U.S. counterterrorism officials have authenticated a video by an al Qaeda recruiter threatening to smuggle a biological weapon into the United States via tunnels under the Mexico border, the latest sign of the terrorist group’s determination to stage another mass-casualty attack on the U.S. homeland.

The video aired earlier this year as a recruitment tool makes clear that al Qaeda is looking to exploit weaknesses in U.S. border security and also is willing to ally itself with white militia groups or other anti-government entities interested in carrying out an attack inside the United States, according to counterterrorism officials interviewed by The Washington Times. (Washington Times)

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Constables Phil Gomes and Mike Clark – a.k.a. Shake ‘n’ Bake – are 27 and 28, clean-cut and solidly built, and together form the newest and least-known front in Mexico’s drug wars: Canada.

Members of the coveted Integrated Gang Task Force in British Columbia, their orders are to “disrupt and dismantle” drug gangs, many of which maintain a cocaine lifeline to Mexico.

They don’t talk about it much, but they spend their days chasing down the “bad guys” and “sitting on” drug houses around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland of B.C. (Toronto Star)

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DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. — Recovering from an operation after four bullets ripped through his body Saturday night, Officer Paul “Joey” Kempinski IV muttered three words when he saw his family at the hospital: “I’m so sorry.”

“I told him, ‘What’re you apologizing for? This isn’t your fault,’ ” said his father, Paul Kempinski III.

The younger Kempinski, a patrol officer with the Coral Springs Police Department, is the first in his family to work for a law enforcement agency. He’s also the first Coral Springs officer to be shot and wounded by a suspect. A man accused of robbery fired at him with an assault rifle, police said. The bullets struck his legs, an arm and his side.

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“Thus, it is both sobering and compelling to recall that among the millions of life forms that have inhabited the Earth and engaged in potentially lethal conflicts, one simple rule applies: those who have mastered the evolutionary game survive and prosper…those who have not become extinct.“ ~Raphael D. Sagarin


This issue of People Ideas and Hardware in That Order the LESC Newsletter the Tactical Concept of the week is Adaptability. So in keeping with the theme of my programs of instruction I had to walk the talk on adaptability and learn how to work the newsletter section of my site. Computers and web-site design are not my forte and for the past several months I have stuck to my habit of Microsoft Outlook to put the messages out. But in the spirit of adaptation this will be the format the LESC Newsletter will be in from this point on with changes as they become necessary.

In setting up this program I had to re-do my contacts in the web-site format and input your names into the system. I f by chance you get double messages and overload of your inbox please send me an email Fred@lesc.net and I will  fix that problem.

Tactical Concept of the Week

Adaptability: “is an effective change in response to an altered situation.”

My friend Don Vandergriff defines Adaptability “is an effective change in response to an altered situation.” it is not speed of reaction, but the slower, more deliberate processes associated with problem solving.

I cannot help but think that this word and its meaning as defined by Don is the key to officer survival on the street and in handling the vast array of crises we in the protection professions respond to. The ability to think strategically and adapt a tactical plan to rapidly unfolding circumstances in an effort to prevent or resolve conflict and violence is critical.

We law enforcement, military, and security professionals are all to often policy and procedure driven which in my view which makes us inflexible and unable to respond effectively on a consistent basis, especially in dynamic confrontation. Its time we start to think about how we respond effectively instead of worrying about CYA and the aftermath with strict so called guidelines that are only effective in the linear world where a known end result is sought.

Sun Tzu in The Art of War dedicates an entire chapter (8) to Adaptability. Those who think of strategy usually think strategy means planning, but in this particular chapter on adaptability Sun Tzu makes it clear that strategy is about continually changing our plans. Strategy is less about plans and more about understanding processes, exploiting opportunities as conflict unfolds. Yes we do use well defined methods, but we must also adjust these methods if we are to be successful in reaching our goals and handling crises.

In conflict and crisis things unfold in a complex and non-linear way. Its time we start to focus on how to get better at what we no how to do in a way that shows true professionalism and effectiveness. Training and education along with the understanding that we must continuously adapt, learning, unlearning and relearning based on the emergent threats we face in combination with individual and collective past experience.

Policies, procedures and guidelines should be written with the intent of making the frontline adaptable and effective to we may respond based on the unfolding circumstances and not a canned procedure that usually gets you canned results.  

“Military leaders must be experts in knowing how to adapt and win. this will teach you the use of war.” ~Sun Tzu

The articles, police, security, university and campus related news and related reports as well as the programs of instruction posted in this newsletter are designed to keep the process of evolutionary learning and adaptability alive and well in our professions so we train to make a difference! A difference in how we, observe our surroundings and orient to the whole situation as it unfolds. In an effort to make good intuitive and explicit decisions based on time and risk that can be adapted and applied through various actions while enhancing officer safety and the safety of those we protect.

Please remember the newsletter is linked to the WWW.LESC.NET the LESC blog, where we can discuss these issues and any other you would like to bring up. In the end learning, education and training are linked and it takes collaborative efforts by all to make the difference that is needed.

Stay Oriented!





Recommended Books to Enhance Adaptability and Preparedness


LESC Upcoming Programs of Instruction

Location: American Firearms School, North Attleboro, MA

Start Time 9AM

For more details click here

Contact fred@lesc.net


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Physical skills development; is another area LESC focuses their training of law enforcement and security professionals. The development of firearms skills, one and two-man tactics, CQB techniques, impact weapons and OC Spray are a few of the training programs we provide… In this post I want to focus on the concept of dry fire practice, to both develop and enhance the fundamentals of shooting.When it comes to firearms practice we have all heard the excuses; I do not have time to get to the range, ammunition is expensive and ranges are few and far between and I don’t feel like driving 50 miles to the nearest range. Up here in the Northeast ranges are indeed hard to find and even harder to schedule time on. Due to liability issues a lot of ranges require a range master to be present for shooting to take place. So with this in mind, I want to talk about dry-fire practice and its ability to take the problem shooter, average shooter and expert to new improved levels of marksmanship.Dry fire practice is so important to developing marksmanship skills and individual confidence in your ability to hit what you intend to. You can shoot many rounds, but the real development of your skill comes through repetition of proper technique. The level of repetition needed can be reached through dry-fire training. Dry-fire training is simply practicing the fundamentals of shooting without any live ammunition. You do and experience everything but the bang and cycling of the action. This type of practice allows you to develop and hone your skills in safely and proficiently manipulating the weapon and hitting what you aim at.To conduct dry-fire practice, it is very important you practice in the safest environment possible. Find an area with a safe backstop and an area that is private and no one can enter to cross the path of the muzzle. What I have done is hung my bulletproof vest in an area against a wall as a precaution and safety enhancer. For a target you can use the blank wall, post a target of your choice, or the bulletproof vest will suffice as a viable target for dry-fire practice.  How often should you dry-fire practice? The answers lies in the type of shooter you wish to become. In this Blog we are talking about professionals who carry a firearm as part of their duties. Therefore I make the leap that we should all be striving to be outstanding with our abilities to safely and proficiently manipulate and shoot our firearms. So with that in mind a general rule should be 10 -20 minutes 3-5 times a week… This will greatly improve all your skills.

Some rules for Dry-fire Practice:

  • First clear and safe the intended weapon for dry fire practice

Download the live rounds into the live round container. Both weapon, speed loaders or magazines are empty

    Once you have downloaded the ammunition take the live ammunition container and store it in another room.Retrieve dry-fire target and place it in a safe direction. Try to put this at waist level to develop a more realistic approach.Inspect the intended training magazines or speed loaders for live rounds then load them with inert training rounds.

  • Visually and physically inspect the intended weapon one last time, then begin your dry-fire session.
  • If for whatever reason you are disturbed, immediately stop what you were doing and deal with the disturbance.
  • When you return to dry-fire practice, clear and safe the weapon, then inspect all your equipment. Do not take any chances; all it takes is one time to change your life.
  • When you have completed your dry-fire session or run out of time, do not attempt more dry-fire practice. Resist the urge to take that last squeeze. Clear and safe, then store your training rounds. Store your dry-fire target and retrieve your live ammunition.
  • Place your weapon in the condition you wish it to be and carry on!
  • Dry-fire practice from all positions; standing, kneeling,prone,right and left side cover positions. You can also practice shooting while moving and one-man tactics.

    Some ideas for dry-fire practice:

    • Mindset (Proper ATTITUDE)
    • Proper Stance
  • Proper Draw (Presentation)
  • Proper Grip
  • Sight Allignment
  • Sight Picture
  • Hard Focus (precision shooting) Verses Soft Focus (combat shooting)
  • Trigger Squeeze
  • Follow Through
  • Loading and Unloading (administrative,speed & Tactical)
  • Ready Positions
    • Threat Ready
    • High and Low ready
    • High Tuck
    • Third Eye concept

    To evolve in our marksmanship skills we must be willing and open minded as to how we train. You do not always need a 40 hour class of instruction to improve skills…A few minutes a day can make a world of difference in your abilities… Dry fire is nothing new. It has been taught for years and is one of the best kept secrets in developing marksmanship skills. Shift your mindset, adapt, take the safety precautions and drill set listed above and train.

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“In a world of limited resources and skills, individuals and groups form, dissolve and reform their cooperative or competitive postures in a continuous struggle to remove or overcome physical and social environmental obstacles. In a comparative sense, where skills and talents are pooled, the removal or overcoming of obstacles represents an improved capacity for independent action for all concerned. In a competitive sense, where individuals and groups compete for scarce resources and skills, an improved capacity for independent action achieved by some individuals or groups constrains that capacity for other individuals or groups. Naturally, such a combination of real world scarcity and goal striving to overcome this scarcity intensifies the struggle of individuals and groups to cope with both their physical and social environments.” ~COL John Boyd

The mission in writing is to generate a Discussion and is twofold. First and foremost to bring the strategic theories of John Boyd to those willing and wanting to learn them, as well as help those LESC members in seeking and acting on opportunities or as Boyd put it; “to improve the capacity for independent action” secondly as a student of John Boyd’s theories to increase my knowledge, and improve my abilities as well, through our discussions.

My focus in writing will not to be to repeat what’s already written, although I will quote often, Boyd’s words. Nor will I be attempting to explain the seemingly unrelated fields of mathematical logic, physics, and second law of thermodynamics, Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, or Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. These fields indeed do apply, yet in this fast paced world something’s are left up to individual initiative and learning at your own pace. Perhaps this independent exploration and learning will inspire questions amongst this group we can explore more deeply. Instead I will attempt to translate the meanings of Boyd’s theories, down to the level in which I have translated and applied them.

My field is law enforcement and security. I also have a military background. Most of my translation of Boyd’s work I have applied in that realm in an effort, to insure law enforcement and security officers as well as military personnel have the knowledge needed to develop situational awareness and make critical decisions under pressure in high risk rapidly changing and sometimes dangerous circumstances.  However Boyd’s theories do not apply to these realms alone. They apply to any competitive situation such as business trying to understand market trends or leaders of any organization trying to inspire initiative and innovation and more production. The Col John Boyd Strategy Group is effort to bring awareness of who Col John Boyd was and help those, part of this group understand how his theories and concepts, apply to the individual or organization in its own environment.

I thought strategically, Destruction and Creation was a great place to start our discussion because as Frans P.B. Osinga author of the book Science Strategy and War The Strategic Theories of John Boyd, Said; “The heart of the essay, Destruction and Creation is about the nature of knowledge,”  knowledge of our environment, ourselves and our adversaries or competitors. It is important strategically because it effects how we go about improving our capacity for independent action. Sun Tzu says; “Each battleground has its own rules. As a commander you must know where to go. You must examine each position closely.”

Destruction and Creation

Destruction and Creation was written by Boyd in 1976. According to Grant Hammond author of the book, The Mind of War John Boyd and American Security, it is the quest by Boyd to find scientific, mathematical and logical verification for principles Boyd knew instinctively were true. After exploration testing and refinement “destruction and creation” became the basis for most of Boyd’s thoughts thereafter in his quest to understand conflict and the competitive environment.

“To comprehend and cope with our environment we develop mental patterns or concepts of meaning. The purpose of this paper is to sketch out how we destroy and create these patterns to permit us to both shape and be shaped by a changing environment. In this sense, the discussion also literally shows why we cannot avoid this kind of activity if we intend to survive on our own terms. The activity is dialectic in nature generating both disorder and order that emerges as a changing and expanding universe of mental concepts matched to a changing and expanding universe of observed reality.”

This is the first paragraph of Destruction and Creation and as you can see it starts out deep and holds a lot of meaning. Understanding what it means is critical if we are to advance our position. The mental patterns Boyd speaks of here are developed uniquely and individually, from birth to present. The patterns of unfolding circumstances have different meanings to different people. Boyd explains elsewhere in his discourse on winning and losing the way we perceive situations is based on our cultural traditions, genetic heritage, previous experiences, new information gathered and analysis and synthesis of the situation presenting itself at the moment. Based on this we can see, we all may be observing a certain set of circumstances yet based on our backgrounds and experiences, as well as our position we are observing from we will have different interpretations as to what, is happening. Let me unitize a simplified example, from my own experience recently, while presenting a class on the Boyd Cycle to a University Campus Safety and Security agency.


During Alumni Weekend several complaints were received about an alumnus who was approaching people and trying to engage them in bizarre conversations. He began talking about a recent murder at another college and the FBI. Several of the complainants expressed concern for their families. They didn’t know if the person was dangerous.

The most recent complaint came from the Snack Bar. Officers responded but the individual was no longer present. No one saw where he went or in what direction. The officers received the following description. White, male, approximately 40 years of age, 5’8” 160-170 lbs, light brown hair, clean shaven, wearing jogging outfit with college logo.

While taking this information and checking the building another complaint was received from the athletic complex. This complaint was actually from the suspect alumnus. He wanted to complain that the gym “monitor” was not allowing him entry into the building. He wanted to make a formal complaint.

I ask. So you have the suspicious person and the activity on the “monitor?” Response, yes the monitor had him. I ask. You have his activity on the “monitor” and you can see what actually happened and can prove or disprove the activity, correct?   So what’s the problem? For those few seconds there was a complete look of confusion that came about the faces of the 20 students in the class. Then it finally hit me the MONITOR was a person! We had great laugh and at the same time a learning moment took place on the topic of “orientation” via the Boyd Cycle. Our orientations to circumstances are based on our experiences (all of them, birth to present) and how these experiences lead to our mental pattern recognition and our concept of meaning, (perception) of what’s going on?

My experiences with monitors were they were “things” computer monitor, CCTV monitor, heart rate monitor, etc. Not a person…As this simplistic story is being told I am visualizing the above described suspicious person and his activity being videotaped from a camera hanging on a wall in the gym. I formed an opinion based on my orientation to the story being explained, this orientation changed completely once my new experience and hence an understanding of the meaning of the word “monitor” in the college security environment.  Thereby Destruction and creation, destruction of my pattern or meaning formed by my interpretation of the word monitor, as I originally saw it, thus, create a new opinion based of the new information (monitor as a person) which reshaped my whole orientation and therefore decisions and actions I would take, or in this particular case, the advise I would offer in resolving this simplistic matter of a suspicious person.

When Boyd talks of mental patterns and concepts of meaning and the purpose of his discourse is to sketch out how we destroy and create these patterns to permit us to both shape and be shaped by a changing environment.  He is talking about adaptation! Our ability to be open-minded, willing to learn and evolve based on the five contributors to orientation (cultural traditions, genetic heritage, previous experiences, new information gathered and analysis and synthesis). This simple example above shows how the process of destruction and creation works. I was under no pressure, the risks were low and I had plenty of time to find the mismatch of my developed meaning of the word monitor verses the reality of what was meant by monitor in this set of circumstances. For a moment there was confusion and disorder and uncertainty, due to my failure to shape (adapt) initially to the campus environment. With this example in mind, you can see the need for our ability to understand this concept of destruction and creation to assist us in adapting to the constantly changing and unpredictable world, which intensifies as risk rises and time is short. If you fail at this you lose opportunity. A law enforcement or security officers lose could be life. If a business your lose could be revenue or an venture to increase revenue.

Boyd says; “Recalling that we use concepts or mental patterns to represent reality, it follows that the un-structuring and restructuring just shown reveals a way of changing our perception of reality.  Naturally, such a notion implies that the emerging pattern of ideas and interactions must be internally consistent and match-up with reality.  To check or verify internal consistency we try to see if we can trace our way back to the original constituents that were used in the creative or constructive induction. If we cannot reverse directions, the ideas and interactions do not go together in this way without contradiction. Hence, they are not internally consistent. However, this does not necessarily mean we reject and throw away the entire structure. Instead, we should attempt to identify those ideas (particulars) and interactions that seem to hold together in a coherent pattern of activity as distinguished from those ideas that do not seem to fit in. In performing this task we check for reversibility as well as check to see which ideas and interactions match-up with our observations of reality.  Using those ideas and interactions that pass this test together with any new ideas (from new destructive deductions) or other promising ideas that popped out of the original destructive deduction we again attempt to find some common qualities, attributes or operations to re-create the concept—or create a new concept. Also, once again, we perform the check for reversibility and match-up with reality. Over and over again this cycle of Destruction and Creation is repeated until we demonstrate internal consistency and match-up with reality.

Boyd called this process building Snow mobiles and went on to say if you cannot build snow mobiles you will not survive in the unpredictable rapidly changing world. “Without the interplay of analysis and synthesis one can evolve neither the hypothesis or design and follow-on test, not the original “simple minded message” nor this presentation itself.”    If we are closed minded and unwilling to explore new ideas and meanings of circumstances unfolding in front of us, we will lose in a competitive environment.

This post for the COL John Boyd Strategy Group sets the tone for what Boyd called “The Conceptual Spiral.”

A Conceptual Spiral for:

Exploration Doing Relearning
Discovery Achieving Comprehending
Innovation Learning Shaping
Thinking Unlearning Adapting

Hence a Conceptual Spiral for Generating:

Insight! Imagination! Initiative!

The next post we will discuss the Conceptual Spiral and how to build experience and pattern recognition and build “snow mobiles” as Boyd put it. Any thoughts or comments as well as areas you would like to expand upon please feel free to . That’s what the Group is about, ongoing discussion and dialog amongst students of strategy. 

Stay Oriented!


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An understanding of the strategic decision making grows more important everywhere every day both for individuals and at every level of every organization. Globalization and the communication revolution are reshaping how we work and how we relate to one another. Our world is emerging the industrial age into the information age world. The industrial world was defined by hierarchical organizations and preplanned processes. The networked world is defined by interconnected organizations and adaptive processes. This new world demands decision constant making about how to adapt to a the dynamic environment.

One of the basic principles of adaptive strategy is that change creates opportunity. The opportunity here comes from the fact that this new world is bringing us more and more choices and more and more connections, but the challenges is that all these choices require adaptive not linear decision-making.  Adaptive thinking is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

From Directed Work to Decision Work

In our changing world, we are judged less and less on our willingness and ability to follow orders. Instead, the research shows that employers are expecting us to make more and more decisions ourselves. As decision workers, our success depends increasingly on the quality of our decisions. The quality of our decisions depends on understanding our situation and how to use opportunities in the environment.

From Planning to Everyday Decisions

The reasearch also shows that executing strategy is less and less about long-term planning and more and more about making better decisions every day. We have the same problems executing our personal strategy that businesses have executing corporate strategy.  A recent study into the execution of corporate strategy concluded:

“Execution is the result of thousands of decisions made every day by employees acting according to the information they have and their own self-interest.”

Most of us still have linear expectations in an adaptive world. In a linear world, we fell in love, got married, had children, raise those children together, and grew old together. In a dynamic world, we can no longer take relationships for granted. If we don’t  constantly work to advance them, they simply fall apart.

Despite the wealth of opportunities in our more dynamic world, more and more people are stuck in their linear thinking, trying to find a direction. More and more people fail to make progress and instead are simply buffeted around in an increasingly turbulent world.

From Internal Efficiency to External Effectiveness

In today’s world, the latest research shows that real strategy is no longer determed from the top down but created from the bottom up. Even the largest organizations must continually adapt to their environment to survive Increasingly,  organizations depends on your front-line decisions. Strategy is set on the front lines long before it is officially recognized by headquarters. The difference between success and failure is your front-line ability to recognize and leverage new opportunities.

If you are still using linear thinking in this increasingly adaptive world, you are going to find yourself less and less successful over time.

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Next is the Commander. He must be smart, trustworthy, caring, brave, and strict. ~Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu describes the commanders traits with five words, smart, trustworthy, caring, brave and strict. These qualities in my view describe a persons character. A leader must possess the strength of character to insure he takes  all these qualities into consideration to be effective at inspiring others. In the law enforcement and security professions decisions need to be made at times rapidly in uncertain circumstances. Leadership is the main component of insuring a fluid decision making cycle. Leadership must reduce the friction through practicing these basic qualities Sun Tzu describes.

The intelligence of an individual leader and his ability to adapt that intelligence to the job at hand is a key component of leadership. Leading by example is a powerful tool and a leader must have the knowledge of his job to insure others will follow. Leaders must be constantly  learning and evolving to meet the changing, conventional and unconventional  threats we face. The leader must know how to communicate effectively, must understand the nature of conflict and how it unfolds.  The leader must understand strategy and tactics essential to detecting, avoiding, defusing and resolving conflict, if he is to reduce conflict and win, the dynamic encounters law enforcement  and security professionals respond to.  The law enforcement and security leader must know the rules of engagement, and the laws governing these rules, the risk stake involved in these encounters and still respond effectively. Another important component to a leaders knowledge is that Sun Tzu’s theories are based on winning without conflict. However law enforcement and security are in many cases responding to violent conflict already in progress with high emotion and violence. The leaders knowledge of strategy and tactics must take into consideration, de-escalation techniques, climate and positioning based on the environment. Decisions must be made as to which members on the team qualifies, and placed in the position, with the best chance to resolve the matter by first reducing and then resolving the situation without escalation of conflict, if possible. Leaders must also consider contingencies and prepare for a more dynamic response by positioning other members of the organization if escalation is necessary.

An important component to consider, of the leaders intelligence and knowledge is, not to mistake it for I “the leader” needs to be the best at and know everything. Not true, what you do need to know is who on the team is the best at , whatever method we are looking to employ, and have the strength of character along with the social and emotional intelligence to admit it to yourself. Then direct and inspire that person or persons to accomplish that particular task(s). The leader must swallow his/her EGO, do and share what he knows and delegate what he does not. This begins paving the way to trustworthiness.  

Trustworthy, to be honest and straight forward is one of the most important traits those being led respond to. If we as a leader fail to be honest ,we lose respect of those we lead and organizational productivity and overall mission is put in great jeopardy. People do not trust those who show lack of character and double talking. Say what you mean and mean what you say and then do it. If its a commendation, give it! If its a mistake made, even by yourself admit it and fix the problem, so the mistake, does not happen again. If a mistake warrants discipline…discipline face to face and be honest in discussing the failure and the punishment to be doled out.  It is amazing what people will accept in reward and in punishment  when they sense it comes from a fair and trustworthy leader.

Trustworthiness in a leader, leads to cohesion or “MUTUAL TRUST” which is the lubricant of a fluid, agile, learning organization.  Mutual trust takes place and shows itself in an organization where the leaders trust those frontline personnel to accomplish the mission and those frontline personnel trust they will be supported in completing the mission. Law Enforcement and security professionals often act alone with no leaders present on scene at the moment of decision. Developed “mutual trust” is paramount to ensuring unity and focus which leads to individual insight, imagination and initiative. It leads to optimal situational awareness and critical decision making, which in turn leads to appropriate action.  “If you would create something, you must be something.” ~Goethe

A leader must be caring, yes caring! Leaders often get positions of authority and forget this critical component. We must show we care about our people and their feelings if we are to inspire and create innovative people. By caring a leader should show an uncommon commitment to the organizational goals and the goals of individuals in the organization. We do this by creating the best people, through sharing information (COMMUNICATING, via WORDS AND ACTIONS) and training and educating our people so they can be effective on the street or frontlines. Caring for members of the organization is also shown through the two previously discussed traits intelligence and trustworthiness.

Sometimes despite our best intentions things go wrong in heated dynamic encounters faced by law enforcement and security professionals. All organizations face failure and mistakes but in our professions that mistake can mean the difference between life and death, human life and death. In these moments a leader must be brave and press on and face adversity. this involves risk. Mistakes, failure is often seen in only a bad light, but the true strategist, tactician and leader understands, more is learned from failure and that failure is part of chaotic dynamic encounters. It takes true strength of character and courage to advance and complete the mission despite adversity during and in the aftermath of an encounter.

Bravery, courage can be shown physically by facing physical challenges of an armed individual and resolving that threat accordingly. Courage also is internally, known as moral courage where you as a leader stand up for, support, your people in an effort to show the well meaning intent of your organization. It also means admitting mistakes and challenging others to learn from and adapt the lessons learned to future problems. In today’s climate where explicit answers are sought even for dynamic encounters that require implicit judgments’ in rapidly changing circumstances a leader must be brave and “dare what seem like the impossible” and face the adversity head on! “Who dares, wins” ~ British SAS motto

To accomplish our goals as an individual or organization, Sun Tzu says we as leaders must be strict. We must be willing to do what needs to be done. This includes a deep look into ourselves as leaders, a self assessment, to ensure were are indeed the best leader, we can be. We must be willing to lead even in unpleasant situations, after all that is when a true leader shows the stuff he/she is made of.  You must be there to lead and be seen taking charge in a variety of situations. This has a tremendous effect on  the focus of an organization. So get out in front and be in charge, suffer the hardships and assume the risks and share the victories and defeats. You will be amazed at how this affects the morale and overall unity and focus of an organization in meeting its goals.

Leadership is a key to effective decision making and the overall performance of individuals and hence the organization. People in an organization depend upon leaders, so we must commit ourselves to the leadership qualities Sun Tzu describes, and inspire  total commitment from others. Do not let lack of leadership be the friction in your organization, there is enough uncertainty, chaos and complexity and new information being processed in dynamic encounters to make decision making difficult enough. The will to win starts with the top. Take charge and be the leader you know, you can be.and build a thriving organizational culture!

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

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Some may see how to win. However, they cannot position their forces where they must. This demonstrates limited ability. ~Sun Tzu

Strategic analysis of Sun Tzu’s five factors in a given set of circumstances leads to developing an implicit understanding of what’s going on amidst the initial chaos and uncertainty. I use the term implicit even though, we do gather as much explicit information as we can, via methods and positioning. In conflict there is always judgment made based on an intuitive understanding through analysis and synthesis, what the intelligence is telling us. We must utilize methods to (1) help us gather more information (knowledge) so we can gain a position of advantage and (2) gain control of the situation when the adversary is at a disadvantage. The methods you utilize help in achieving this advantage and timing.

In the last post I talked about methods in general terms and gave an example and some ideas as to possible methods for utilization in an effort to get a positive outcome in the described incident that lead to the death of two officers (http://www.scienceofstrategy.org/main/?q=content/sun-tzus-methods-implementing-strategythrough-presence-mind-and-sound-tactics) . In this post and the next several, I would like to get a bit more specific as to what methods (tactics) are and the difference between the science (knowledge) and art (application) in the tactical realm of conflict as it applies to law enforcement and security.

“In tactics, the most important thing is not whether you go left or right, but why you go left or right.” ~A. M. Gray United States Marine Corps

The United States Marine Corps defines tactics as “the art and science of winning engagements and battles.” Tactics refers to the concepts and methods we use to accomplish a particular objective in either armed violent conflict or operations other than armed conflict such as natural disasters or manmade critical incidents we respond to. When we first arrive at a particular situation you do not know enough about the situation so we must be cautious and defensive. We must be able to select the appropriate methods in resolving these incidents peacefully, without further carnage, to win without escalating conflict if at all possible. We must know when to be defensive and when to attack and which methods to apply.

To meet our objective we must understand that tactics are both an art and a science. The science of tactics is the easiest part in my view to teach and learn, although through study, training and hard work. The science of tactics encompasses the formations, how to move, search, defend and take the initiative based on the battleground and climate we find ourselves in. This is task specific, a mechanistic breakdown of the critical tasks surrounding methods that are known to work. In training, the methods we teach include; one man tactical response, two man tactical response, team tactics, 4 or 8 man stack, the diamond formation, slow and deliberate entries verses dynamic entries, driver side or passenger side approach, walk backs or walk ups during an unknown risk vehicle stops as well as felony stops procedures on a known high risk stop. Also, tactics are utilizing cover and concealment, contact/cover principles, as well as tactical communications. Speed, surprise, action and deception are also methods that help gain more information and the advantage. The reactionary gap and relative positioning are also important methods to understand. Another tactical concept is situational awareness which is the key to your overall assessment of the tactical environment. This lists just a few of the tactics and methods taught and knowledge of these methods, how they are meant to be applied to the street under a variety of conditions can be considered the science of tactics.

The art of tactics is knowing conflict has three dimensions (moral, mental and physical), which methods to use, when to use them, and whether or not, you stick strictly to the way you were taught or have the tactical decision making ability, to adapt and deviate from the orthodox (traditional methods taught) or to adapt the unorthodox (non-traditional way) to fit the rapidly changing situation. The art of utilizing methods combines the knowhow and how too, the cognitive (awareness and decision making) with the physical abilities tactics require, under pressure when risk is high and time is critical.

This ability to take your knowledge of strategy and tactics, and translate them fluidly and physically in a given set of circumstances on the street, based on your orientation at the time coupled with, an understanding you are in a position to succeed, is paramount to success, winning and survival. The tactical arena is a dynamic, ever-changing environment. The complexity of this environment makes conflict chaotic and unpredictable. The art and science of tactics must be utilized in synergy, if we are to gain the advantage and bring order to disorder. Keeping in mind; losing lies within you and winning lies with the adversary.

The methods you use are also based on how you are working i.e. Are you a single officer, do you have back-up units available, or are you part of a tactical team? Teams must work in sync with one another and therefore must, in most cases (although there are exceptions) stay within the cohesive confines of how they train. Although they must still, be able to adapt as a team to changing conditions. Individuals working alone can be more flexible in their movement and the methods they use, but must also communicate the situation and their changing position.

The best methods (tactics) are based on observing history and what has worked over time and are adaptable to a variety of situations. They are to be used, based on circumstances you are in, presently. Methods you use will be paramount at helping you gather more information and knowledge to assess the climate of the situation. You must remember to be flexible and adjust to the situation using appropriate tactics to step by step seize the initiative. Adaptability is the key!

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