RC#25 Resilient Communities and Actionable Intelligence (Part 1)

A significant aspect of Project White Horse research, e-magazine editions, and forum/blog is search for and use of multiple/diverse experience, education, or discipline perspective with intent to gain better insight into decision making in the hyper complex, low probability – high impact type disaster situation.  In that regard and in preparation for the upcoming edition, several links are being examined for additions in the “Know Your World” column.


One of these http://www.groupintel.com/ was introduced to me by past PWH author, Lt. John Sullivan, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. After joining the associated network, I asked several other PWH authors and participants with very wide and diverse areas of expertise to comment on GroupIntel in context of several issues provided below.  The depth of the discussion has been deemed worthy of publication for a broader audience and as a basis for further exploration within GroupIntel.

Given the number and size of comments, posts will be split along three discussion threads:

  • 1. Value and use of intelligence as a function of local situation vs. a context of theater or grand tactical
  • 2. Intelligence meaning and usage in natural disasters with Katrina as an event example
  • 3. Intelligence implications (critical information, education for worst case response, planning, response) for a resilient community response force including by necessity professionals (military and civilians), private sector, and individual citizens or community organizations.


The starting point: Question to selected PWH participants (modified somewhat from the original e-mail for this post)

PWH  submits that preparation, readiness, response, and indeed “survival on our own terms” – Boyd –  for “cat 5″ type events (the unconventional, hyper complex, worst cases) is not a linear extrapolation from lower level type emergencies. It is a study in recognizing “necessary but not sufficient” elements.


Another dimension suggests that readiness for these high order events will demand professional first response augmented by private sector and citizen alike.  Survival level performance of that “team” will require some learning, unlearning, relearning, some development of a context for common operational outlook (just wanting to live is not enough), and a leadership/followership context that allows that mix to operate at an acceptable level in the most chaotic of environments.  We have discussed this as “team of leaders” following Generals Bradford and Brown ideas from the book America’s Army.


A third dimension incorporates the idea of “intersections” of ideas, experience – all not necessarily easily connected as relevant or pertinent one to another.  The GroupIntel website provides multiple intelligence perspectives including Mexican border/gang issues, healthcare, Mumbai, and financial, etc all as subjects.  Therefore incorporating an “intel” community linkage for PWH seems most appropriate.


One issue concerns terrorism focus or all hazards. The site and some of its major participants have as a major foundation the Terrorism Early Warning Group (TEW) concept begun in LA in 1996.  As we have moved further and further from 9-11, organizations have begun emphasizing all hazards, wanting things to all coalesce – NIMS, NRF, training, etc. Much is driven by funding issues.  If one joins the network here, you can find debate on focus and how to characterize “intel” missions and organization still ongoing.


The issue to me is not to become one merged entity, it is rather to maintain careful segregated focus so as to insure the best from the best, but at the same time to explore the intersections possible as a means to address those Black Swan unanticipated shovels to the back of the head.  In the recently released Defense Science Board study, for the first time (at least for me to see) the idea of “home” and “away” games is replaced by the idea of “one war” as defining the potential for war in the future. A turbulent global financial environment leaves all of us earth inhabitants vulnerable to the one spark that creates massive chaos.  We have termed things for sometime GWOT, but reality is the situations in Israel/Palestine, Pakistan/India, Kosovo/Bosnia/Serbia, Iraq/Iran, health care/Avian Flu are all in one sense just chemical substances waiting for the one thing to create violent eruption.  Terrorism is one mechanism.  In this sense I see British General Rupert Smith’s confrontation- conflict – war amongst the people as a most meaningful model.


If you would agree on the “team” response required and given the above – the one war (required defense here, offense there) – how do you inform, plan, and educate/train/learn across a team with few common linkages on a very practical basis?  It is easy to identify the problems, not too hard to come up with solutions, BUT the how and the doing is something else.


I belabor this because I think I see something important in the way the site and the network associated is being set up.  I was most pleased to be invited by Lt. John Sullivan to join and have done so, also setting up RSS link for PWH posts on the “my page” provided.  I recommend you all take a look at all aspects of GroupIntel.  I also recommend listening to the featured video on the social structure and how things operate after the technology (in this case internet, blogging etc) becomes “everyday.”


I am most interested in how you see this site and the “intel” function in light of Project White Horse efforts.


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