This article about the current financial crisis brilliant summarizes the skepticism about Sun Tzu in this quote from Lorelei Gilmore, a fictional character on the long-running “Gilmore Girls” sitcom:

“It’s a classic Sun Tzu ‘Art of War’ maneuver. If you’re being attacked from the east, attack whoever’s to your west, and you were the west. I never read the book. It’s full of crap like that.”

This quote captures all the major features of criticisms of classical strategy by modern culture. It is even more perfect because it is concisely formulated by the minds of Hollywood script writers. They have no clue what the book is about, but they think that it is about attacking people. They, of course, have never read it but know without a doubt it that it is full of crap because…uh…uh… uh…it has the word “war” in it title. Who needs to know more than that? Beautiful!

The writer of the article, James Schlett, is clearly less skeptical. He notes right from it beginning:

Entrepreneurs have long striven to apply to business the warfare strategies outlined by the Chinese general and philosopher Sun Tzu.

Chief executive officers from Oracle Corp.’s Lawrence Ellison to General Electric Co.’s Jack Welch have attributed their success to the principles detailed in Tzu’s “The Art of War,” which was written in the 6th century B.C.

Science of Strategy Institute

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Make sure you read this From Global Guerrillas and turn the Boyd Cycle on! Complacency can cost us dearly…Observe, Orient, Decide and Act…this Peron known now as “Climate Man” did so and breached high security… We have to be better than this! Read on:

The super-empowered references are flowing for the man in the UK that shut down an electric power plant single handedly (without a boom):

The £12m defenses of the most heavily guarded power station in Britain have been breached by a single person who, under the eyes of CCTV cameras, climbed two three-meter (10ft) razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading “no new coal”. He walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence. All power from the coal and oil-powered Kingsnorth station in Kent was halted for four hours…

Mystified Greenpeace activists explain why they FAIL (ego and legacy protest thinking play a big part):

Should “climate man” ever show up, he will be feted for what activists say was the most daring individual action of the year. “We have no idea who he is – but we really want to know. Everybody’s asking ‘where were you on Friday November 28’,” said Ben Stewart of Greenpeace, one of six people arrested for climbing the 76 meter (250ft) chimney of the Kingsnorth station early last year but found not guilty of criminal damage in November. “We would never act anonymously,” he added.

More quotes:

“He left a banner but it was a real DIY job. It was really scrappy.” “This is a different league to protesters chaining themselves to equipment. It’s someone treating a power station as an adventure playground.”

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In this post I would like to begin the process of describing each phase of the OODA Loop starting with Observation. As law enforcement and security officers we are often referred to as “trained observers” I have often thought when, where and how did we become worthy of this title “trained observer”? The true answer is, this is not the case in fact there is very little training in this area for the vast majority of police and security professionals. Yes it is mentioned that you must practice situational awareness, you must look for things out of place, watch deadly hands, look for bulges in waistlines and read body language but there is very little, if any time dedicated to developing these necessary skills. The two exceptions to this are (1) if you are in criminal investigations and attend a program of instruction on interview and interrogation techniques. These classes have a big focus on observation and the reading of body language to assist in orienting to the subtle signs of deception.

The second exception is the individual officer who takes individual initiative to research, study and learns from experience on the street or attends classes on his own and practices the skill to develop the ability to be aware and read the subtle signs of crime and danger, on the street.

There is also a third way of learning these skills and that’s the informal and very effective experience gathered from on the job or on the street. Experience is not, “time on the job.” Time on the job means nothing unless; you are involved and actively learning from experience. Experience I am describing is time in conflict where you develop the professional ability to recognize patterns, from handling violent encounters on a regular basis. It’s also what we call “street smarts” where those growing up or working in violent neighborhoods learn and channel the ability to observe and orient to danger as part of survival. Military veterans who have experienced regular combat also develop these skills. Like any other skill the ability to stay aware is perishable and to maintain the level necessary it must be conditioned through repetition, repetition through training and experience.

Experience: is described by Don Vandergriff in his book Raising the Bar as a reliable guide when it is relevant to the contemporary and future operating environment and missions, and when it’s filtered, processed and stored in the brain using enduring principles and useful, reliable thought models. When key elements of the operating environment, opponents, technology and missions change rapidly, how experience is translated into intuition is even more important. Time alone does not equal experience, time plus handling a variety of situations, in various environments and the lessons learned equal experience. This takes individual and organizational effort by tracking decisions made if we are to learn all we can from our experiences and turn experience into expertise and evolve into “trained observers.”

This brings up the questions I am often asked; what if we work in an area where we do not experience violent encounters regularly or maybe, your thinking I have five, ten or more years on the job and I have never been in a violent encounter (less than 1% of law enforcement and security encounters turn violent)? How do we develop this experience and develop ourselves as trained observers so we can be effective and safe on the street? The answer lies in training, formal and informal learning. Formally through programs of instructions taught by qualified, motivated and competent instructors that teach through experiential learning techniques such as, tactical decision games and free play exercises. We can also get great benefits from Informal training on the job, in the form of after action reviews or critiques at every opportunity to have to learn. Whether it’s a violent encounter or not there are lessons on observation and the Boyd Cycle to be learned!

Now if we are going to call ourselves or be referred to as “trained observers” we must spend time developing our observations skills so they are truly exceptional and assist us in understanding the climate and environment we find ourselves in. What is observation the first phase of the Boyd Cycle? Most officers I have spoken to respond; “it’s what you see.” True but it’s much more than that, its ones whole body sensing the environment and climate of the situation through all our senses (sight, sound, smell, feel, taste and INTUITION) working in unison, sensing yourself and the world around you. Let’s break these down and describe how each works at developing our optimal observations. Let’s start with the most prominent the visual cortex, sight.

Sight: The world as we see it is wholly dominated by sight. In his book The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination, Jacob Bronowski says; “The place of the sense of sight in human evolution is cardinal.” This is not to say the remaining senses do not play a crucial role in our gathering information and knowledge, they also play a great role as we will discuss later. However we have evolved as humans and learn almost wholly through what we see. This is especially true in the law enforcement and security professions, what we see taking place in a given set of circumstances is the critical component to our orienting to the situation and the catalyst to our decisions and actions. It’s important to understand sights role in the process and how to channel what we see into useful information quickly so we gain the advantage.

Looking around with your eyes, what do you see? Most look for the adversary, great but that’s not good enough. You must see the overall big picture and its subtle details, of the environment you are in. You must know where to look for the possibility of; multiple adversaries and where they could launch an attack from, hallways and allies, entries and exits, escape routes, avenues of approach, cover, and concealment, car doors, center consoles, glove compartments and where can you best position yourself. What time of the day is it? Is it daylight or nighttime cloudy, raining foggy or snowing? What effect do these conditions have on your vision? Is the adversary in an open area where you can easily see what’s going on or is he in closed in or wooded area loaded with cover and concealment, where it’s easy to conceal his movements? These factors affect your vision and hence what you see, which as mentioned is one of the windows into your orientation of the climate of the situation.

You must see the adversary and the obvious signs that he is there and where you are, you must also see the subtle signs and signals that manifest themselves through non-verbal means (body language). Actively look, to clear his hands to ensure they are free of weapons or are they clinched and ready to strike. Observe his body movements and positioning. Is the person showing signs of submission or the signals of a pending assault? You must observe his size, potential strengths and weaknesses and whether or not, you know the individual(s). You must also look for the subtle signs of anxiety and stress by reading body language (http://www.lesc.net/node/102) and recognizing anomalies in patterns of behavior (http://www.lesc.net/node/22) or any other indicators of threats or opportunities to take control.

If you have a back-up officer with you make sure you are positioned where you both can see and work as a team to get the best picture of what’s taking place. Concentrate on your areas of observation and communicate.

Technology and optics can greatly enhance what you see as well. Use binoculars when distance is a factor or a night vision device such as thermal imaging equipment at night is an outstanding tool to enhance you vision.

Train your observation, through practice at every opportunity. Teach yourself to scan areas of the body and the environment looking for threats. Practice scanning exercises in training by using realistic role playing with and without weapons so individual development of threat assessment is conditioned. You must see the threat first and then act.

Example: In a free play exercise set up scenarios that have multiple subjects in a room some innocents, some armed adversaries. The scenario is designed to be an obvious threat scenario where the individual or team of officers must discriminate between innocents and adversaries and locate the threat (knife, gun etc) orient to it decide and act. If there is little time to set up this scenario, use multiple small targets hung on all the walls at your agency in a room and run guys through a quick drill, where they must come in and indentify the threat. Make it competitive, which student did it with the fastest time to make it a little more interesting and fun. You can also do this same exercise utilizing subtle threats which fine tunes the skill even more. The development that takes place is very beneficial and applies to what we do.

A vast majority of encounters we handle happen in low light or darkness so we must understand the eyes effectiveness in this condition. Practice techniques that assist in developing vision at night such as; full adapting one’s eyes to darkness, keeping one eye closed near and not looking at any light. Scanning objects at night without looking directly at it and watching for unexplained shadows is another method assisting in what we can see at night. Also know that the auditory cortex becomes more prominent at night and we depend more on our hearing, the second most depended upon mode of perception to assist us in observing the environment.

In speaking about the importance of sight and its role in how we gather information and gain insight and knowledge into a particular set of circumstances and the world we live in, we must also not be handicapped by it and remember over focus and tunnel vision can affect negatively in reading the situation. If we over focus on sight we miss other important factors processed through all our other senses such as; sounds and smells that could alert us to other adversaries or threats. Over focus can prevent us from seeing the obvious right there in front of us.

Sight we are dependent upon not only looking outward at unfolding circumstance but looking inward as well. The abilities we have in the way of memory and imagination which develops experience and leads to innovation are all conditioned by the sense of sight looking inward and visualizing in an attempt to analyze whats going on and lessons learned. We must understand the special importance that sight plays in the observation phase of the Boyd Cycle in helping us understand the situation. At the same time we must train and channel our ability to observe completely in which sight is working in unison with all our senses, if we are to become truly trained observers.

Next Post we will discuss the auditory cortex and hearings role in observation.

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Law Enforcement and Security Consulting (LESC) programs are designed to enhance and expand individual or organizational potential to deal with conflict. LESC techniques develop the ability to objectively observe and recognize unseen opportunities or threats; relate observations to circumstances; systematically devise a plan of action; and execute with impunity The LESC team is a dedicated group of professionals committed to saving lives through established self-defense and confrontation strategies, weapons handling and practical policing combined with heightened appreciation for the powers of intuitive response and the mapping of predictable human behavior.



Handling Dynamic Encounters: the world is a changing place and its expected that professionals in the law enforcement and security fields be prepared to handle whatever type of encounter may present itself.  Knowing and understanding the dynamics of dangerous encounters, showing tactical restraint and have the ability to deescalate or gain voluntary compliances and make critical decisions is what it is about. It is an art that needs to be developed through training properly as you will fight in the REAL world.  The course involves both classroom role-plays and the students participating in tactical games.  This is an 8-hour course of instruction.

Use of Force: In the fast paced rapidly changing circumstances surrounding a dangerous encounter it is critical that your officers know and understand the law and dynamics surrounding use of force encounters. Your men use force on a daily bases from their mere presence, to hands on defensive tactics, impact weapons such as baton and they have the right to use deadly force when their life or the life of someone else is in imminent jeopardy of death or serious bodily harm.  For two long we have taught what officers should not do in these life threatening confrontations leaving them with questions un-answered in circumstances where hesitation can be life threatening. It is time they learn and understand what they can do based on the current laws governing use of force incidents. This course gives them the information they need to perform their jobs effectively. This is an 8-hour course of instruction.

Terrorism Awareness: provide a working knowledge of terrorist and criminal extremist groups and individuals, their activities and tactics, and how to recognize and report indicators of terrorist/criminals extremism.

Practical Pistol Course: this course is designed to give the student or agency an understanding in their choice of firearms.  The course is designed to teach the officer in the basic fundamentals of shooting and improve upon those skills emphasizing Precision and Point Shoulder Shooting Techniques.  The course will discuss the differences in firearms with focus mainly on the agencies choice of firearms how it operates.  The course will be two days of classroom instruction and three days of skill development on the range.  The student will demonstrate his/hers capabilities and proficiency with the firearm and will be subject to live-fire qualification.  Prerequisite course in use of force must be completed before practical pistol course can be taken.                                                                                                     

Close Quarter Battle:  this is an advanced firearms training class designed to push the students skills beyond that of the practical pistol course.  The course is designed to teach critical skills up close as statistics show is reality in the world of dynamic confrontation.  The student must come motivated to learn and push him/herself beyond that of just learning to shoot.  The student will learn how to win and survive dynamic confrontations.  This is a three day training course 20 hours on the range.  Prerequisite class is the practical pistol course.

Impact Weapon Techniques: this course will teach the law enforcement or security professional how to and when to use the impact weapon as a defensive tool.  The use of force model will be discussed to give the security officer a full understanding of when it is appropriate to use the impact weapon.  There will be hands particles exercises with the impact weapon.  Each student will have to show proficiency with the impact weapon and there will be a written exam testing the student’s knowledge.  This is a 4-hour course of instruction.  Prerequisite course in use of force must be completed before impact weapon techniques course can be taken.

Compliant Handcuffing Techniques: this course is designed to teach the student how to utilize handcuffs appropriately when dealing with a compliant subject.  We will discuss awareness levels; demonstrate tactical approach to subjects, the six components of handcuffing and proper monitoring of handcuffed individuals. This course is a hand’s on practical course and the student will have to demonstrate ability to safely approach and apply handcuffs with techniques taught. A written test will also be administered. This is a 4-hour course of instruction.  Prerequisite course in use of force must be completed before compliant handcuffing can be taken.

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Meet the Professionals

The instructors who teach for Law Enforcement and Security Consulting Inc are current or former law enforcement, military or security professionals. Instructors are educated and use the most advanced training techniques to insure the most benefit for our clients. Instructors that come to you are dedicated professionals who love what they do. They; working together with you are the magic behind our company.

Fred T. Leland (Instructor) is a current Police Lieutenant and a former United States Marine. He is an experienced trainer with over 20 years training law enforcement, military and security professionals with a Bachelors Degree in Law Enforcement. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy Class 216 where he specialized in terrorism related topics as well as leadership and management. His classes are interactive with use of real world examples to bring the point home. His specialties are handling dynamic encounters, terrorism awareness, use of force, impact weapon techniques, chemical spray, handcuffing, firearms, small unit CQB, and patrol procedures.

Maria Gonzalez (Instructor) is a current police officer for the Walpole Police Department. Her experience span 10 years. Her first 6 years with the Boston Police Department, 2 years with the Taunton Police Department, the remaining with the Walpole Police department. Ms. Gonzalez obtained a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Community Policing from U. Mass Boston, and a Masters in Criminal Justice from Boston University. She is a certified Rape investigator and a certified trainer with the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Council.


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Security Consultant Group Inc. (SCG) is a rapidly growing security and technical consulting firm with innovative, aggressive, and quality solutions to client requirements. SCG currently employees over 1300 employees nationwide. Headquartered in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, SCG is a mature, dynamic, and well-managed minority- and veteran-owned business with a strategic plan and strong management team that distinguishes us in the areas of security services and systems.

 The following testimonials are from employees of Security Consultants Group, Inc. (SCG) New England Offices. All have participated in training from Law Enforcement and Security Consulting Inc. The training consisted of Security Officer 72 hour Basic Training, 40 hour Security Officer Recertification, both the 72 and 40 hour courses focus on the Federal Protective Service Practical Pistol Course (40 Hours), which requires all participants to qualify on the Federal Law Enforcement training Centers Qualification Course.

 The Course overview is as follows: 

  • Customer oriented protection
  • Overview of the contract guard
  • Principals of Communication 1
  • Principals of Communication 2
  • Ethics & professionalism Part 1
  • Ethics & professionalism Part 2
  • Professional public relations 1
  • Professional public relations 2
  • Understanding human behavior 1
  • Understanding human behavior 2
  • Dealing with difficult people
  • Law legal authorities jurisdiction responsibilities
  • Crimes and offences
  • Search and Seizure
  • Crimes scene protection
  • Rules of evidence
  • Contract guard administration
  • Post duties
  • General response procedures
  • Access control
  • Crime detection assessment and response
  • Safety and fire prevention
  • Records reports and forms
  • Special situations
  • Flying the flag
  • Civil disturbances
  • Terrorism anti-terrorism WMD
  • Hostage situations
  • Bomb threats incidents
  • Workplace violence
  • Arrest authority and procedures
  • Patrol methods and hazards
  • Use of force
  • Firearms safety and handling
  • Range Familiarization Fire
  • Review of First aid & Blood borne pathogens
  • Defensive tactics
  • Use of handcuffs
  • OC / Baton

Security Consultant Group Inc. Testimonials

 The overall classroom presentation was great. The interaction between student and instructor makes it come to life.

 Dynamic Instructors having the ability to bring out real life experience as the best tools and they used them in a professional manner “Got the class to get involved!”

 Excellent in 30 years of attending classes this was the most and best class I have ever attended and I have attended training as a civilian and reservist at air force bases through out the country.

 Instructors are very hands on and passionate about their teaching. They infect the classroom with energy and a hunger to learn more. I could not imagine having someone else teach the course. Instructor is great at what they do and have a pool of knowledge.

 The best instructor I have had the pleasure of attending class with, your knowledge, passion and style of teaching is perfect!! I wish I had a criticism but honestly, I don’t know how you could possibly improve. Sorry Fred, it isn’t broke and it would be tough to improve.

 Excellent informative, interesting and exciting!

 Excellent very knowledgeable, experienced, exciting and informative!

 Longer- could be more than 72 hours. If can’t lengthen, no need for improvement.

 Knowledgeable and easy to follow effectively presented materials clearly and concisely.

 Outstanding, great connection with class, Believes in what you teach (very important).

 Honestly, I am glad that you were the instructor, After 3 days I seriously thought to myself “showing us live scenarios and actually dealing with encounters as apposed to just “the facts” that some day your training may save my life.”

 Excellent! Very well done! A great wealth of knowledge!

 “The man” the best teacher I’ve had. Superb teaching skills!

 Your course has made security officers break out from that “rent-a-cop attitude. We will be able to do our job much better. Thank you!

 One of, if not the best training classes I’ve had and this includes 22 years as a police officer, sergeant and 10 years as a security officer.

 Leave it just the way it is. It’s the best class I’ve been in.

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I just finished up a 1 day workshop on Handling Dynamic Encounters sponsored by the UMass Memorial Police Department. I was honored to teach a great group of people who gave their full attention to the lecture and participated wholeheartedly in the tactical decision games and free play exercises. Students were put on the spot and gave there decisions and rational in front of their peers and adapted to the facilitators “What ifs” as professionals on a mission to learn and evolve…

The lessons learned were, understanding of how conflict unfolds via the Boyd Cycle which is a decision-making process that …

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