In the events that are coming, whether it’s an economic collapse, a major natural disaster, societal breakdown, or any other unpleasantness, being part of a solid group of people is going to be your best bet to get through. Studying the work of “Selco” (Yugoslavia), Fernando “FerFal” Aguirre (Argentina) and others who have actually been through a modern economic/societal collapse is invaluable because it shows us an example of what a modern societal collapse may actually look like here. Preppers and survivalists will always be able to come up with ideas of what things are going to be like, but unless those ideas are based on events that have already taken place somewhere, they’re less likely to be accurate. Studying those past events, it becomes clear that people who are part of a cohesive group survive the best, and the groups with some semblance of a plan to begin with will fare even better. While it’s true that no good plan ever survived the first enemy contact, having a solid plan for your group fosters confidence in that group, allowing the members to keep their head in the game when the going gets tough, and drive toward an objective.

When building your survival/partisan/neighborhood security group, you’ve got to tailor your group to your objective, situation and capability. What are you building a group to do? What size group is practical for your situation and location? How many people can you actually find to join? I am currently located in the rural Deep South, a few miles outside of a town of about 300 people. Am I going to build a battalion-sized survival group that will save the U.S. from the Communist threat?

Don’t hold your breath, mate. That’s not realistic.

Now, how about a group that is purpose built for securing a neighborhood after a Category 5 hurricane? In 2004, the area where I lived experienced Hurricane Ivan. The destruction was significant, and there were reports of looting (as always) in areas of NW Florida. Based on the social “atmospherics” and potential threats where I lived, my neighborhood could have been adequately secured around the clock by just a squad-sized element working in three, maybe even four shifts per 24 hour period. Thank God we got through and didn’t need it during our month-long, near total interruption of basic services. There was not going to be any police or government response if we had needed help.

There are a lot of experts out there who have some really great ideas and advice on building groups and how to plan. I’ll tell you how I’ve tried to envision my group and plan, but don’t think I’m trying to tell you that there is only one way to get this right. You’ll have to take a step back and judge your own situation for yourself.

I try to break my ideas for a survival group into two sections. Those are your AREA OF OPERATIONS and your OBJECTIVES. I break the activation of the security group into two environments, those being a PASSIVE environment and an AGGRESSIVE environment. You can alter these terms however you see fit, but here I’ll tell you what I’m referencing.

Your AO is obviously going to be your location, and it’s where your objectives are going to take place. Initially, you’ll need to start at the lowest level. So your first AO is your house and property and the people who live there. As you build a group and achieve your objectives in that AO, you’ll expand as necessary and however you’re able. Expanding your AO out to the neighborhood, community, town, city and outward will bring new necessary objectives such as patrols, commo check-ins, recon outings, supply runs, visits to friends and family members, meetings with local officials (depending on environment), etc.

The OBJECTIVES themselves will include whatever your group can do to secure the AO from potential threats, whether those threats are coming from a tyrannical government, a band of marauders, the effects of a coronal mass ejection, or more likely, some downturn of the economy that leads to a failure of civility, adverse weather or a house fire at a neighbor’s home. Even the unexpected loss of a job for the primary breadwinner of a home is something a solid group of people can support each other against.

The PASSIVE environment is what most of us currently live in right now. Unless you live in a place like inner city Chicago or St. Louis, you are more likely to activate your group for an adverse weather event or house fire than you are for a suspension of services or widespread criminal activity. You most likely don’t have difficulty driving down to the supermarket to pick up food or supplies in this environment.

In an AGGRESSIVE environment, this is not the case. You’re most likely activating your group in order to facilitate armed security in your AO and conduct other missions to get through a serious interruption of routine services or lack of local government support.

Now, before you can get down to business with establishing the AO and examining the environment, you’ve got to look at the third major factor, which is your group size. You’ll have to determine what your group can do at that size and try not to overreach. I feel the minimum group size needs to contain at least three or four trigger pullers, because it will be hard to get some things done in an aggressive environment and large AO with only two people who can tote a rifle. Four shooters gives you a full fireteam. A fireteam allows you to have a team leader, a lead scout, a medic, a commo guy, or whatever other jobs your group requires, without anyone being burdened with too many responsibilities. Going larger to six or eight people gives you a whole squad, and your team can start splitting up and running recon missions or doing guard duty shifts in an aggressive environment, or doing neighborhood checks throughout town after a storm in a passive environment. Going bigger than that can be difficult, because now you’ve got a whole lot of personalities to manage, a whole lot of mouths to keep quiet, a whole lot of families to satisfy and take care of and a whole lot of extra chances to pick up a new member that might not be in it to advance your ideas and efforts.

Another factor to remember is that for every rifleman in your team that will be running recon or standing guard, comes another family. This is why you have to choose very carefully who your shooters are, and take a hard look at their family. Family members can bring good skills with them, and they can also bring additional problems.

This is just one former soldier’s ideas on a starting template for doing that. In the events that lay ahead of us, I firmly believe that the people who belong to a group of like-minded people who are focused on driving toward a common goal of survival and mutual well being will survive the easiest and have the best outcome. This has been demonstrated throughout history during times of war, natural disasters and societal collapses. It behooves you to find your people, rally them and get them ready.

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