Situational Awareness Training
MESH Solutions LLC
Work Cell: (910) 650
Heuristics are tactical shortcuts
a method of making a decision with limited time and just
enough information to draw a reasonable conclusion. A heuristic decision is right more often
than it is wrong. A heuristic decision can often be as acc
urate, or more accurate, than a
Predictive Profiling Heuristic: Baseline + Anomaly = Decision
Combat Rule of Three
: Any time you get to three or more anomalies/indicators
Decision. Do not wait to collect any more information.
Criminals and insurgents take advantage of our heuristic decision making by attempting to
blend in. Insurgents attempt to hide IEDs a
nd VBIEDs by blending the bomb or car into the
environment so that we do not immediately recognize it. In order to mitigate these attempts by
criminals and insurgents, we must carefully observe the environment and avoid letting our
biases and assumptions f
what’s normal for your environment
), PLUS an anomaly (
something that rises above
or falls below your baseline
), EQUALS a decision, (
and you only have 3 decision; KILL IT,
To establish a baseline, observe patterns of behavior, clothing, traffic, movement, atmosphere,
and other objects or actions that indicate what is normal for a person, place, or event.
Establish a baseline every time you change environments
Proactively look for anomalies: anything which is there or happens, or anything which is not
there or does not happen, which is different than the baseline.
Whenever you are receiving Immediate Action Indicators (Danger signals, Aggression cues,
weapons visible, bomb components, optics, etc.) ACT NOW and ACT FAST!
Remember to realize, recognize, and reassess any anomalies.
Ensure your decisions follow your Rules of Engagement and Escalation of Force measures
iometric indicators are automatic responses by the body in response to stress. They cannot be
controlled, but may be disguised.
Profilers; Biometrics can mean:
Blushing or looking pale
Sweating or lack of sweating
Goosebumps or hair standing up
Feeling unusually cold
Increased heart rate
Increased body heat
Biometric cues can be disguised or hidden:
Sunglasses or maskin
g the face
Hiding the hands
Wearing loose clothing or excessive clothing
Kinesics means Body Language. Body Language cues can be mimicked
but any cluster of
Body Language clues will tell you the
they cannot be hidden.
Pacifying behaviors: Behaviors people do to calm themselves down or in response to stress.
Touching face or neck
One signal alone means nothing
signal clusters tell the story and conf
irm your suspicions.
Hands and Arms
Hands often indicate threatening intentions.
Head and face
Clothing, accessories, and artifacts indicate intentions and beliefs.
Proximity negates skill!
The closer a bad guy is to you
the more damage he can cause.
Always maintain a safe ―standoff distance. Change your standoff distance any time the tactical
situation changes. Change your ―standoff distance whenever your baseline
Distance indicates types of interaction and relationships. Four types of distances:
personal, social, public.
Use these indicators to identify key leaders.
Where do the people in this area gather to meet, date, shop, or share ideas?
(Restaurants, markets, movie theaters, flea markets, post office,
These are where groups, tribes, or gangs meet (an area within their comfort
seldom a cultural habitual area)? Anchor points can be identified through the behavior
of the group, iconography, territorial identifiers, and how the average populace behaves.
Where do average civilians avoid?
Where are there markers, people watchi
ng out, and consistent activity from a
An area around an anchor point in which insurgents and criminals don’t
proactively conduct crimes or attacks.
Natural Lines of Drift
People take the path of least resistance. Obser
ve these paths to
determine how insurgents move between anchor points and habitual areas/ambush locations/IED
target areas they are familiar with. They rehearse and conduct recon. They re
geography they feel comfortable with. The
y return to areas where they have established anchor
points. They seek out similar anchor points in any new environment.
Iconography is the symbols, images, markings, writings, flags, colors and pictures that people
use to communicate their:
Graffiti is a type of iconography.
Also look at clothing, accessories for
jewelry, watches, tattoos, and other indicators
pictures of martyrs or important people.
is the collective attitude or mood of the environment. Atmospheric moods are
created by the collection of cues from all the other domains.
Factors that influence atmospherics include:
Attitudes, tastes, manners and behavior that are cha
racteristic of or
favored by a particular social group or organization. These characteristics will differ from
culture to culture making atmospherics culturally specific. Before establishing a baseline
to gauge atmospherics prior knowledge of the culture b
eing profiled is required.
Social and group behavior
Human beings are, by nature, social creatures. They will
congregate; create organizations, hierarchies, groups and friendships. Within each culture
humans will interact socially and form their own s
tandards of interaction. Just as
individuals have attitudes and moods, groups have a collective attitude that can be felt
Environment and physical terrain
The physical environment will contribute to the
establishment of an atmospheric ba
seline. An example of the physical aspect of
atmospherics is the broken windows theory. People’s actions will mimic the environment
in which they operate. Things such as graffiti, flags, images, and other iconography will
add to the atmosphere.
An individual will affect the atmospherics of an
by their mannerisms, clothing, iconography and actions.
a sudden change in the normal attitudes, moods, and patterns of the
environment. A change in atmosphere
can indicate an impending attack.