Hey Gang –

Thank you for dropping by the course prep area.  There are a few things we need to cover before class starts.

  1. In nearly every after action review of these courses, students have stressed to me to stress to future students to read the required reading.  (I used to only call it recommended reading.) Please be very familiar with the concepts in the required reading BEFORE class starts.
  2. Maps are so important.  When we do our exercises, I highly recommend having maps of your area already printed out.  I generally recommend 24″x36″, but getting on GoogleEarth or GoogleMaps and printing out street map and imagery on your home printer will do wonders for you.  If you don’t have a map, then I will provide sample maps so you can follow along… but bring your own maps so you can do the work right the first time.
  3. Spend some time looking through the attached hand-outs below.  Being familiar with them will get your mind in “the great game” before class starts.


For this course, you will need:

Required Reading – I recommend reading once for familiarization and again for retention.  (Download the PDF here.)


A Note on Maps & Overlays — Be sure to read this, too.

Having information from the scanner or another source is great, but we need to be able to take location information — a robbery in progress or a mob of people — and put it on a map.  That’s going to allow us to “battle track” our security situation.  As reports and locations come in over the radio, we can easily keep track of who or what is where in relation to our position.

I highly recommend having 24″ x 36″ maps, to include street and topographical — of your surrounding area.  The USGS Store or sells topographical maps.  Alternatively, you can save screenshots of Google Maps or another mapping tool, and print them off at your local Kinko’s.  For a quick, cheap, and easy solution, I printed off an 11″ x 17″ map and had it laminated for seven bucks.  You will need to bring your own maps to class, whether you have the course recommended maps or maps from your local AAA office or another place.

As for overlays, we have several options.  An overlay is a piece of clear plastic we put over our maps to draw on.  That way, we’re not only not drawing on our map, but we can put multiple overlays on top of each other for a better picture of the situation.

We use Duralar for our map overlays in the SHTF Intelligence course.  Duralar is an acetate alternative, but you could just as easily use acetate sheets.  If you have a Hobby Lobby nearby, I’ve also used clear cellophane wrap (look for this).  It crinkles easily, but it absolutely works in a pinch.  I will provide the Duralar and/or acetate overlays, but you’ll need to purchase your own for your ACE.

And as long as we have maps and overlays, we need markers in four colors: black, red, green, and blue.  In the schoolhouse, we used Lumocolor non-permanent markers and I still use them today.  You are encouraged to bring your own markers if you can; otherwise, I will provide some for this course.

(If you have a Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) military map, you’re going to want a coordinate scale in order to determine six, eight, or ten digit grid-coordinates.)

I teach using maps and durlar/acetate because my biggest fear is that we have to provide security without power or the internet… in which case, all our digital collection and analysis is useless.  But I routinely use GoogleEarth Pro to augment my SHTF security planning.

I will provide acetate overlays and all other course materials.  To get a sense of what you might need for the real show, refer to the Ultimate ACE Startup Guide.

Threat Analysis

intelligence_cycle IR copy


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