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The Evolution of Combat Hunter

In 2006, as the Iraqi insurgency was spreading throughout Iraq’s Al Anbar Province, Marines on patrol were facing an increasing threat in the form of IED attacks and sniper fire.  As intelligence officials on the ground analyzed the data of these attacks, they began to see an alarming trend beginning to form: not only was our enemy actively hunting us, they were also becoming more sophisticated in their planning.  General James Mattis, the Marine Corps’ Leonidas and at the time the I Marine Expeditionary Force Commander, responsible for leading all of the Marines in Iraq (at the time of this post he is serving as the CENTCOM Commander in charge of all military personnel in the Middle East) acknowledged that this situation was unacceptable and directed the creation of the Combat Hunter Program.

General Mattis’ intent was clear, to make Marines into capable hunters in any environment, allowing them to take the initiative and actively hunt down our enemies.  The Marine Corps spent the first 7 months of 2007 creating and validating the Combat Hunter Program. To do this they brought in a number of civilian experts with wide ranging expertise to establish the instructional material for the course.  This team created the 3 pillars of Combat Hunter that are now taught to deploying Marines.  They are: enhanced observation, combat tracking, and combat profiling.

The Team Of Experts

Ivan Carter is a big game hunter from Africa and was brought in to create the observation portion of the program.  He focused on teaching Marines methods to become better observers and improved the techniques they used to employ the optics they carry.  Observation is the foundation that the next two pillars are built off of and is a necessary starting point to accurately observe the environment.  This environment can be divided into two groups: the physical terrain and the human terrain.

The second expert brought into the program was David Scott Donelan. David is a former Rhodesian Special Forces Soldier with over 40 years of tracking experience and developed the Combat Tracking pillar of the course.  Tracking teaches Marines to read the subtle changes in the ground – providing information and indicators from the physical terrain.  Besides the ability to follow people across an area, the skills learned during the tracking pillar helps Marines identify IEDs by recognizing the slight changes on the ground.

Lastly, the Marine Corps brought in Greg Williams, a former Detroit Police Officer, to create the third pillar of Combat Hunter – Combat Profiling.  By understanding human behavior, Marines will be able to help identify our enemy hiding amongst non-combatants, even though he fights without a uniform on.  This can only be done by learning to read the human terrain.

The CP Journal

These 3 Pillars help Marines collect information and target our enemy more effectively overseas.  The integration of the entire course assists us in deciding who are the sheep from the wolves wearing sheep clothing.  This site is dedicated to expanding the reach of the Combat Profiling portion of the course. The authors and the contributors were first exposed to the material by Greg Williams and just as we acknowledged all of the scientists who provided material for our course in a previous post (Standing on the Shoulders of Giants), we also acknowledge Greg as an important individual who was able to translated an expansive amount of scientific information into a format that Marines can use on patrol overseas.

The CP Journal started as a way to provide Marines with additional resources to continue their learning after they came through the course, but quickly expanded to an audience from law enforcement, private security, and all branches of the military.  If you are interested in learning more, take a look through the free articles and videos on the site and take a look at the training options provided by The CP Journal.

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