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October 5, 2011

Battling Bad Science is a place that I often turn to for fresh ideas.  Hearing the thoughts from experts in their field is a great way to learn.  As you are seeing in the content here in The CP Journal, we are not unique.  We don’t take credit for doing the scientific research behind what we teach in Tactical Analysis and we also weren’t the ones to put these 6 domains together for the first time.  We just want to find ways of applying that information to help our military, law enforcement and security personnel stay left of bang.

October 4, 2011

The Professional – The Warrior Ethos

When it comes to identifying what it means to be a professional, we certainly aren’t the experts.  There are some out there that have done a great deal more research, have put in more thought, and written more about history’s warrior elite than I could ever attempt.  We willingly give credit where it is due.

Take a look at Steven Pressfield’s blog on the “Warrior Ethos.” Or, better yet, get the book.  His research on what it means to choose the life of the warrior, utilizing stories and examples, is humbling.  The blog has excerpts from the book, and it talks about those who have fought from the time of the Spartans to modern day Marines.  He touches on Alexander, the Israelis, and provokes thought by asking if terrorist and mobsters have earned this title of warrior.

Even if you are a veteran of multiple deployments and have already earned the title of professional warrior, Warrior Ethos will provide insight into your peers throughout history.  If you are just beginning your military career, there is more inspiration per page in this book than most others.  Either way, it is certainly worth the read.

Want to see other books that we have read and recommend? Take a look at our complete reading list for our other suggestions.

October 3, 2011

Video 1: Robbery At Denny’s

Watch the video and determine at what point you KNOW something is going to happen.    The comments section will have my breakdown of the video, but add in your observations as you may see something different.

Watch the video multiple times.  The goal of the video is to build your file folders for threat behavior, increasing your ability to identify these behaviors in real-time.

Establishment of these File Folders is what will allow you to become effective at Predicting threats before they occur.

Background for Video

On July 1, 2011, at around 3:16 a.m., an African-American male entered a Denny’s restaurant located in the 3700 block of Wilshire Boulevard. Posing as a customer, the suspect walked up to the front counter and placed an order with a restaurant employee. After the cashier opened the register the suspect pulled out a handgun, reached around the counter and started to pull out money and the drawer from inside the cash register. Once the cash and drawer were in his hands, the suspect ran out the front door and into a black, non-descript vehicle and drove east on Wilshire Boulevard.


October 3, 2011

The Professional

If your occupation involves the possibility that you could get killed or that you may have to save the life of someone else, you don’t have a job. You have a profession.  Being a professional is a term that gets thrown around quite often, and it is usually reserved for that person who does not accept mediocrity, but instead puts in the extra time and effort to be the best.  Even in fields where everyone should display those characteristics, like the military or law enforcement, not everyone is a true professional.  There will always be those that are content with maintaining the status quo, that don’t have the drive to better themselves, which may be due to them enjoying the respect earned by having the title of Marine or Soldier or Police Officer. They aren’t willing to go the extra mile to separate themselves from their peers.  This blog and site is not for them.  This blog is designed for the true professionals.

October 2, 2011

There Is No Damn 6th Sense!

It absolutely drives me crazy when people talk about the 6th Sense.  When I hear it, whether it is from a student or another instructor, I lose my mind.  So I ask them, “what is the 6th sense?”  Please define for me what this 6th sense is.  I am aware of and believe in the 5 accepted senses: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing, but I don’t know what this mythical 6th sense is.

I have been given a number of answers:

September 30, 2011

Understanding The Limbic System Is Like Telling Time

If you were going to spend the time to teach someone how to tell time, you would likely explain that there are 24 hours in a day, divided into (2) twelve-hour segments with AM coming before PM, each of those hours divided into 60 minutes, and each minute into 60 seconds.  Once they understood this framework, you might then show them a clock, teaching them that the small hand identifies the hour and the long hand identifies the minute, and through this explanation your student would walk away with an understanding of how to tell time.

September 29, 2011

The 6 Domains of Tactical Analysis

There are 6 domains used in Tactical Analysis that provide us with 6 different ways to look at the world.  When you put these domains together, they allow you to predict what human beings are going to do.

For all of the following domains, a profiler has to establish a baseline (the norm for the area) and only then will he be able to hunt for the anomaly (those deviations from the baseline.)  The domains should be used to quantify and communicate what your baseline is as well as to let you pick out those anomalies that pose a threat.

Kinesics: The study of body language.  Being able to identify a person’s emotional state based off their body language provides an incredible insight into that person’s mind.  Are they dominant or submissive?  Are they comfortable or uncomfortable?  Are they interested or uninterested?  All of these cues will let us predict what a person is about to do. Kinesics does not merely involve the study of facial expressions, but rather takes into consideration the entire body.

Biometric Cues: Uncontrollable bodily reactions in response to the world around us.  Whether observing someone whose pupils are dilated or constricted, if they are blushing or pale, someone with a dry mouth, or someone with an increased blink rate are all cues that let us know how that person is perceiving people and objects around them.

Proxemics: The study of interpersonal relationships. By analyzing how people use the space around them, we can begin to understand their relationships with those people they are surrounded by.  Being able to assess what people are attracted to (proxemic pull) and what they avoid (proxemic push) will let us get into the collective mind of the group.  Proxemics can be observed up close to people during conversation or from hundreds of meters away using binoculars.  Proxemics can also be used to identify the key leader of any given group.

Geographics: The study of people’s relationship with their environment.  Understanding which areas of the neighborhood or the building you are in that everyone feels comfortable going to (habitual areas) and those areas that only a select group of people have access to (anchor points) can provide us with an anticipated baseline and pattern for the people who are visiting that area.  Identifying how people move through their terrain (natural lines of drift) will also let us identify those who are either familiar or unfamiliar with the area.

Iconography: The displays that people use to express what they believe in.  By observing the flags and colors that represent their groups, clothing choices, bumper stickers, graffiti, tattoos, and posters will give us a window into their motivations.  People who are willing to make a statement through a piece of iconography are often displaying their beliefs and ideals and are often times willing to fight for that belief.  Understanding what a person believes in will also assist us in predicting their future actions.

Atmospherics: The collective attitude and feel of an area.  Is it positive or negative?  By continually asking yourself if the behaviors, emotions, attitudes, and objects that you are observing match your baseline, you will be able to identify those individuals who don’t fit in.  Drastic changes and shifts in the baseline atmospherics will let you know when a threat is imminent.  Your intuition will very often perceive this threat well ahead of your conscious recognition of it.

When pieces to a few of the domains or all six come together, they are what are going to let us put a person’s behavior into the context of their environment and determine what they are going to do in the future.  Not only will it let us identify their intentions, but also let us communicate our predictions and observations to others.

To see why these domains are the ones we rely on, take a look at the article explaining the function and the framework that the domains provide

September 28, 2011

Where Is the Enemy Going?

The Combat Hunter Program that we teach consists of much more than just combat profiling.  The other significant portion of the program ties in combat tracking.  (The Marine Corps really likes to add the word “combat” to things to make it sound intense: human profiling became “combat profiling” and man-tracking became “combat tracking.”)  These two skills, both focusing on understanding humans and how they interact with their environment, relate to each other in a number of ways.

While the tracking team is conducting their follow up (the act of man-tracking,) the team leader is continuously asking himself a series of questions about the person or group he is following.  Where is he going?  Does he know he is being followed?  If he does know that he is being followed, how is he going to react?  If I were being followed, where would I set up an ambush?

To get into his head and begin thinking like him, the team leader is pulling information from the trackers: how fast he is moving, if he is wounded or limping, if he has indicated that he is carrying a weapon, if he is moving alone, if he is turning around, if his speed or pace has changed, a series of facts that he can analyze and use in his pursuit.  All of these data points can be gathered by analyzing the tracks left behind by our enemy.

Obviously, figuring out where the enemy is going would make tracking him much easier.  Understanding how geographics and tracking tie together can help us in this.  Your enemy has to be returning to either a habitual area or his personal anchor point.

You can determine from his tracks if he knows he is being followed, if he is moving with a purpose, or if he is unsure of where he is going.  An experienced insurgent or criminal will not lead you back to his anchor point.  He will not want to compromise his secure space by being undisciplined.  In order to maintain the degree of security he perceives from inside of his anchor point, he will likely lead you back to a habitual area.  The crowds of people and open nature of habitual areas will provide him the cover that he needs.  This will also cause his tracks to become contaminated, preventing the trackers from catching him.  We can predictive profile because of patterns, and there is no difference when tracking.

What are the patterns that he has set up to this point?  Does he continually check “his 6,” ensuring he is not being followed?  Are there indicators that he has taken security halts, demonstrating that he is conscious of the fact that he has enemies too?  Has he been lying in a prone position that lets him observe the area without being seen?  If he has shown a pattern of being security conscious, you can anticipate that this will continue and he will make his way to a habitual area, remaining vigilant until he is positive he is safe.  This may be where you want to direct your adjacent units to cut your enemy off.

If this is the case and you can’t cut him off, you will need to shift into tactical questioning mode to ask people if they have observed your enemy, (again, the Marine Corps turned everyday questioning techniques into “tactical questioning.”)  Having a physical description of him or being able to identify the type of shoes he is wearing will help.  While you are asking questions, do you notice anyone in your proximity that has situational awareness?  If you have closed the gap and have surprised him, he may still be in the area to determine if he has been compromised.  Does anyone that you are questioning show signs of deception?  Profiling and tracking are not exclusive skill sets. They complement each other very well, each providing the other with information to assist you in finding your enemy in plain clothes.

The questions you can answer and patterns you can establish on the track-line will help you anticipate where the person you’re following is going.  Profiling doesn’t begin only when people are around, you can begin profiling the instant that you see any indicator of human activity. This could easily be his footprints and the indicators he leaves behind when he is walking.

Do you have more ways to integrate tracking and profiling?  Let us know.

September 27, 2011

Do I Want To Be Explicit?

I got asked a couple weeks ago why we talk about the difference between tacit and explicit knowledge during the introduction to profiling class.  The student was curious to know if one of these types of knowledge is preferred over the other.

We can define tacit knowledge as knowledge that is difficult to convey to another person through either writing or verbal communication.  Explicit knowledge, on the other hand, is knowledge that can be articulated and usually comes in the form of manuals, procedures, processes, or how-to videos.

How do these two types of knowledge play in to profiling?  To a person who may have grown up in the inner city encountering threats on a daily basis and who has a wealth of experience profiling, they may have a stronger degree of tacit knowledge.  They can’t explain why they think there is a threat down this road, “they just know” that it is there.  Something about an event has caused him to be alerted to a threat, likely due to a similar experience in his past.  This can also be a place where police and law enforcement officers find themselves.  After spending years on the street building their file folders for criminal activity, they become experts at identifying criminals.  Despite his inability to communicate why he feels the way that he does, everyone in that patrol is probably going to heed his warning.

When it comes to survival and identifying threats left of bang, regardless of a person’s ability to communicate why they believe a threat is present, I definitely encourage you to acknowledge the warning.  The problem occurs if you take any lethal action towards someone during that encounter.  This applies to law enforcement personnel just as much as it applies to Marines in a combat zone.  Eventually, someone higher up in the chain of command is going to ask why you took the action you did.  If you have the explicit knowledge of profiling and can explain exactly why you did what you did, you will be more likely to receive the support of the chain of command.  I wouldn’t always expect the same acceptance from your command if your answer to the question of why you shot that person is along the lines of, “he looked shady” or, “I had a bad feeling about that guy.”

Again, if it is a life or death situation, I would much rather you take the action to protect yourself regardless of your ability to verbalize the “why.”  But, whenever possible, I encourage you to practice using the profiling domain terms so that you can improve on your ability to effectively communicate your decisions.  This capability should be put onto your list of milestones as you develop and continue in your pursuit to become an expert predictive profiler.

Thoughts?  Let me know.

September 27, 2011

“Left Of Bang”

Picture a timeline that goes in each direction indefinitely.   Somewhere in the middle of that line, we will mark “bang.”  Bang is the incident.  Bang is the IED detonation, the sniper shot, the attack, the mugging, or the crime being committed.  Bang is minute zero on your timeline.

Any time we say that you are acting “Right of Bang,” we are saying your actions are occurring after the fact.  The crime was committed and then the police were called.  The IED detonated and then the Marines established a cordon.  The mugging began and then you defended yourself.  When you are “Right of Bang” you are responding to whatever stimulus occurred at bang.  As predictive profilers, this is whenever we are functioning reactively to our enemy or criminal and we don’t have the initiative.  This is not where we want to be.  Being right of bang means a person has to be attacked before we can identify the criminal.

When we say you are observing or taking action “Left of Bang,” you are being proactive.  All of the events that have to occur before bang are placed left of the incident on our timeline.  If there are 15 tasks that have to be completed for an act to become “bang,” you don’t have to observe all of them for you to know what is about to happen.  That is what predictive profiling is all about.  Left of bang means we will be able to keep the enemy and predators reacting to us, instead of the other way around.  It starts by being able to identify them hiding in the crowd.

Whether you are playing chess, fighting crime, or waging war, anytime you can keep the enemy reacting to you will greatly increase your chances of success.

September 25, 2011

Book Review – “The Hidden Dimension” by Edward Hall

This book serves as the foundation for the entire domain of proxemics.  Edward Hall can be seen as the “father of proxemics” as his research launched an entire field of study.  But is it worth buying?  If you’re a new student to profiling, I have to recommend that you pass on it for now.

The first nine chapters (111 pages out of a total of 192) do not apply to the way that we use Proxemics in predictive profiling and many are focused on animal behavior.  By the time we get to chapter ten, Hall does finally break down the four proxemic zones for humans, which are important to us: the intimate, personal, social and public zones. However, Hall only dedicates about two pages to each zone with minimal discussion of an invasion into a person’s intimate or personal space.  This is the functional area that means a lot to profilers.  Understanding the concept of the zones is important, but it is the application of those zones and the behavior that results from violations of them that provide the greatest benefit to us when we are establishing our baseline and searching for those anomalies.  It was in this area, how to apply and analyze what we are observing using proxemics that I was hoping to see more focus on from Hall.

Rick Gonzalez

September 15, 2011

Establishing a baseline, a different approach

Earlier, PVH discussed what a baseline was, and how to establish one. His suggestion was to observe and establish patterns. Jason Riley later defined how we use the domains to establish patterns.

This article builds off of both articles, but I will discuss a different technique to establish a baseline.

In order for this method to be effective, the observer must have a good understanding of each domain. This will allow the observer to constantly analyze the information he is receiving. To prevent “information overload” we must be methodical in our approach. Here’s how.

As you enter your area of observation, quickly perform a scan for any immediate threats. In this case, anything that can cause harm to you, anyone else, or your mission. Look for weapons, aggressive posturing, or anyone observing you. Start close and finish far. This is important, because the closer a threat is, the less reaction time you are given. As a result, threats that are closer to you are usually a higher priority.

Now you are prepared to start establishing a baseline.

First, take your environment, and strip away all human factors. Look at every single object, as a fact. A park bench, a tree, a sidewalk, a light post, etc. Once you have an understanding of the geographical layout of your environment, you can start making assumptions. Assumptions are the expected human behaviors, or environmental factors. For example: