Archive for category Building Snowmobiles

Leadership: The Proud Prussian Tradition of ‘Disobedience’

The German and Prussian officer corps are the officer corps with the greatest culture of disobedience–with maybe the exception of the French. The stories and events that kept alive the virtue requiring an officer–even in war–to disobey an order “when justified by honor and circumstances” were corporate cultural knowledge within the Prussian and German officer corps and it is therefore important to recount them here. -Jörg Muth, from the book Command Culture.

This is cool. Back in 2012 I wrote a Building Snowmobiles post called General Hermann Balck, The German That Inspired Boyd. In that post I explored the origins of Boyd’s thinking when it came to battlefield innovation and leadership. Or basically, I wanted to find out who inspired him in the history of warfare or gave him the idea like ‘building snowmobiles’. And what I found out had it’s origins at Chet Richard’s paper called John Boyd, Conceptual Spiral, and the Meaning of Life. Here is the quote I zeroed in on, and it has been fun to expand upon what made Balck interesting to Boyd.

Boyd’s appreciation for novelty grew as he mulled over the ingredients for success in conflicts. Boyd’s close associate, Pierre Sprey, credits Boyd’s conversations with General Balck (1979a & 1979b) as planting the seeds that led to Boyd’s fascination with innovation, novelty, and the importance of rapid, intuitive decision-making (Personal communication, September 23, 2012). Thus the elements of maneuver conflict that appear in the September 1981 edition of Patterns, for example, do not include the concept of novelty, but by 1986 it was there (p. 115). Perhaps it was not until he began to compose Conceptual Spiral, though, that Boyd realized how the term “novelty” encapsulated so much of his strategy.

So in my post I, I wanted to find that translated taped interview between Balck and Boyd’s research team and talk about anything of interest to the readership here. (which by the way, if anyone has that tape, it would be priceless to get it up on youtube or in a podcast)

At the time, I was really into the concept of dissent within teams or units. To speak up and not have the fear of being put down by your leadership. This is necessary for healthy organizations and leadership absolutely needs feedback in order to gain a finger tip feel for their organization. You also need honesty so that you are able to make decisions based on reality, and not based on data derived from a group think type scenario. Too many leaders and managers in today’s private industry are so adverse to getting honest feedback, or lashing out at those within their organizations that have the courage to come forward and question the status quo or some policy that makes no sense. This criticism is often interpreted as an affront to leaders whose ego is more important than building a better organization or coming up with better strategies.

It is sad to see companies fail or falter because of these types poor leaders, and they do immense damage. Within the PMSC industry, you see it all the time with Program Managers that lack management skill and leadership skills, yet are hired for the position because they knew someone or the company blindly hired them without proper vetting.

These PM’s would benefit greatly by just listening to their human resource and acting on that information, instead of trying to do everything on their own and not seeking input. To actually listen to those that have the courage to step forth and ask the all important ‘why’ question when confronted with idiotic policies. Policies that are often made without the input of others or the consideration of it’s second and third effects on operations or the morale of the contractors on that program.

So back to the main point. I ended that post about Balck with a question that has been bugging me since I wrote the thing in 2012. Here it is.

The other quote that perked me up is Balck’s mention of the Prussian military tradition of ‘expressing yourself bluntly’ to your superiors. lol I love it, and in the quote below, Model was his boss and Balck was telling him how much he sucked at commanding.
“Model listened to everything I said. We both expressed our opinions, shook hands and returned home. He never came to see me again. But every time I got a new assignment, he was one of the first to congratulate me.
That was one of the great Prussian military traditions: you expressed yourself bluntly but you were expected to never resent such blunt criticism.”
Boy, imagine if we had such a tradition in the US military? Or even in private industry? It also shows how smart the Prussians were about feedback and questioning authority. To actually have a tradition that forces folks to sit there and take criticism like a man…. I might have to explore this Prussian military tradition at a later point. Pretty cool and check this thing out. 

I thought at the time that this was crazy but awesome! For a military to have a proud tradition of ‘expressing yourself bluntly’ to your superiors is a pretty powerful concept? And most of all, where did this tradition come from and why is it important?

After making that post, it definitely got some traction and it sparked all types of conversations, and especially on Facebook. At FB, I even reached out to any of my German national readers that read the blog, and asked if they had heard of such a thing? Or even if there was a German phrase they were familiar with? I got nothing, and the question just lingered and the post just went into the archives un-answered.

Then late last year while reading an excellent book by Jörg Muth called Command Culture, I finally found the answer. For a quick reminder, Jorg came to my attention when I stumbled upon a post over at the blog called Best Defense, that described the command culture and the concept of Auftragstaktik (Mission Command) of the German Wehrmacht during WW 2, and compared that culture and command philosophy to the US military culture and command philosophy during WW 2.

After reading about the concepts, and how influential they really were to militaries around the world (to include the US), I was intrigued and had to find out more. I was amazed at how influential and sound the concepts were and I haven’t stopped researching the stuff since. Here is a segment about what Jörg’s book is about. (I also suggest the work by William LindDon Vandergriff, Eitan Shamir, Bruce Gudmundsson, Chet Richards, and Martin Van Crevald and their focus on Mission Command or Auftragstaktik and German military thinking during WW 1 and WW 2)

In Command Culture, Jörg Muth examines the different paths the United States Army and the German Armed Forces traveled to select, educate, and promote their officers in the crucial time before World War II. Muth demonstrates that the military education system in Germany represented an organized effort where each school and examination provided the stepping stone for the next. But in the United States, there existed no communication about teaching contents or didactical matters among the various schools and academies, and they existed in a self chosen insular environment. American officers who finally made their way through an erratic selection process and past West Point to the important Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, found themselves usually deeply disappointed, because they were faced again with a rather below average faculty who forced them after every exercise to accept the approved “school solution.”
Command Culture explores the paradox that in Germany officers came from a closed authoritarian society but received an extremely open minded military education, whereas their counterparts in the United States came from one of the most democratic societies but received an outdated military education that harnessed their minds and limited their initiative. On the other hand, German officer candidates learned that in war everything is possible and a war of extermination acceptable. For American officers, raised in a democracy, certain boundaries could never be crossed.
This work for the first time clearly explains the lack of audacity of many high ranking American officers during World War II, as well as the reason why so many German officers became perpetrators or accomplices of war crimes and atrocities or remained bystanders without speaking up. Those American officers who became outstanding leaders in World War II did so not so much because of their military education, but despite it.
The book connects successfully the pre-World
War II officer education of the U. S. Army and its traditions and culture with the conduct of the War against Terror today.

So what golden nugget of information did I find that relates to the topic of this post? Here is a quote from the book.

It was not by accident that the phrase fuhren unter der Hand (leadership behind the superior’s back) originated from the German and not any other army. All those examples were collective cultural knowledge within the Prussian officer corps, recounted and retold countless times in an abundance of variations during official lectures, in the officer’s mess, or in correspondence between comrades. The independence that was expected from a German officer and that was part of the tradition of the German officer corps could always attain the character of disobedience, a fact that was also recognized and acknowledged. 

The examples Jörg mentioned were of famous military leaders in the Prussian army, and later the German army. They include men like Ludwig Beck, who had the quote that ‘military obedience has a limit where knowledge, conscience, and a sense of responsibility forbid the execution of a command.’ Ludwig actually put action to words in regards to Hitler and was involved in a plot to assassinate him.

Other names mentioned include Generalleutnant Johann David Ludwig Graf Yorck von Wartenburg who signed a treaty with France in 1812 without the permission of the king of Prussia. The king originally wanted the guy executed for taking the initiative and not consulting the king about his actions, but then when that treaty actually resulted in great benefit to Prussia, then all was forgiven.

Another guy mentioned was Oberst Johann Friedrich Adolf von der Marwitz, who refused a direct order by his king to loot a castle of one of their enemies. That this kind of activity was not appropriate for his prestigious calvary regiments, and that lesser free lancer units raised during war time were usually given these tasks. Of course this pissed off the king, and Marwitz got a lot of flack for it. On his tombstone, it says ‘ He saw Frederick’s heroic times and fought with him in all his wars. He chose disgrace when obedience brought no honor.”

Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz is another famous guy in Prussian history that told his king to shove off during a battle. The king wanted him to attack with his calvary at a specific time during the Battle of Zorndorf, and Seydlitz replied that it wasn’t time yet. The king got pissed off, and demanded that he attack, and Seydlitz refused because he already had a plan. He replied famously ‘Tell the King that after the battle my head is at his disposal, but meanwhile I will make use of it’. lol

Back in those days, if you refused the king’s wishes, they would have you executed, so you can imagine the kind of courage it takes to say ‘nope’ or be disobedient.  And of course when Seydlitz attacked at the time of his choosing, he won the battle. Which shows how sure he was of himself and what needed to happen.

The final mention of disobedience was Friedrich the Second, who was the Prince of Hessen-Homburg. He decided he was going to start a battle against some Swedish mercenaries (Battle of Fehrbellin) at a time and choosing of his own, before waiting on The Great Elector to show up. The time period was 1675 during the Thirty Years War, and wars at that time required that rulers be present on the field of battle before they start. Friedrich decided to buck the system and kick off a surprise attack without the ruler being there. (on a side note, the army raised for this battle, became the core of the Prussian Army)

Now why is all of this disobedience relevant to Prussian history? Because back in 1812, a lack of initiative and a highly centralized command led to a bloody and extremely embarrassing defeat of the Prussians at the Battle of Jena. This battle is said to be the turning point in Prussian military thought on how to fight and win wars, and started them on the path to developing Auftragstaktik. A command culture and philosophy that emphasizes taking the initiative, and forming creative solutions to problems and operating off of commanders intent as opposed to hanging on their every word.

So there you have it. It was fun to finally close the loop on this question, and a big thanks to Jörg Muth for writing such a kick ass book. It is also a reminder to those leaders out there that are actually trying to build a better company or military unit, that feedback is essential to the health of your organization. The Prussians learned long ago the value of dissent or disobedience, and it was infused into their command culture through years of warfare and trial and error.

If in fact the US military or private companies are interested in implementing decentralized command principals like Mission Command, they will have to remember that your leaders will have to have some thick skin and put away their egos. They must study what works for war or business, and they must have an appreciation for those willing to speak up and criticize what is going on. After all, that individual might be responsible for taking the initiative and turning the corner of a battle, or finding a new market for your business, all because they dared to do something different or say something that needed to be said.

Or they make like Seydlitz and ‘fuhren unter der Hand’! -Matt


Frederick the Great compliments General von Seydlitz on his conduct during the Battle of Zorndorf. Picture by Carl Röhling

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Building Snowmobiles: Boyd Sightings

I haven’t written a Building Snowmobiles post in awhile and thought these two tidbits were worth putting up. Col John Boyd continues to influence folks to this day and it is neat to see where he pops up at.

The first sighting is a series of videos that were posted by Jason Brown. According to his twitter handle, he is an AF officer and author at a website called General Leadership. They are videos of John Boyd giving his Patterns of Conflict briefing to some congressional staffer’s. The sound quality sucks and I think a crowd funding campaign to clean up the audio of these would be awesome. I am sure some group could clean it up and give it justice. Here is a quote about the process of getting these transferred to youtube.

Published on Jan 4, 2015
This is a video of John Boyd delivering his Patterns of Conflict lecture. The audience appears to be a group of Congressional staffers in former Iowa Congressman Jim Lightfoot’s office. The year of production is unknown, but my best guess is mid-to-late 1980s. I copied this from a tape in the Boyd Collection at the USMC Archives at Quantico, Virginia, in 2007. The tape’s audio wasn’t the best quality (recommend using headphones). The lecture is over 6 hours, so I’ll probably have to break this into 12 or more parts. Each part takes a long time to upload, so it will be a few days/weeks to get the entire lecture online. Boyd’s acetate slides are washed out, but you can follow along with the slides by downloading Patterns of Conflict here.

Very cool and the series can be found at this youtube channel if you want to watch the whole thing. Jason Brown has conveniently chopped up some very interesting portions of this presentation. If you have headphones, I suggest you use those in order to get better clarity. The first video is Boyd discussing two heavyweights of strategy and war–Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, and why he thought Sun Tzu got it right.


The second sighting of Boyd was over at Chet Richard’s blog. He just downloaded an outstanding slide presentation done by Dean Leane. He was the CEO of CRH of North America, and he applied the concepts of Boyd and his associates, to the strategic direction of the company. Here is what he did.

I asked my staff to read 4 books: Certain to Win, Boyd by Robert Coram, Maneuver Warfare Handbook by Bill Lind and Warfighting by the USMC. Although my people were sometimes puzzled by this curriculum, I was able to get most of what we were trying to get across stuffed into the assembled noggins.

Between 2000 and 2010, CRH North America went from no presence whatsoever to the largest supplier in its market sector in the NAFTA region. If anyone thinks this is easy, then I suggest they try it.

What sucks though is CRH eventually sold to their competitor. Meaning they did such a good job, that their competitor made a ridiculous offer to buy the company. Which is actually a good thing as well. If you can’t beat them, then buy them I guess. lol Good stuff and I highly recommend checking out all the new material to ‘get orientated’. -Matt




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Building Snowmobiles: Crowdfunding Private Security

Definition of ‘Crowdfunding': The use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture. Crowdfunding makes use of the easy accessibility of vast networks of friends, family and colleagues through social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to get the word out about a new business and attract investors. Crowdfunding has the potential to increase entrepreneurship by expanding the pool of investors from whom funds can be raised beyond the traditional circle of owners, relatives and venture capitalists.
In the United States, crowdfunding is restricted by regulations on who is allowed to fund a new business and how much they are allowed to contribute. Similar to the restrictions on hedge fund investing, these regulations are supposed to protect unsophisticated and/or non-wealthy investors from putting too much of their savings at risk. Because so many new businesses fail, their investors face a high risk of losing their principal.-Investopedia

One of the exciting things to develop last summer was the advent of crowdfunded security. It is a concept that I wanted to share here on the blog that is really cool and cutting edge. It is a new way of doing business and I wanted to introduce the concept. Who knows, maybe someone will take the ball and run with this.

So here is the concept–create a crowd funding website called or similar, that is completely dedicated to helping countries, states, cities, towns, communities and even individuals in starting crowd funding campaigns for their security. The model is already out there with such places as Idiegogo, Kickstarter, or Crowdtilt.

The idea for this came from a Crowdtilt campaign that was done in Oakland, California by a community in need of security services. Their neighborhood was constantly dealing with criminals, and the police were stretched too thin because of budgetary constraints to deal with that crime. So a member of the neighborhood started a campaign to raise money to contract the services of a local security company.

What happened next is amazing. They were able to raise all of the money needed to fund their own security, and in a very short time. Folks from all over the country could contribute funds to this campaign–and they did.

Now what makes Securityfundr an interesting concept is that it would be a ‘security specific’ niche crowdfunding site. A place to go, to specifically raise funds for whatever security is required. I envision something that a small village in Somalia could take part in, or some town Idaho could get into, or what some female jogger that runs in Central Park, NY could tap into–all to raise money for their security.

You could also raise money to secure websites and protect against hackers. The cyber element of securityfundr could be big, just because the ferocity of attacks that can hack places like Target, could easily be turned on small mom and pop websites–and they do. But small businesses and individuals are limited in their ability to protect their websites, all by how much money they have. Enter crowdfunding and the potential of a site like securityfundr….

I would also create a portal for security companies to advertise their wares on the site. They could receive alerts through the website, for when a funding campaign is started within their area.  A company could sign up, and get alerts for specific types of security work, within a certain distance. The website would have a highly secure and encrypted online interface and mobile interface. Each company would be voted on and rated by the public, kind of like what Yelp or Amazon does, all so folks can voice their opinions on the quality of companies and their services. Like I said before, the models are there, and all it takes is to make a snowmobile out of all of them for the purpose of Securityfundr.

Below I have posted all of the pertinent stories related to the crowdfunded security. If you know of others, by all means let me know and share them in the comments. As to the potential of such a concept? Who knows, maybe a crowdfunding campaign could be started to fund securityfundr?  lol -Matt


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Oakland Neighbors Crowdfunding Private Security
BY Sam Roudman
Friday, October 4 2013

Oakland California’s Rockridge neighborhood has generally been better known for its fresh pasta and pricey Craftsman homes than for brazen daylight robberies. But that changed last month when three men held up a line of drivers waiting at the Rockridge BART station to pick up passengers in order to use the carpool lane on their morning commute.
“The casual carpool line is sort of a sacred thing,” says Rockridge resident Steve, Kirsh, “they robbed 20 people and they kind of freaked out the community.”
What’s a violated yet technologically savvy community to do? In Rockridge, the answer has been to crowdfund private security services, with the aim of compensating for an understaffed police department in the city with the highest robbery rate in America. In the last few weeks three separate campaigns have been started on Crowdtilt in order to fund four months of private security patrols in three different section of Rockridge. Near $35,000 have been raised so far, and two of the three projects have raised enough funds to ensure they will move forward.
The campaigns illustrate the power of crowdfunding tools to propel civic action, but they also point to the potential of crowdfunding to increase urban inequality in the name of a civic virtue like neighborhood safety.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Building Snowmobiles: General Hermann Balck, The German That Inspired Boyd

The other day, Chet Richards posted his opening presentation to the Boyd And Beyond 2012 conference, and it was fascinating. It was pure building snowmobiles, and it was filled with the various bits and pieces of what and who inspired Boyd in regards to creating novelty or innovations during the fight. (unfortunately, I did not attend this conference)

What was cool is that an individual was identified as being the origin of Boyd’s thoughts on this stuff. That individual is General Hermann Balck, and he was considered to be one of Germany’s best during WW 2. Here is one quote that gives you an idea.

“Balck has strong claims to be regarded as our finest field commander,” declared Maj. Gen. Friedrich-Wilhelm von Mellenthin. And he was in a position to know: as a general staff officer during the war, Mellenthin had worked at one point or another for virtually all of Germany’s greatest commanders—including such legends as Rommel and Heinz Guderian.

So that gives you an idea as to why Boyd would be interested in such a man. The other quote that identifies Balck as a person of interest to Boyd is identified in this quote from Chet’s paper.

Boyd’s appreciation for novelty grew as he mulled over the ingredients for success in conflicts. Boyd’s close associate, Pierre Sprey, credits Boyd’s conversations with General Balck (1979a & 1979b) as planting the seeds that led to Boyd’s fascination with innovation, novelty, and the importance of rapid, intuitive decision-making (Personal communication, September 23, 2012). Thus the elements of maneuver conflict that appear in the September 1981 edition of Patterns, for example, do not include the concept of novelty, but by 1986 it was there (p. 115). Perhaps it was not until he began to compose Conceptual Spiral, though, that Boyd realized how the term “novelty” encapsulated so much of his strategy.

So can we boil it down even further?  Well below, Balck gave an interview and he talked about the secrets to his success on the last page. Chet quoted from this translation and I thought it would be prudent to post the entire thing here, just to give you the essence of what this guy was all about. Here is the quote.

Never do the same thing twice. Even if something works well for you once, by the second time the enemy will have adapted. So you have to think up something new. -Balck, pg. 42

Chet also added this quote to back up what Balck mentioned. Note that Boyd was equally inspired by Sun Tzu in his famous Patterns of Conflict.

So a military force has no constant formation, water has no constant shape: the ability to gain victory by changing and adapting according to the opponent is called genius. -Sun Tzu, Art of War

Of course you could expand upon all of this by reading Balck’s book he wrote, if you know German, but at least with this translated interview, you will get a good introduction to the man.

I think what is equally interesting is that Balck was totally a prime example of the kind of officer that the famous German field manual promoted, called the Truppenführung. Here is a snippet.

Truppenführung (“unit command”) served as the basic manual for the German Army from 1934 until the end of World War II and laid the doctrinal groundwork for blitzkrieg and the early victories of Hitler’s armies. Reading it is as close to getting inside the minds behind the Third Reich’s war machine as you are likely to get.

So what kind of results did this kind of thinking produce? Why would folks put him at the top. Here is a quote about one of his accomplishments when his panzer division took on the Soviet 5th Tank Army. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Balck, who ended the war as a General der Panzertruppe (equivalent to a three-star general in the U.S. Army), is today virtually unknown except to the most serious students of World War II. Yet in three short weeks his lone panzer division virtually destroyed the entire Soviet Fifth Tank Army. The odds he faced were scarcely short of incredible: the Soviets commanded a local superiority of 7:1 in tanks, 11:1 in infantry, and 20:1 in a local superiority of 7:1 in tanks, 11:1 in infantry, and 20:1 in artillery. But Balck, leading from the front, reacting instantly to each enemy thrust, repeatedly parried, surprised, and wiped out superior Soviet detachments. Over the next few months his division would rack up an astonishing one thousand enemy tank kills. For this and other achievements Balck would be one of only twenty-seven officers in the entire war—Erwin Rommel was another—to receive the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds, the equivalent of an American receiving two, or even three, Medals of Honor.

Check out the interview below and let me know what you think? I personally thought Balck’s focus on leadership and taking care of his men, and constantly trying to figure out the true health and status of his army was pretty cool. His focus on the enemy and his psychology was interesting too. That and all the lessons learned from when he fought in WW 1. I really liked the focus on the offense as well.

The other quote that perked me up is Balck’s mention of the Prussian military tradition of ‘expressing yourself bluntly’ to your superiors. lol I love it, and in the quote below, Model was his boss and Balck was telling him how much he sucked at commanding.

Model listened to everything I said. We both expressed our opinions, shook hands and returned home. He never came to see me again. But every time I got a new assignment, he was one of the first to congratulate me.
That was one of the great Prussian military traditions: you expressed yourself bluntly but you were expected to never resent such blunt criticism.

 Boy, imagine if we had such a tradition in the US military? Or even in private industry? It also shows how smart the Prussians were about feedback and questioning authority. To actually have a tradition that forces folks to sit there and take criticism like a man…. I might have to explore this Prussian military tradition at a later point. Pretty cool and check this thing out. -Matt



Translation Of Taped Conversation With General Hermann Balck, April 1979

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Building Snowmobiles: The Jager Pro MINE Trapping System- Catching Hogs Using A Smart Phone

This is cool and I wanted to do a post about this new evolution in feral hog eradication. Jager Pro is a veteran owned and operated hunting service that specializes in the eradication of feral pigs.

They are also very good at what they do. From using thermal optics on AR 10 type rifles and hunting these animals at night, to using high tech trapping methods like the MINE trapping system. Because it is a private business, they must find ways of making eradication profitable in order to sustain that business. So they do guided hunts and they sell traps like the MINE system.

What is unique about this system is that it gives trappers all over the country a better tool in the game of capturing these pigs. With the MINE system, you can actually observe and control a trap from thousands of miles away, all with a smart phone. The trap sends a text message via a ‘cellular control box’, when the trap detects movement. Then the trapper can turn on their camera and see how many pigs are actually in the trap. That is a crucial element of this system.

Current traps have very crude trigger mechanisms used to close the trap doors.  This results in only capturing a few pigs, which usually are the young and dumb pigs, and this contributes to the avoidance education of the adult hogs. Pigs use point men as well, and the videos below show how they operate in order to survive. lol

Research has shown that inefficient trapping methods, such as small traps that catch only one or two hogs, lead to avoidance education of adult hogs and continued expansion of the unwanted population.

Below I have posted one of these videos that Jager Pro hads put up about what they are doing. Most of all, it goes into the mental process and intense research that Jager Pro goes through when approaching this problem. They are analyzing and synthesizing–or building snowmobiles.

Of course the method works, and it is being spread to other regions of the country because of it’s effectiveness.

A trapping program designed to concentrate, gradually acclimate – and eventually capture and kill – entire “sounder” social groups of hogs has proven successful and is now in use in 11 states, he told farmers and landowners during a presentation at Millhaven Plantation in Screven County.

Think of this angle as well. Meat processing sites demand that the wild pigs they get should be alive, and thus pay more for living animals. If a trapper can capture an entire sounder group alive, that is money in his pocket.  So this little technological advancement on a basic trap, has the potential to dramatically change the business of trapping–making it more profitable.

This is a great example of the power of Offense Industry as it applies to culling animals. Jager Pro is innovating and continuously improving upon what they do, and I believe they have introduced a disruptive technology for use against these animals. -Matt



JAGER PRO M.I.N.E.™ Trapping System
(Manually Initiated Nuisance Elimination)

JAGER PRO conducted three years of research and filmed 500+ hours of video to test multiple trapping methods since traps have emerged in a variety of gate designs, materials, sizes and shapes. Our goals were to document pig behavior and also quantify the capture success of each method tested. Results of our research can be viewed on video. Each month we release a new five-minute trapping video of lessons learned via our newsletter and YouTube Channel. Viewers can understand the most effective trapping methods by watching feral hogs react to various trap gates and enclosures.

Our trapping standard is 100% capture of the entire sounder group. There have been few published studies to determine the most efficient or the most cost effective trap design needed to accomplish this task in order to successfully reduce agricultural and environmental damage of wild hogs. Our definition of efficient is to spend the least amount of time, labor and fuel to accomplish 100% capture. Our definition of cost effective is to spend the least amount of money to accomplish these same results.

The most efficient design in our research was a large corral trap (35’ diameter) using six 16-56™ trap panels, an automatic feeder and an eight feet wide M.I.N.E.™ gate closed by a remote control device. This method of trapping allowed us to capture entire sounder groups with the push of a button while onsite or viewing cellular pictures or live video from another location. Timers were set to broadcast feed every day at the exact same time. Cameras captured live video footage of hogs entering the trap enclosure until the entire sounder was conditioned to use the feeder as a daily food source. A human made an educated decision to close the gate using this method. This approach was our most efficient trapping method and demonstrated whole sounder removal in less than eight days every time. This method was also more expensive to operate because it required the use of a cellular camera for remote “text” pictures or a cell modem for IP streaming live video. These technologies are currently available through JAGER PRO™ sales

The most cost effective design in our research utilized the same large corral trap (35’ diameter) explained above using six 16-56™ trap panels, an automatic feeder and an eight feet wide M.I.N.E.™ gate but was closed by an electronic trip wire. This method of trapping still required us to condition the hogs to trust the enclosure as a food source but used less expensive game cameras to capture video footage of hogs entering the trap area. This required trappers to visit the trap site every few days to observe video on the camera’s SD cards. Electronic trip wires were then set at the back of the trap so hogs would trigger the gate closed while feeding which demonstrated an overall 87% success rate. This method was the most cost effective but required much more time, labor and fuel to operate while producing lesser results.

Video intelligence is preferred over single pictures to receive the most complete feedback. Camera must be positioned opposite the trap gate to properly view hogs still outside the enclosure. Trap gate must be a minimum of eight feet wide with no visible frame to step over. Narrow gate thresholds and frames on the ground will prevent a trap-shy adult from entering a trap. Late winter months (December-March) provides the optimum trapping opportunity when hogs were searching for new food sources after the fall mast crops of acorns and hickory nuts are eaten. Round traps provide the largest trap area for materials used and there are no corners for the animals to pile up and jump out. Trapping is a very effective control method for removing large numbers of feral hogs if the task is performed correctly.

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Building Snowmobiles: Institutions Vs. Collaboration… And The Strength Of Offense Industry

In this deal I wanted to highlight the Power Law concept and the Pareto principle (80-20 rule) mentioned by Clay Shirky at around 8:30 in the TED video below. To me, this is an important element of Offense Industry, and it also shows how the collaborative nature of Offense Industry is able to compete against enemies that use institutions for warfighting.

Specifically, I wanted to highlight the actions of privateers during the war of 1812 versus the British Royal Navy. One group is a collaborative effort, and the other was an institution. At the end of the day, the collaborative effort of the privateers being focused on merchants and other valuable British prizes, ended up contributing greatly to the overall success of the war effort. And yet, there was no admiral coordinating the privateer attacks, no institution that dictated how each privateer operated other than a license (letter of marque) giving them authority, and there was room in this offense industry for the top performers all the way down to the one hit wonders.

Privateers during that time period also seem to exhibit a power law, 20-80 type effort. There were the privateers that were the top performers (20 percent that captured most of the prizes), and then there were the long tail of privateers who would get a prize here and there (one hit wonders or 80 percent). This entire grouping of privateers ended up accomplishing quite a lot, and at no cost the US government. Actually, the government made money off of these privateers and usually collected about 10 percent from each prize taken, which then went back into the war chest to further fund ‘institutions’ like the navy.

This system also rewards the top 20 percent, but still gives hope to those that are part of the effort. But governments that utilize the privateering system should know that those 20 percent are crucial to your effort, and every effort should be given to identifying and working with this 20 percent so they continue to be successful. A government should also be aware of the 80 percent and understand their place in the effort as well.

It should also be noted that the US Navy only had 23 ships during the war and the total registered amount of privateers was 517. Likewise, privateers were able to capture 1300 prizes and the navy was able to capture 254. Yet privateers funded their own vessels and self organized, whereas the navy was an institution requiring investment by the US. This is expensive and time consuming and obviously the US was not able to raise an adequate Navy in time for this war.

So instead, the US depended upon the ‘collaborative’ strength and cost effectiveness of a privateering system to accomplish the task of attacking British commerce and logistics.  To me, this collaborative nature of offense industry is it’s strength. I also wanted to identify this strength and archive it for future discussions about Offense Industry. You can also see that the more inclusive and massive the privateering system is, the more effective that privateering system will be at gaining prizes. It’s a numbers game, and institutions will have a hard time competing with that.

You could also apply this concept to what is happening in the arab spring. You have people who are part of a collaborative effort to overthrow their government and it’s ‘institutions’. These collaborative efforts follow the power law curve as well, and you will have the top performers and the one hit wonders throughout the effort, and the overall results of that effort equate to great accomplishments and the overthrow of dictators. Interesting stuff and the video below is definitely worth your time to watch. -Matt


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