We spend a lot of time on the site talking about the behavior we want to observe, but I think it’s also important to understand the type of behavior that we aren’t talking about.  I want to take just a minute to differentiate those approaches from what you will see in the Tactical Analysis program and The CP Journal from what you might expect to read about.

It Isn’t FBI Profiling

We aren’t teaching FBI profiling.  What the FBI profilers look for are indicators of behavior that a criminal conveys while executing a criminal act.  These cues are used to limit the number of people who potentially committed the crime to a manageable number in order to expedite the arrest and stopping of future crimes.  Here is why we differ – for the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit to get called in to support a local police department, a crime had to already occur.  The purpose of our behavioral analysis is to get Marines, Soldiers, Police and Security Officers to recognize the criminal and violent act before the crime is committed. The difference lies in type of decisions we want to make which requires a different type of behavior to inform that decision.

Please don’t mistake the point I am making or my intent, I am not critiquing the FBI’s approach (or any of the follow on examples), but the approach that we use is designed to support a different decision – is the person a threat or not a threat?

It Isn’t The TSA’s SPOT Program

We also focus on different indicators from what the TSA’s Behavior Detection Officers (BDOs) are trained to read as part of their SPOT program.  Because the details of their program are not open to the public (and they don’t have a TV drama based on them yet to get mildly accurate information), I admittedly have to make a few assumptions about what they are trained to look for.  From the information that is accessible to the public through news articles and press releases, their program focuses primarily on reading the micro-facial expressions of people passing through the airport screening lines.  The difference between our programs lies in the weight a facial expression carries in the analysis.  Whereas the TSA relies on facial expressions, we use them as supplemental observations.  If we see an expression that is important to us, we will take it into consideration, but are not going to use micro-expressions as the sole piece of information needed to assess a person’s intent to do harm.

Here is the reason why. For the TSA, most of their observations are at a very close range (questioning a person at a designated choke point), which makes reading facial expressions a worthwhile observation.  However in the field, members of the military and police officers have to be capable of reading the behavior of people walking away from them or when they only have a profile view of their face.  Because of this, there must be indicators communicated in other areas of the body and beyond just the face.

Our primary observations are based on the nonverbal cues that are displayed from the person’s feet to their shoulders.  This allows us to assess a person’s intentions and emotions regardless of which direction they are facing and allows us to be just as effective scanning through binoculars from an observation point a few hundred meters away as we are at a closer range.  Again, just like the FBI, I’m not criticizing the TSA’s methods; they just aren’t the types of behavior that we rely on for our purposes.

We Don’t Use Homeland’s Active Shooter Indicators

Finally, we also don’t rely on the types of behavior that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lists in their active shooter prevention guide.  We aren’t looking for people who have substance abuse problems, marital problems, who talk about their gun collection or any other indicator that requires you to have personal knowledge about someone (here is the link to their Active Shooter Report).  Relying solely on this list of behaviors means that the only people you can observe are those who you know very well.  A person would have to confide a deep secret in you for you to recognize that they are progressing down a violent path and that they want to hurt other people.  This greatly limits the number of people we can asses as posing a threat.

If these are the only indicators that a Marine or Soldier has while operating overseas they will have difficulty recognizing insurgents hiding amongst a crowded marketplace or be able to recognize the member of the Afghan Security Forces who intends to commit an insider attack.  The behaviors that we rely on are the indicators that can be observed on any person, in any location around the world, and dont require detailed knowledge about their personal life.

On that note, if we were to see any of the indicators on their list, we would never ignore them and would certainly take them into consideration, but because of the limited nature of the list, we aren’t teaching them as reliable indicators of a person’s intentions.

Our Behavioral Cues

Our role is to teach the nonverbal cues that cause a person to stand out from the baseline, allowing a person to realize when there is a threat present.  Our nation’s protectors deserve the training needed to get left of bang and stop attacks from occurring.

If you would like to learn more about the types of behavior that we teach, download our white paper “Getting Beyond A Perception Of Security” that goes into greater detail about our program.  You can do this by accessing our library of available resources.