Helpful Resources for Intelligence & Emergency Preparedness

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Forward Observer is entering into its 5th year of blogging, instruction, and reporting on intelligence and security.

Whether you’ve read our intelligence reports (or you’re interested in reading our regional intelligence summaries), taken our courses, or learned more through our Forward Observer Daily blog posts, I’d like to thank you for being a part of this mission.


Maybe you’re new to intelligence for preparedness and security and want to get started.

Maybe you’ve been following us for years and want to further develop your knowledge and skills.

Or maybe you just want an entire list of my best material to study.

Regardless of where you are, here’s my all-encompassing list of free study materials I’ve written in the past four-plus years through Forward Observer.

(You can access/bookmark this page here.)


Getting Started

First, I have a five-day series that pretty well covers the basics of intelligence operations for community security. I recommend that you print these articles off and keep them in a study binder. (If you’d like to get these articles by email, you can sign up for the email series here.)

Day 01 – Shifting Landscapes & the OODA Loop
Day 02 – Intelligence in the context of community security
Day 03 – Intelligence Collection & Analysis
Day 04 – The Operating Environment & You
Day 05 – Final Thoughts on Threat Intelligence


The Area Study

I highly recommend that you build an Area Study. Whether you’re preparing for the effects of a hurricane, a prolonged power outage or grid-down event, or something worse, building an Area Study is going to give you an incredible advantage in navigating those complex environments. Here are several resources:

How to build an Area Study for community security

How to use the U.S. Energy Mapping System

How to get local flood plain maps

Why the Human Terrain matters for emergency preparedness


ACE & Gear List

Next, I’d recommend thinking about your local needs and how to build an intelligence section to deal with a protracted emergency. Here’s a list of resources to get you started with getting your ACE in gear.

The Ultimate ACE Startup Guide

Building an Intelligence Section for community security

The ACE and the Intelligence Cycle

A primer on tactical intelligence collection

Four types of intelligence gathering for community security

REVIEW: Uniden Home Patrol II


Continuing Education

There are several articles I can recommend for delving deeper into intelligence. I wouldn’t consider a ‘basic education’ on complete without understanding these concepts.

Tactical, Operational, and Strategic Intelligence

Building Blocks of Intelligence: SALT and SALUTE reporting

Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf

How to build a Mission Essential Task List


If you study these articles, you’re going to come away with a very good understanding of some intelligence basics. It will certainly be enough to get you started.

If you want to continue your study, there are two options…

First, if you’d like to take advantage of our online training and sharpen your knowledge and skills via lectures and e-courses, you can sign up here.

Second, if you want to attend one of our physical training courses, you can sign up to receive more information here.


Lastly, I’ll be adding to this list of resources in the future. I’ll be sure to share major updates with everyone via our email list.
Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

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