Friday, April 10, 2015

Mutual Security or Defending With A Partner

Personal security involves a lot of things. Defense choice, which is how you will defend yourself. Weapon choice, if you’ve chosen a weapon. Focus, what you will focus on pertaining to that defense. Training, how will you train, how often, where you will be training. All of these things are considered when preparing a personal security program. What we don’t usually plan for is doing this training with another person. Most of our lives we are with other people. If we don’t practice with another person, we’ll more than likely be lacking in our security. Looking at having a partner would make a difference in how you train. I know what you’re thinking. More than likely you who are reading this are a guy. If this is being read by a woman than some of what I’m about to say may apply to you differently. I realize that sometimes the roles I’m going to talk about are reversed. For ease of writing, and since I am a guy, I will write in those terms. How’s that for political correctness? A partner can mean many things. A spouse or significant other, or a family member. Each type of partner will give you different considerations. In the military or other type training there are 3 roles often referred to. These roles are often accomplished all by one person. But with a partner these roles can be shared and even switched quickly in a security event. These roles are Action, Security, and Load.
The Action role is one that accomplishes routine work tasks such as driving. During a security event this role will handle engaging a threat. This can be verbally or with a weapon, lethal or non-lethal.
The Security role deals with the security of the action role while performing tasks. They make sure there is no surprise or ambush. If a security event happens, the security role makes sure there are not any other actors to flank or rear. They make sure the action role is able to handle the threat, and acts as a backup. The security role will make contact with authorities and deal with them if needed.
The Load role deals with issues not pertaining to action or security such as equipment, kids, packages, and possibly elderly who might be with us. The load role can change quickly if someone is injured.
Often we do all three of these at the same time. But with a partner you can separate these roles. If you decide to do this, make sure you both train the same. Take a example from Special Forces. In specops each operator has a different job and specialty. But all are training in each other’s jobs. What if a team member is injured or killed? Someone must take his place. If everyone knows each other’s jobs then you can be assured the job will be done.
When agreeing upon roles, it is important to consider status within the relationship. Whether a person is the alpha or beta in a relationship is important to the fulfillment of role tasks. Relationships containing two alphas have to evaluate how they will handle a defensive incident. Ultimately, the phrase “lead, follow, or get out of the way” has to be considered, regardless of what individual partners consider their status in the relationship. Couples should also consider that status reversal could take place if, for instance, one partner becomes a casualty.
Internal communication has two components. One is communicating during the planning stage of family protection to ensure that all members understand what their roles are and what is expected of them. Second is communicating during the development and resolution phases of an incident.
An interactive approach should be used during the planning stage. This is the time for negotiating what will be done by whom. All parties must agree to the plan, even if it means less than optimal tactics are agreed upon. There should be some testing of acceptance and understanding.
Pre-established short phrases, code words, or visual signals should be used during an incident to convey maximum information with minimum possibility of misunderstanding or compromise. There should be phrases or words for alerts or to initiate immediate action drills. Some couples may choose to include duress phrases in their communication protocols as well.
External communication is not to be taken for granted either. How to use your partner’s cell phone is probably not a skill best learned on the fly during an incident. The question of who will interact with the authorities in the event of an incident should be decided in advance. This is best done by the partner in the security role. Defusing the initial contact with police can prevent a victory from turning into a friendly fire tragedy. Some form of “stand down” signal by the security partner should be included in the training repertoire to indicate the arrival of the authorities or closure of the incident.
In my opinion, one of the most important skills for those carrying weapons is learning to move around others with a loaded unholstered firearm. Having a Negligent Discharge into a family member or oneself would be a personal and tactical disaster. Any armed person should master the ability to avert their muzzle unconsciously any time they move around another person. Further, the armed person needs to be able to do this without endangering themselves. This doesn’t have to be done with a loaded weapon or even a real weapon. Doing the drill with a laser-equipped inert gun is an excellent way to practice this.
Working with others on any task can be difficult. In the context of a defensive encounter, it can become incredibly complicated. Planning and practicing ahead of time can make the situation much more manageable and the outcome more favorable. Planning is always key. Practice is important. Preparedness is essential.
Semper Paratus
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