The most important questions you should be asking right now are not the hypothetical or abstract simply naming ‘SHTF!’, rather, it needs to be rationally rooted in the MOST LIKELY and MOST DEADLY courses of action (MLCOA / MDCOA). What causes this “SHTF?” Who will be taking advantage of it? One of the overtones of my recent classes has been discussing the growing local antifa movement and (somewhat) wargaming/red cell-ing capabilities, with emergency services communications systems coming into question. Think on that one for a second. It’s a dangerous proposition that many overlook- there’s a real threat to the robustness of emergency service equipment and as we become more and more complex, they become more and more vulnerable. From my perspective, this makes understanding and maintaining my own off-grid communications and action networks that much more important. And it should you too.
Just merely saying ‘well, when the S-hits the fan, I’ll do this‘ doesn’t cut it. For starters, its ridiculously lazy. It takes absolutely no work to come to that conclusion, and the answer usually is just to buy another widget from your favorite online vendor. Good gear is important, but it doesn’t do any good if there person using it is useless. These views are adjacent to the ‘mental militia‘ that normally follows, about imaginary acts of bravado and ‘saving the Union from the clutches of the commies!‘. Calm down there Audie Murphy Jr…with your tricked out AR. A smarter position to take would be to put into context what actually is possible in your AO, and what targets of value could come under attack. ‘But that’s the Police’s job!’…so is fighting off the Reds when you get down to it but that’s not stopping you from buying more stuff. On that note, knowing the Reds’ anchor points doesn’t do us much of any good if you’re not actively mapping them. Again, that takes work, so if you’re busy listening to your favorite wanna be philosopher tell you want you want to hear, all your so-called preps will make the next guy’s living comfortable.
The US Army uses the acronym CARVER to assess target selection and in turn the potential for targets to be attacked in a given area. CARVER stands for Criticality, Accessibility, Recuperability, Vulnerability, Effect and Recognizability. Potential guerrillas priming an area of operations will use CARVER to map targets, going after the ones that rank the highest on each list. If for nothing else its a basic situational awareness tool for your individual area of influence (AI) or area of operations (AO). The end goal for the guerrilla normally is to discredit the ability of a security force to maintain control. Often one of the first targets will be communications infrastructure. Disruptions in service may very well be an early warning.
Looking back in a historical context, contemporary lessons from outside our borders might give a better view. Boko Haram, a name you all should be familiar with, has followed a historical pattern of violence not quite unlike what we are seeing the genesis of currently. It began in 2002 as a social movement among ‘repressed’ muslims in northern Nigeria. The real goal was growth of the Caliphate, but near term, it was ‘social equality for muslims’. Eventually, after organizing years of riots and small scale civil unrest, the group killed their original leader and broke 105 of their buddies out of prison. Islamic State (al Daesh) did the same in Iraq prior to seizing Fallujah and Ramadi. Immediately they began attacking infrastructure, in part to cause disruption of services and in part to discredit the government’s ability to protect and provide. Critical to this was the communications infrastructure- mass coordinated attacks against the cell phone network and government radio repeater systems- forcing the Nigerian government to first protect those before it could tend to the people under attack. And Nigeria is a country that is still extremely rural and impoverished in the North- imagine the magnified effect on a people spoiled by instant information access.
Public Safety Systems
Let’s take a step back from the cell network and focus on something really more important- public service communications. Over time, the systems have evolved from a simple low band VHF affair to sophisticated digital networks out of the need for maximum bandwidth and additional over-the-air security. But there is a tradeoff. Both Project-16 (analog trunked radio systems being phased out) and Project-25 (digital trunked radio systems now in Phase II) require a networked series of repeaters to function and is not usually able to be troubleshot in the field. If those were to come under attack, what is plan B? Do you know? Do the end users know? What are the actual frequencies they work on? (this is why just entering your zip code on a home patrol scanner, while convenient, is a bad thing) Why should you care? Because if you’re a regular scanner junkie, notice things getting worse in your area socially, and then public service frequencies begin to act strange, there might just be something larger at work. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight.
In our discussion this very issue came up for a particular area of serious concern, identifying the weak points and potential backup plan (Remember PACE??? Primary, Alternate,Contingency, Emergency? Yep, still important) all the way down to the role Amateur repeaters would play (They would be the E…a distant E, but still an E). This is where knowing a bit about about all communications systems (or networking with folks who do) beyond the theoretical end comes in handy. It just so happens the area we talked about has a history of building public sector hardened systems, and many of the engineers are also avid radio amateurs. Having access to simple and well-built equipment is a plus, and having a group who knows their ass from a hole in the ground is a plus as well. Of course, you won’t know any of this if you’re of the ‘I got mine…screw you‘ attitude a lot of preppers advocate, even if you do get that ham license and go back home.
Building independent, self-sustaining communities is paramount, as well as being the strongest survivalist plan, but its important to recognize that threats are more than just simplistic catch phrases. You still live in the real world, not that lustful libertariatopia, and are subject to the ramifications of threats external to you. I take people at their word- and the Left’s core, the ‘instant gratification‘ groomed social justice warriors, a manifestation of all of the fingers that threaten Western Sovereignty- are the future of their movement. They see no benefit to the current order and through willful ignorance find solace amid revolutionary ideals whose only logical end is violence. I believe them. And instead of useless projecting, you should be asking serious questions about what they’re capable of pulling off. I bet some folks in Nigeria today wished they had done a bit more in retrospect. I’d be willing to bet some of you will too- Antifa thugs, Islamic thugs, same types of people. They both want you, Christian Male, exterminated.
What to do now is get serious about a training schedule while spending some time understanding more about your individual area. There’s a lot of opportunities out there, and the more arrows you put in the quiver the more resilient you’ll be later on down the road.