Group thinking exercise:

What standard operating procedures (SOPs) need to be available, learned, and drilled to keep the small unit in our previous hypothetical alive and well in the near-term?

Include not only the topic in your comment below, but the substance of that SOP, along with any manual citations, links, or other relevant references.

One SOP per comment, please.

Have at it.

17 responses to “SOPs

  1. An SOP should be devised which deals with how the group moves, communicates, and engages/retreats while in the field. Such things as distance between individuals. What order they travel in. If they rotate that order. When speech is appropriate, when it is not. Hand signs, etc.

  2. Establish the frequency of both firearms training and cleaning.

    Since, as others pointed out, you’ll be seeing a mixed bag of handguns and rifles/shotguns, consider giving a short briefing to the group on the strengths and weaknesses of each model. Go over the basic mechanics and chamber of each, then establish a maintenance schedule (be sure to give a similar briefing on ammo types). At first you may want to have cleaning parties so that each individual is able to strip, clean, and reassemble each weapon.

    After the initial zero, recommend a shooting regimen based on individual skill. Have each individual shoot each weapon in turn to familiarize himself with it.

  3. War is deception. The key sop shall be how to remain hidden. You can expand on this idea, but any surviving groups need to learn how to avoid attention: attention from neighbors, attention from competing groups, attention from guberment.

  4. Consult the Ranger Handbook, or the Pathfinder Handbook, newer versions if possible, and you got your SOP. When you don’t keep it simple, you slide into bureaucratic TMI. And I’ve had a bellyfull of lies and bureacratic horseshit.

  5. The best SOP is to have no SOP.

    A loose set of guidelines that allow the small unit leaders to make decisions based on actual events would be best. SOP’s become patterns. Patterns will get you killed.

    For example… There should be a very loose direction given for what actions are taken if ambushed. Instead of having an IA drill hammered into your men, have concepts hammered in. By focusing on general concepts for what it takes to respond to an ambush, training can be done to respond to ambushes based on the unique circumstances and terrain available. Instead of practicing 1 or 2 plays from your book for every situation. This creatings thinking in your small unit leaders instead of just reponding like a robot.

    So instead of assaulting into a near ambush, or shooting it out and running for a far one… Try focusing on assessing terrain, enemy strength and capabilities, how your capabilities match, how the enemy might be viewing your actions, how to get out of this UNIQUE situation, and so on.

    If your men are proficient with their weapons, understand personal uses of cover, and you have NCO’s that are allowed to think… Things should be alright. That NCO can make decisions based on the commanders intent using general guidences for specific situations. But this is a skill that must be developed. And it doesnt get developed by focusing on a handful of plays, but on understanding and being able to act on concepts.

  6. SOPs…

    Funny you mention this. I was digging through old unit SOPs, as well as other misc .mil material the other night. I found everything from sniper training TCs, to misc weapons TMs, and individual platoon SOPs from various units. Lots of good info in them, even if it is circa early 2000s / late 1990s.


  7. Semper Fi, 0321

    B-52 Project Delta Recon Tips, I still have my copy from Counter Guerilla Warfare School-Ft. Bragg, NC in 1974. Well worth reading.

  8. The first rule about fight club is don’t talk about fight club. Given your previous scenario with it’s challenging task organization and more challenging logistics the first order of business should be force protection and attendant OPSEC requirements. No use training, equipping and furthering the assembly or your g-force if you can’t preserve them for future use once they are better trained, equipped and pointed in the right direction.

    1. Establish a security officer. Who is it? Why? What are their responsibilities?
    2. Guards and Sentries. Use them.
    3. Refuse removal plan. How do you dispose of refuse? Why? What can the enemy learn from it?
    4. Need to know? Establish your criteria now via SOP. Who needs to know what and why?
    5. Cache Management Plan. Where are they? What’s in them? How are they marked? How do you check them for tampering? Do you check them according to a schedule? Who knows where they are? Why?
    6. Communications- Technical and non-technical. SOP’S to cover drops, brush contacts, meetings, near and far recognition signals? Who knows and why? Means and methods. How and when do we talk? Who talks? Why?
    7. Counter surveillance plan. They aren’t watching? How do you know? tells, SDR’S, CSP.
    8. Information Ops: IO, Psy-Ops, Dis-info. What do we plant? Why? Who is the target audience?

    I’m going to stop now. You should be in the IPB and OPE phase of your operations. You are operating NOW. You are in enemy held territory NOW. This isn’t for some future event. You are IN future events.

    Virgil sends…

  9. The Trainer

    Why are people so intent to place EEFI in an internet comment section helping to paint a picture of themselves?

    Any SOP posted, even old references that you admit you still have, allows your opponent to get a hint of how you think….

    Just a thought….

  10. Semper Fi, 0321

    Sorry about that, never gave it any thought that the .gov might wanna know I went to some of their secret schools. And why are you even here posting comments? Using your secret decoder ring, I hope.
    There are millions of us with military skills, if they want to take us all out, let them start (I think they already have).
    And some of you that think you’re so top secret, just might be at the top of someones list.
    Guess I better go crawl in a bunker and disappear now.

  11. The Trainer

    0321…it’s not about being ‘secret’….it’s about not helping intel build a profile on your ‘tribe’.

    That’s all.

    I agree that they’ve started to take out folks that might resist….vet or not…one at a time.

    I also agree with you on what you say regarding being ‘top secret’. I don’t agree with helping the opposition is all….make them go through the motions and do the work.

  12. Semper Fi, 0321

    we’re screwed no matter what. If they want us, they’ll find a way.
    Yes, you’re right, don’t advertise.
    I know people who have never bought a ‘papered’ gun and then go buy a hunting license every year. Duh! Just tell them you strangled it!

  13. Folks:

    Is there a list of tasks that every small group should be able to do in order to max their survival chances?

    Everything from how to dig a latrine to rules for leaving and re-entering ‘the wire’ would seem to be important.

    That’s what I was trying to evoke with this post.


  14. The Trainer

    Try Dr. Joseph Martino’s excellent work, “Resistance to Tyranny”. It has everything you’re asking for and then some, and is available on Amazon. Cheap.

  15. Soldiers Manual of Common Tasks
    SH 21-76 Ranger Handbook
    FM 7-8 Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad

    Virgil sends…

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