have to be re-prioritized.


Miyamoto wrote in his book,  A book of Five Rings, “If you do not look at things on a large scale it will be difficult for you to master strategy. If you learn and attain this strategy you will never lose even to twenty or thirty enemies. More than anything to start with you must set your heart on strategy and earnestly stick to the Way. You will come to be able to actually beat men in fights, and to be able to win with your eye. Also by training you will be able to freely control your own body, conquer men with your body, and with sufficient training you will be able to beat ten men with your spirit.”


500 years later, William Lind wrote nearly the same thing in 4th Generation Warfare Handbook, a reference to light infantry mentality.  “The light infantryman is characterized by his mental resourcefulness and physical toughness.  Light infantry’s inborn self-reliance, reinforced by hard training, convinces the light infantryman that he is capable of overcoming the most difficult situations that combat presents.  Light infantrymen do not feel defeated when surrounded, isolated or confronted by superior forces.  They are able to continue performing their duties and pursue their objectives for long periods of time without any type of comfort or logistical support, usually obtaining what they require from the land or the enemy.  They are neither physically or psychologically tied to the rear by a need to maintain open lines of communications.   Their tactics do not depend on supporting arms.  This attitude of self-confidence and  self-reliance provides light infantry a psychological advantage over its opponents.”


The 2017  training schedule is finally completed.  Let’s see what we find along the way.





Oh, and disregard the stories in the news about the Russians  hacking us.  Our buddy Vladimir says they are not.  “At least, not to the same extent that your own government is hacking you every day.” (Russian humor).  It’s a matter of scale.  It’s a matter of principle.  It’s a matter of time.










November 2016 Notes

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November FTF will be at 1400 on the 27th in the park. Items for discussion are Christmas dinner and the Training Schedule for next year.



There was a five-minute video that came out of the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations University, produced by the U. S. Army, that again speaks of the “complexity” of ground operations in Mega-Cities. Not sure if they’re warning of the next stage in their games or promoting  specific programs they’d like to see implemented. But over all, any ground operation, regardless of size, had better plan on some major Divine intervention when they have to go into a city like everyone’s favorite Karachi, or Sao Paulo / Rio, or even Mexico City. Just look up Stalingrad – WWII. In the six-month battle, there was a total of nearly 2 million killed, wounded or captured, and over 5000 tanks destroyed along with 20,000 artillery pieces. Probably wouldn’t be the same today as no one has the belly for that level of fighting anymore. Note for the insurgency notebook: chaos can be a great equalizer and your friend.









Speaking of chaos, the 33rd Chaos Communications Congress will be held during the last week in December at the Congress Centrum in Hamburg. This convention is comparable to Black Hat 2017 in Las Vegas the last week in July, or DEFCON 25 being held at the same time. All three sites have links to information from last year’s convention, in case you didn’t get to go to any of them. They are surprisingly well-organized, with very well-behaved attendees, during the meetings anyway. After hours, they’re hackers. You figure it out. The global map of cyber attacks can be watched in real-time at Norse Corp’s website. And remember, sometimes Anonymous is our friend.







Homework for this month:

Someone out in Oregon convinced the TYR Group to come out and run the 5-day Small Unit Tactics Rural Reconnaissance & Surveillance course back in May, and then they made a 15 minute AAR video about it. Looks like that group almost didn’t need the training, they were already that good. The rural conditions out in Oregon isn’t that much different from around these parts. You need to watch this one several times.















Winter Camp Fire






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