Predictive Profiling and Tactical Analysis

October 21, 2011 in Background Information

Predictive Profiling is the guiding concept that has driven the development of the Tactical Analysis course.  The goal is to make Marines, police officers, and security professional capable of predicting the 5 W’s for any attack the enemy can present to us.  Because protectors can be in any country in the world, preparing for this situation can be very challenging.  In fact, it would be impossible to train protectors for every possible scenario with the limited time and resources we have prior to being in the area.
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Why Understanding Relationships Creates Better Intel

October 20, 2011 in Assessing Groups

If you want to learn about someone (we will call him the target,) don’t waste your time asking that person anything about himself.  You will never get the whole story.  This person may guard information, not tell whole truths, be biased, or simply give you the run around.  The two people who will give you the best information on your target is your target’s best friend and his worst enemy. Continue reading »

Video 1: Robbery At Denny’s

October 3, 2011 in Applying The Observations

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.


The Professional

October 3, 2011 in Learning About Learning

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.
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The 6 Domains of Tactical Analysis

September 29, 2011 in Assessing Groups, Assessing Individuals, Assessing The Collective, Assessing The Environment

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

Where Is the Enemy Going?

September 28, 2011 in Assessing The Environment

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.

Establishing a baseline, a different approach

September 15, 2011 in Applying The Observations

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: Continue reading »

Kinesics – Simplified

August 30, 2011 in Assessing Individuals

As we break down each section of the body throughout our kinesics class, analyzing gestures, postures, and expressions, we are given a window into a person’s mind.  This analysis lets us figure out how you really feel in any given situation.  It is the domain that everyone is waiting for, the opportunity to learn how to read body language.  Being able to understand and predict a person’s intentions gives us the ability to tip the scales of any engagement in our favor.

Some people pick up how to read body language right away while other students look at all the different meanings that each gesture could have and become overwhelmed by the wealth of possibilities.  When I first started learning, I was that guy.  It took me some time to become comfortable and confident in my ability to read people.  There are so many different gestures and expressions out there, that it seemed overwhelming.  Then I learned how to make it easier.

When I am profiling and observing people, I break all kinesic cues into just a couple of different categories.  The first question that I ask myself is, Continue reading »

Establishing a baseline, for the first time

August 29, 2011 in Applying The Observations

This post is very similar to one of PVH’s post entitled Establishing a Baseline? Step One.

You enter a new area. A new village. A new marketplace. And you need to establish a baseline fast, and you need to figure out if anyone wants to or is going to try to do you harm. Your first thoughts, “oh crap, what’s going on? Who is who? Who wants to hurt me? What is that person doing?” Recently I took some instructors out to do some instructor development. We went to an area that I’m only partially familiar with. As soon as we got there, and stepped out of the car, my first thoughts were, “What is going on? Do I even know what I’m doing?” So, what do you do when you’re in a new area and you need to begin establishing a baseline?

Establishing a baseline for the first time in a new area is not self-evident. An untrained individual may be able to do a decent job identifying certain things–the obvious things–but is going to miss important behaviors and patterns, and will focus on the wrong things. Continue reading »