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July 12, 2019

Online Learning for Everyone

One of the most common questions that we receive from organizations here at The CP Journal is how they can deliver our Tactical Analysis training program to their entire team using our online learning platform at Because we get this question often, we want to share this post to outline how organizations can implement our online learning platform into their existing processes whether they currently use technology-based learning or not.

For those of you that are unsure if our program and platform are right for you, we encourage you to spend more time on our blog to better understand our methodology and training foundations. If you are already familiar with our training tenets, but have not yet seen our online platform, you can check out the first few modules for free by choosing a version of the course towards the bottom of this page. Assuming you have decided that you want to incorporate our course into your training curriculum, we have three main requirements to scale the content to everyone:

  1. Each student must have a unique, valid e-mail address in order to be properly enrolled in the course.
  2. Each organization must allow communication between The CP Journal and their teams via e-mail so that we can send instructions and make ourselves available for support as needs come up.
  3. Each student must have access to the Internet to access the course material. Because we continually make updates and enhancements to the courses, we house all of our materials in our Virtual Academy, which requires Internet capabilities to stream.

While we have become the first online learning platform for

December 6, 2017

Reporting for Leadership Teams: The CP Journal Dashboard

Image Description: Snapshot of the dashboard outputs, user information, and course results

In a recent post on The CP Journal Blog, “How to Leverage Our Content for Your Team,” we highlighted how organizations use our online courses as continuing education for their entire teams. In that post, we mentioned the dashboards and reports that we offer to organizations with large teams participating in our online Tactical Analysis Training Program®.  Since then, we’ve received some questions about ways in which organizations can keep track of their team’s progress and course results while training with us. We wanted to go ahead and share how the dashboards and reports are built, what they can include, and the way teams are using them to ensure everyone in the program is improving their skills in behavioral analysis.

The dashboards that we build, customize, and provide for our online clients at The CP Journal are a compilation of course results for each user going through the modules within our training courses. For every team that chooses to train with us that also wants dashboard capabilities, we set up access to a shared database that shows the team user list and their progress through the program.  Some of the content is automatically fed onto the page, and course results are included once people complete the modules within the courses.  The details on each user can be as basic or as detailed as our clients want, and the course results can include results from any or all quizzes and tests embedded in the program. These features make the dashboards highly customizable and easy to understand because we only include the information that each client really wants.

These dashboards were originally created at the request of

November 13, 2017

How to Leverage Our Content for Your Team 

Here at The CP Journal, we’re often asked how protectors can leverage our content to make it effective and actionable for teams of people within their organization. More specifically, they are looking at how best to take the education of an individual person and scale it to a larger team and, in some cases, their entire organization. Because of the frequency of this question, we’ve outlined some of the most popular ways here. If you have other ways that you’re scaling our content out to your entire team, please let us know so that we can share that information with the rest of our audience and empower even more people to learn the skills that we teach.

First and foremost, many organizations purchase our online Tactical Analysis Program® for their entire team.  The benefits that our clients see in using our online course for their teams is that they know they can trust that everyone is seeing and hearing the same message, that individual team members can view the content on their own time and re-watch any modules as often as they like, and that leaders can see where there were deficiencies during the training that need reinforcement as an after action review. We offer organizational pricing and dashboards for leadership, making it more cost-effective and easier to get everyone on their teams trained efficiently.  Dashboards are customizable report cards that we share with team leaders to see who has been set up with access and who has completed the program. They also display course results to track how well everyone did on the quizzes and tests throughout the program.

If this is beyond the scope for your team, many organizations make

May 17, 2017

When Is Good, Good Enough? How Leaders Should Talk About Standards of Excellence

The question, “When is good, good enough?” was recently posed to readers in Brian Willis’ law enforcement and training related newsletter What’s Important Now?, which focuses on ways to prioritize decisions in our lives. The question came from one of his readers who is training foreign police officers but is having trouble getting them to meet the standards of the training he is tasked with developing. Conversations about standards and the level of training needed for operators in any protector related profession are essential to have, yet they can often be frustrating. Without an objectively defined goal and end state for each person in your team or organization, it can be easy to be fooled into thinking that the progress you’ve made to get to the level of good, is actually good enough, when it truly isn’t. In this article, I’ll take a look at a few different aspects of what goes into a conversation about standards so that leaders can continue to advance their organizations in the face of constant change.

Avoiding Predictable Pitfalls While Talking About Standards

Before we begin to talk about what should go into a discussion about performance standards, the first thing a leader needs to decide is who will be involved in the conversation. In our work with our clients in the military, law enforcement and security industries, the number one pre-event indicator to an ineffective meeting about ways to elevate an organization through training is when the person leading the meeting has not given deliberate consideration to who will be taking part in the process. While the desire to want to cast a wide net and include many different people in a conversation about performance standards is natural and can be seen as a safer option than only including a few people, the decision to do that is far riskier than it may initially appear.

When evaluating and working to improve an organization through training, there will be two groups or people involved in the process. There will be the people involved in the defining of performance standards and there will be the people responsible for doing the planning to make that a reality. While the planners and support personnel (administrators and trainers) can be in the meeting where standards are defined, it is important that they understand they play a supporting role to the person who is in the room to talk about the operational requirements of the men and women in the organization. The involvement of administrators and trainers should only begin once the standard has been defined and set by the leader of the organization.

The reason why failing to distinguish between these two groups of stakeholders is such a problem is because support personnel have different professional responsibilities, priorities and concerns than the operationally focused person does. As a result, the planners and administrators can have a tendency to bring a conversation to the specifics of what it will take to do something before the end-state is clearly defined, leading to distractions and frustrations from everyone involved. To keep a meeting on track and focused on the essential parts of establishing the standards, the next section will highlight the four key components of a performance related standard.

Establishing Standards: The Four Operation Focused Factors

To talk about the standards of excellence that members of a team should meet in order to be successful in an operational setting in a rational and objective way, there are four distinct factors that should be considered.

The first is:

July 29, 2016

How Often Can I Rewatch Training Modules?

One of the questions that we often get from online students before they choose to train with us is in regards to viewing and reviewing the individual training modules included in our training programs.

One of our primary goals at The CP Journal is to get the information, content, and materials that we have built and continue to enhance into the hands of the people that truly need it and want it.  Because of that, we make our online training modules and courses reviewable as often as the individual student would like.

Early on in the feedback process we heard from online students that they often felt the need to rewatch certain modules over and over again to really internalize the material and get to the understanding of being able to implement the behaviors in their own day-to-day lives. With this feedback in mind, once you purchase an online training course from us and choose to train in our online learning environment, we want to make sure you have the flexibility to rewatch any lessons as often as you would like.

As we continue to enhance our courses and add new material, you will continue to have access. If you are unsure whether there have been updates since last you logged in, you can visit our Course Road Map and see if there have been any updates to the materials.

Thank you to our online students who continue to incorporate our training programs into their larger initiative to improve situational awareness and understanding of human behavior. Please continue to direct any questions pertaining to our online learning programs to:


July 18, 2016

Can I Add Level 2 After Starting the Basic Course?

We’ve gotten a few questions recently from our students who have purchased our Basic course and wish to add the Advanced content before they finish the Basic course.  We thought it might make sense to share a short post about the current status of that option, the rationale for why it is set up that way, and the steps to get all of the content that you want.

At present, you can choose to train with us either in our Basic or Advanced online programs before purchasing any program.  The Basic program includes eight hours of our Level 1 content with relevant scenarios for the version that you choose.  The Advanced course includes all of the content from Basic and a second level of eight-hour content to take the training a step further.  If you choose to begin training with us in our Basic course, at present, we only make available the option to add Level 2 (Advanced) content at the conclusion of the course.

We don’t make the individual Level 2 course add-on available on our purchase page because of the pre-requisite course requirements that are set up with our online training software.  Because we offer different programs for the different client markets that we operate in, some people may purchase Level 2 of a different course, and be thoroughly confused as to why the content isn’t lining up.

At the conclusion of Level 1, you will see the option to add-on Level 2 and continue training with us.  We trust that you will continue to find the content engaging, so much so that you will still want to purchase Level 2 when the option presents itself.  We are continuing to make content and course experience enhancements to our training and greatly value the feedback that we receive from our online students.

Please continue to send us feedback on your experiences and never hesitate to let us know any time you have any other questions. We are glad to help.  We can be reached directly via e-mail at


February 29, 2016

Left of Bang Webinar


Last week, I had the privilege of conducting a webinar with the Boston Chapter of the FBI’s Citizen’s Academy Alumni Association, where I could talk about how security professionals and concerned citizens could enhance their situational awareness to proactively recognize threats and get left of bang. In case you missed it or would like to learn more about our behavioral approach to recognizing violent people before an attack begins, you can watch the video here.

We ran out of time at the end of the presentation preventing a live Q and A with the attendees, so we have answered all of the questions that we received during the webinar here as well. We received some incredible questions, which allowed us to talk about how behavioral analysis supports acceleration through the OODA loop, learning where and how to begin your search for violent people, and the decisions that are available to people once they have recognized a criminal trying to hide amongst the crowd.

With nearly 20 questions that we answered and a transcript of an hour long presentation, this post became quite long, so we have put together a table of contents here so that you can find the section you are searching for. If our responses to the questions below creates follow on questions, please feel free to let us know by contacting us.

If you prefer to read a transcript of the talk instead of watching the video, scroll to the section below the last question labeled “Transcript” to be at the beginning of the speaking notes.

A Note On Questions

As we consolidated the questions that were asked, we realized that a number of them were about related topics, so if you don’t see the exact question that you asked in the following list, look for a related topic as it was likely rolled into that question.

  • Question #1: Of the four pillars of behavior, what is the 4th one?
  • Question #2: As a concerned citizen one of the main things I am interested in is identifying a threat that might be selecting me for a violent attack. How would you use these concepts to do this?
  • Question #3: How would the concept of Left of Bang blend with the OODA Loop?
  • Question #4: What is the first or series of steps to take should you feel that something is moving toward bang? More specifically, what exactly can I do if I assess a threat?
  • Question #5: Would you shoot to kill an active shooter in a mall or office if you had a good chance to do so?
  • Question #6: Is there a way to use the Six Domains after a baseline is established to narrow down what we are looking at to just aggressive clusters?
  • Question #7: How can organizations get more information, schedule a presentation or receive additional training?
  • Question #8: There is always a concern about the cost for prevention and how to quantify the need for budgeting/spending on prevention measures, how do you address this concern?
  • Question #9: Can you comment on how law enforcement feels about having citizens with a CCW trying to assist?
  • Question 10: Can you apply the “Four Pillars of Observable Behavior” to the Colorado movie theater shooting?
    • Question #11: Would the person leaving the theater have been the “alarm” or the noteworthy behavior? If so, what could have been done?
    • Question #12: If you can address the Colorado shooting would that person have been paying attention to the screen or be having a different attitude or clear visual that we would look for.
  • Question #13: Are there specific things we can use in event/large public venue situations?
  • Question #14: Where can we obtain a copy of the book?
  • Question #15: Which of the courses offered by The CP Journal are most appropriate for concerned citizens?
  • Question #16: What if the threat is the one nearest to you, e.g., a best friend of 30 years?
  • Question #17: How long will it take for a person to become proficient at behavioral analysis?
  • Question #18: How fast can anomalies be recognized in a crowd?
  • Question #19: If I have a question after I read the answers to the questions that were provided, how can I ask that question in the future?

February 19, 2016

Upcoming Threat Preparedness Webinar: February 25, 2016

We are honored and excited to be included as part of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association’s upcoming Threat Preparedness Webinar Series.  On February 25th, we will be presenting the one-hour webinar, “Getting Left of Bang”.  The purpose of the session will be to share insights on improving situational awareness by applying the skills and concepts written about in the book, “Left of Bang” and taught through our training programs at The CP Journal.

The session is offered complimentary by the Boston Chapter of the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.  They have successfully conducted multiple in-person active shooter/threat workshops in the past are now offering many of their guest speakers through this Threat Preparedness Webinar Series.  Here is some more information on the organization and the web-based series.

All security related professionals in business, education, retail, and healthcare, local, state and federal law enforcement and concerned citizens are welcome to attend this complimentary webinar presented by Patrick Van Horne, co-author of Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life, US Marine and co-founder of The CP Journal.

Here are the details on the event and please don’t hesitate to share this link with others that you feel can benefit from the session.  Thank you, as always, for your continued support for the work that we are doing.

Date: Thursday, February 25, 2016

Time: 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST

Cost: Free

Location: Online (web-based, pre-registration required)

Registration Link


January 18, 2016

Help Video #5: How do I ask questions while taking your class online?

Return to Frequently Asked Question


BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) – Here Are The Most Basic Answers To This Frequently Asked Question

  • Can I ask the instructor a question while going through the online class? Yes.
  • How do I ask those questions? There is a link in every module that lets students ask a question via email.
  • Who will answer the question?
    • If the question is related to the content being taught in the program, the instructor will be the one who personally answers the question.
    • If the question is technical in nature or related to the learning management system platform, a member from our support team will be the one to provide a response.
  • How long will it take to get a response? That answer depends on the depth of the question. Every question will be responded to or acknowledged within 24 hours (on business days). If the question requires a longer/more developed answer than what can be generated in that time, the students will be notified that the instructor needs more time to provide a thorough/complete answer and will be in touch as soon as possible.
  • What happens if the answer provided doesn’t actually answer my question? We keep going until the topic becomes clear and the answer provided has actually solved the problem the student is facing.

Video Transcript

August 27, 2015

Accessing and Navigating A Course

Return to Frequently Asked Question


Video Transcript and Written Explanation

August 23, 2015

The Tactical Analysis Advanced Course is Available

Depending on where you are in the world and what types of risks you are concerned about encountering on a daily basis, the challenge of recognizing threats can appear to be daunting.

  • Members of the military may be overseas and deployed into any country on short notice.
  • Police officers can find themselves in an unfamiliar area of town.
  • Executive protection professionals could be conducting an advance and doing surveillance detection in a country that they’ve never been to before.
  • Corporate security professionals may be preparing employees to travel abroad into areas they are unfamiliar with.

How does a professional prepare for these types of situations? Because being an anomaly is a relative term – for someone to stand out and attract your attention, they have to stand out from something – the most capable protectors are the ones who have built an extensive database of experiences allowing them to quickly realize what is normal for the area they’re in and the people within it. Historically, developing this understanding hasn’t been done in a deliberate or repeatable way. It has been left to chance and is often done without any conscious attention.

The problem with that unstructured approach to building a database of knowledge is that it limits who becomes capable of recognizing threats. It becomes hard to pass those experiences and that intuitive understanding of “normal” on to others. The result of an unrepeatable process is often one of two things. One common result is that people are unsure of exactly what they have been told because it wasn’t done in a clear way, which causes them to doubt themselves the first time they are actually consciously assessing someone or an area. The other scenario is that in the absence of valid pre-event indicators, they rely on inaccurate biases and subjective definitions of what the baseline for an area is. Naturally, neither one of these outcomes is desirable.

Until today, the solution to this problem was only taught to elite military and law enforcement units through intensive training seminars. With the addition of the Tactical Analysis Advanced Course to The CP Journal’s online Academy, the process to deliberately establish a baseline by reading human behavior is now available to all of the professionals who serve our country in the military, police our streets and protect us from attacks. For the people who are expected to be capable of proactively preventing violence, the challenge of being able to clearly define the norm in an area, so that anomalies present themselves, is no longer a hurdle that can’t be overcome.

With over six hours of video lessons and real world examples, the Advanced Course expands on the behaviors taught in the Basic Program to provide our students with the ability to read three of the four pillars of observable behavior and the process to establish a baseline through sequential searches. Following the lessons designed to teach the process and the behaviors, the course shows students how to conduct a red team analysis on your baseline so that you can look at the area from your adversary’s perspective and find the vulnerabilities that they could exploit in their crimes and attacks. The class teaches you how to figure out what is going on in the areas being observed and how to anticipate what will make someone stand out from the crowd, so that you can be prepared to be proactive against anyone who requires investigation or action.

According to many of our clients, the biggest takeaway from the Advanced Course wasn’t just the ability to make the observations and assessments needed to get left of bang, but also the newfound capability to clearly articulate and explain what led them to recognize someone who warrants attention. The way that you can learn to do this is by learning:

  • How to assess the collective mood of an area.
  • How to read the environment.
  • How to conduct a hasty and deliberate search.
  • How to think like the adversary to find holes in the baseline that could be exploited.

In the Advanced Course you will learn how to do these things while using real life events and situations to elevate your situational awareness to a level of informed awareness. Knowing how to look for threats and knowing what cues will make the adversary stand out from the crowd is what separates the professionals who are information hunting from the amateurs who are information hoping. The baselining process taught in the Tactical Analysis Advanced Course helps professionals reduce the uncertainty that is inherent in military, police and security operations so that getting left of bang isn’t just a tagline, but the new reality.

When you’re ready to be empowered to take control of your personal safety and shorten the time required to be proficient in analyzing your environment, make the baselining process yours by taking The CP Journal’s Tactical Analysis Advanced Course.

Start Training Today


April 1, 2015

Did you read Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life?

Test yourself to see how much of the information from the book you retained and can apply in your life. This multiple choice quiz contains questions stemming from the material in each section of the book and highlights some of the most important elements of a behavioral analysis approach to threat recognition.

After the quiz is over, see how you stack up against others who have taken the quiz by viewing the leaderboard.

To take the quiz – head over to our Academy