Real World Training Opportunities

We’re just a day away from launching the new online training area here at Forward Observer. (I’m tentatively calling it “The Schoolhouse,” which is an homage to the Army’s intelligence school where I and many others first cut our teeth.) The goal with this new program is to begin producing ‘intelligence officers’ for community security and disaster preparedness. Threats will undoubtedly exist in these environments, and so we need to not only gain situational awareness of what’s going on, but we also need to work towards situational understanding. The end result is that students will know how to collect information during a disaster, and be able to produce intelligence to guide decision-making about our safety and security. And you’ll gain the ability to do more to protect your family.

Because the truth of it is that a) intelligence about potential threats isn’t going to produce itself, and b) if we don’t have access to good information in real-time then we can’t make good decisions in real-time. Ultimately, that could cost lives or a lot of precious time and resources.

As much as I’m excited about publishing our Mission Essential Task List and “career tracks” tomorrow, maybe the best thing about this new program is the real-world training opportunities. I haven’t officially announced it, however, Forward Observer is teaming up with a non-profit organization that deploys to disaster areas to provide humanitarian aid and assist with recovery efforts, but they’re also involved in counter sex trafficking operations. Schoolhouse students and graduates will have the opportunity to support these real-world missions right here in the United States. You don’t have to volunteer, but we’ll be letting the network know of potential missions as soon as we get the green light from our partner organization(s). If you have an hour, or a few hours, or a few days to pitch in, then you can jump on the mission team and probably begin helping immediately. If you don’t have the time or the interest, then I’m positive there will be another mission to support in the future.

The next time wildfires are raging in the American West, a hurricane threatens North Carolina, Florida, or the Gulf Coast, a riot threatens businesses and families in our nation’s cities, or an earthquake damages homes and buildings on our shores, we’ll have the ability to spin up mission teams to provide intelligence support. Regardless of where you are, as long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you’ll be able to join a team effort to supply situational awareness and understanding to humanitarian workers and rescue teams, so they can focus on what they do best: helping Americans in times of need, regardless of how austere or dangerous the environment is. And that’s one less task these guys have to worry about, because we’ll have the ability to provide 24/7 intelligence support.

Part of why I’m so excited about this is because not only can we make a difference in the lives of Americans affected by disasters, but we’ll also be getting invaluable and real-world experience in case a disaster strikes our own neighborhood. And armed with the training, skills, and experience, you can ensure that your own family or neighborhood is better able to navigate that disaster, too. Here’s why this is so critical…

Back in 2014, a handful of volunteers, an intelligence analyst stationed in South Korea at the time, and I battle tracked the Ferguson Riots. We produced real-time intelligence throughout the night by monitoring police scanners, VHF/UHF radio traffic, social media, and the reporting from some human intelligence sources in the area. We were able to build a really good security picture of Ferguson; something we might refer to as ground intelligence. We knew what the situation looked like across the city and, although we had no one to inform, we absolutely could have been sending out routine intelligence reports to those affected by the riots. That’s what we’d like to do in the future and, now that we’re teaming up with some end-users of that intelligence, we can begin supporting some very important missions.

We’ve had some really great feedback about these real-world missions, and there are a couple ways to get involved. The first way to get involved is to get the training required to support these missions. We need to ensure that our Forward Observer Mission Teams have the required skills and training, which we’ll be teaching in the new training area. You can sign up for that training here.

The other way to get involved is by supporting our non-profit organization partner directly. We’ll announce specific details soon, but they do have their own training course for those interested in providing physical security during their humanitarian efforts. I’ll let those guys explain what that entails later.

Due to the demand, we’re running an Early Bird sale for the rest of this month. Your subscription will get your access to the training modules, the Mission Essential Task List (METL) so you can ensure that your neighborhood watch, community security team, or preparedness group are proficient in the required skills and tasks, and it will also go to support our humanitarian aid partner and cover the technology costs of ensuring that the Forward Observer Mission Teams can coordinate and relay intelligence to the rescue teams on the ground.

If you want access to top notch community security and intelligence training, you can subscribe here.

If you want access to this training PLUS our three intelligence reports each week, you can subscribe here.

Meanwhile, I’ll be getting ready to launch our first videos for the Schoolhouse. Tomorrow morning, I’m finishing up our map board tutorial, which is being professionally produced (audio and video). I’ll have the brand new Intelligence Cycle module published, and then I’ll start working on the SALUTE Reporting module and the police scanner setup and operations tutorial.

I hope you’re looking forward to this as much as I am.

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. Sam spent over three years deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He's now the conflict and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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