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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tactical Skills You Can Use

My general thought is that if you haven't been properly trained and do not have a use for tactical skills, then you shouldn't be out playing Rambo (or even pretend to play Rambo because someone is sure to call you on it). That said, there are a number of tactical skills that the general public should have. These include:
  • Leadership and team building. These are important in a tactical setting but also valuable skills in work and life. One person cannot do everything so knowing how to put a team together and lead them to work together successfully towards a goal will work whether you are putting together a business proposal or organizing a team to clean up the neighborhood after a disaster.
  • Documentation. This skill seems like it would be quite low on the tactical skill totem pole however the ability to clearly and concisely document the things you do is actually quite important. While you may never have to defend yourself via your documentation skills in front of a review board, learning how to document important information is a skill you should have. Documentation includes everything from updating your comprehensive annual home inventory to getting into the habit of writing down things that look out of place (ie: the make, model, and license plate of a car that seems out of place) to keeping up your medical and financial records.
  • Carrying a pack over a number of miles. Unless you are an avid backpacker, you probably don't have the need or desire to fill up a backpack with your gear and head out for a multi-mile hike. In a disaster, the ability to pack up critical gear quickly and efficiently and walk your way out of a disaster may be necessary so why not practice now?
  • Communications. In any event that necessitates a tactical response, communications usually come out at the top of the list as both most important and most likely to have problems. Consider ahead of time who you may need to contact, what method you will use to contact them, and what contact information you may need (ie: after a disaster that wipes out all regular communications, you want to be able to let your brother know you are OK. What is your communications plan? Do you have a list of his cell number, office number, home number, HAM call sign, pre-arranged out of state contact, etc?).
  • Firearms skills. Tactical use of firearms usually means you are taking an offensive position, however your task here is to learn how to defensively use your firearms so that in the event of an emergency you will be able to respond skillfully and effectively.
  • Hand to hand combat skills. Many people who advance through karate, tae kwon do, or boxing ranks fortunately never have to use these skills in a life or death situation. That said, all of these types of fighting skills are excellent forms of exercise and give you the confidence to know that you can fight back if necessary.
  • Navigation skills. Map, compass, GPS...these are critical items to know how to use during a disaster (think Hurricane Katrina when all landmarks were washed away) or if you get lost in the wilderness while on a day hike.
  • Tactical medical skills. Everyone should know basic first aid--CPR, how to stop bleeding, how to treat for shock, etc. These skills are useful whether you are in a disaster scenario or at the golf course (lots of heart attacks happen on the golf course).
  • Driving skills. Defensive driving skills are a must for anyone who drives. There's a lot of crazy drivers out there! You also want to practice convoy skills, how to follow someone effectively, and how to lose someone.
  • Rapid deployment. Tactical teams are known for their ability to mobilize and deploy ASAP. How quickly can your family or co-workers mobilize and deploy in the event of a fire or earthquake?
  • Tactical clothing. The clothing you choose needs to be based on your mission. Hunting? Your mission is to blend in with the scenery so camo is a good choice. Intimidation? Your mission is to visually intimidate your opponent (and identify yourself to other team members) by the type of uniform your SWAT team, soccer team, or other group wears. Doing some recon among the natives? That's why individuals who work undercover dress like the locals so as not to stand out.
  • Strategic planning. Tactical operations revolve around strategic planning (ie: the who, what, when, where, why, and how of reaching a specific goal). Strategic planning is also useful when planning your career, growing your business, or preparing for a disaster.

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