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.