Posts Tagged sun tzu

Connecticut: The Sandy Hook Massacre And The Defense

My heart goes out to the friends and family of the victims of this horrible incident. These tragedies are just unimaginable and it angers and saddens everyone….everyone.
With that said, my viewpoint on how to stop such incidents or at the least, to minimize the amount of death and destruction that happens during these types of incidents is to not ‘depend’ on someone else for the defense, but to be ready to ‘receive’ the assault. To be prepared.

To have the proper mindset about school or mall or whatever facility defense, I think the words of Sun Tzu ring true.

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

So for the defense, any administrator whom is tasked with evaluating their security protocols should be asking two questions–are we ready for an attack by an active shooter(s) and have we made our position unassailable? And once a plan is in place, that administrator should test the plan and apply Kaizen or continuous improvement to it–to constantly improve their defense.

My other commentary here is that humans are a better defense against active shooters.  A machine can fail–from cameras to ‘security glass’ to alarms. If it is made by a human, it can fail and it can also be defeated by a thinking human intent on destroying that in which you love. Your best defense is a well trained and thinking human, that is ‘backed up’ by all of those security gadgets.

The other point to bring up here is how fast this happened. The shooter in this attack was able to accomplish his goal within several minutes. The only people that could have stopped him would have been the teachers themselves. Because police could not have reached the scene in time. If there was a guard on the campus, he could have stopped the shooter at the entrance–because the security glass certainly did not stop the shooter.

But what if that guard is killed in the initial assault? It will be your teachers and others to step in to do what is right. It is about survival at that point, and a prepared staff is key. Having guards as a stop gap will definitely be optimum. An armed guard can also be intimidating to potential attackers and their plans–which might cause them to go elsewhere.

So hire guards, create an effective plan, and do not allow your facility and people to be victims. RUN/HIDE/FIGHT. Empower your teachers or employees with the knowledge necessary to survive and even defeat this type of attack. Get prepared and protect the most precious resources this country has–it’s people. –Matt



Sandy Hook massacre: New details, but few answers
By Steve Vogel, Sari Horwitz and David A. Fahrenthold,
December 16, 2012
The gunman who killed 27 people, including 20 children, on Friday targeted a school to which he had no apparent connection — forcing his way in and spraying classrooms with a weapon designed to kill across a battlefield, authorities said.
On Saturday, law enforcement officials gave new details about the rampage of Adam Lanza, which ended with Lanza’s suicide. Their new narrative partially contradicted previous ones and made a baffling act seem more so.
Lanza’s mother, for instance, was not a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, after all. She apparently was unemployed. So it was still a mystery why her 20-year-old son — after dressing in black, killing his mother and taking at least three guns from her collection — then drove the five miles to a school where he was a stranger.
The part of the story that remained grimly, awfully unchanged was what Lanza did when he got there.
Authorities on Saturday released the names of those Lanza killed at the school, who ranged in age from 6 to 56. And the state’s medical examiner — speaking in sanitized, clinical terms — described the results of something deeply obscene: a semiautomatic rifle fired inside an elementary classroom.
“I’ve been at this for a third of a century. And my sensibilities may not be the average man’s. But this probably is the worst I have seen,” said H. Wayne Carver II. Carver described the children’s injuries, which he said ranged from at least two to 11 bullet wounds apiece.
He had performed seven of the autopsies himself. A reporter asked what the children had been wearing.
“They’re wearing cute kid stuff,” Carver said. “I mean, they’re first-graders.”
On Saturday, this small New England town and the country played out what is now a familiar ritual: the dumbstruck aftermath of a young gunman’s massacre. Word came that President Obama would arrive Sunday for an evening interfaith service, repeating his role from Fort Hood, Tex.; Aurora, Colo.; and Tucson, Ariz. He would again be chief mourner. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Cool Stuff: Art Of War Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck, By Robert Cantrell

A big hat tip to Fred over at his website called Law Enforcement and Security Consulting for introducing this really neat set up. If you are a fan of Sun Tzu and like playing cards, and appreciate having dual use stuff in your deployment kit, this would be a good set up to have. A deck of playing cards doesn’t require batteries either.

Personally, I have used my Sun Tzu mobile apps I downloaded on my smart phone for reference. I have a quote generator app and the whole book as an app. But a deck of cards is equally cool, just because it is another way of looking at the material and organizing it.

The really intriguing part of this set up is the author has created a system on how to use these cards. They are organized in such a way so that you can easily get to the type of advice or material you need. Or you can combine them into unique strategies that suite your needs–or ‘building a snowmobile’ out of Sun Tzu’s strategies and ideas.

If you go to his website, there is a guidebook and more detail given on how best to use these cards. Or just use the cards for that game of poker or solitaire to pass the time on your deployment. Check it out and this would make for a great little gift during the holidays or for a birthday. –Matt



The Art of War: Sun Tzu Strategy Card Deck is made in the USA from the finest quality casino grade card stock. The content is written around four key elements of competitive strategy that include elimination, isolation, preparation of the field of contest, and preparation of the self. These elements are divided into four equal parts by suits as follows:

Preparation of Self – All hearts involve shaping yourself. You set your disposition to that best suited to reach your goal and present your adversary with appearances that that cause him to act against his best interests.

Preparation of the Field of Contest – All clubs involve shaping the field of contest. You create the conditions, such as confusion on the part of your adversary, that better allow you to win.

Isolation – All diamonds involve isolating something. This something may be an adversary, an option, an objective, time, etc. You separate something from something else.

Elimination – All spades involve eliminating something. That something may be an adversary, an option, an objective, time, etc. You remove something from the contest.

They follow the natural progression from preparing the self and the field of contest, isolating on a target, and closing on the objective shown by everything from wolves chasing down a caribou, lawyers isolating on a witness inconsistency, deal makers identifying and addressing an objection, to a child getting the answer he wants from one parent or the other. At the very core, it is all the same.

Each strategy card provides a memorable title, a strategy definition, and a basis of truth from which the strategy works. You reach your goal by enacting one or more strategies together at the same time or in a useful sequence. The strongest strategy combinations tends to have at least one representative member from each card suite.

Website for cards here.

Buy the deck of cards here.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Military News: A Soldier’s Load Or A Soldier’s Anchor?

Average Paratrooper 72hr kit is 103.69lbs. Paratroopers are carrying 55% of their body weight. The recommended fighting load for a conditioned soldier should not exceed 48lbs and the approach march load should not exceed 72lbs (FM 21T18)

A big hat tip to Tom Ricks at FP’s Best Defense blog for finding this. After reading through the load outs of today’s soldier in the document below, I was just floored. This is ‘not’ light infantry, and in our desperate attempt to take all of the risk out of war fighting, we are actually making it even more dangerous for them and making our forces less combat effective. That is my opinion at least.

I mean how can a heavily weighted down soldier like this, outmaneuver an enemy like the Taliban, who usually wears the bare minimum of what is required for their assaults? And if you read this report below, soldiers invariable are forced to use CAS as the only viable means of killing the enemy–just because they cannot maneuver effectively. Which is fine, if you are dealing with an enemy that is not wise to how CAS or artillery works. But this enemy is much wiser than that, and especially after fighting the world’s best military after 12 plus years of war. They know the windows of opportunity of when to attack, and they know how long they have until we bring the big guns onto the scene.

The other thing that you don’t hear too much about is the amount of skeletal and back injuries that our soldiers are suffering, because we are asking them to wear all of this crap? I suspect the VA will be busy long after this war is over.

I think these load outs are indicative of the damage highly bureaucratic organizations like the military can inflict upon itself. You have a military constantly fighting with itself as to it’s true goal–is it to win wars, or to render warfare ‘safe and sane’ to use a fireworks analogy.

Then of course there is the politics of the matter, which the west is a victim of as well. If the public is more concerned with their troops fighting a war safely and coming home alive, and less concerned with winning a war at all costs, then I blame the politicians for pushing such a ridiculous concept. It put’s into question why we are there in the first place, if in fact we are this concerned with the actions within that war, as opposed to actually winning it? I know our enemies could care less about such frivolous things–and they are purely focused on the win–and at all costs.

Of course you want to protect the troops as best we can, but how are we protecting them when they can’t move around? Or they become heat casualties because of all the stuff they are carrying. Are we fully focused on winning the war, and at all costs–or are we only willing to fight a war if it is done safely from an MRAP, while wearing over a hundred pounds of kit and a reflective belt. lol

I guess another way to look at this, is to see what the enemy is doing. Do you think the enemy has the same obsession with making warfare safe and sane, and loading down their troops with over a hundred pounds of kit? Likewise, do they believe carrying more kit than us, makes them more combat effective on the battlefield? Because in this contest over who has the heaviest load, we are winning hands down. lol

Finally, I am always inspired by the great thinkers of warfare, like Sun Tzu. These guys understood warfare and strategy, and they lived it. In this contest between the west and groups like Al Qaeda or the Taliban, we will always see the enemy attacking weakness with strength because there is no way they can take us on directly. The Vietnamese understood this in the Vietnam War as well. Sun Tzu understood this in his war against the Chu’s, and so on. This is some basic stuff here, and our military leaders continue to forget this.  –Matt


Rifle Platoon Basic Load, OEF XII, 1/A/2/504 PIR

Tags: , , , ,

History: The 1854 Tong War, California

This is some fascinating US history that does not get much mention. I had heard about the Tong War in Weaverville when I was fighting forest fires there way back when. But I did not know about the details of this little known war.

Basically this was a classic Chinese battle between two mining companies/gangs in Northern California during the Gold Rush. And boy what a battle? Ironically, only four combatants died in the battle that had 2,500 participants! (the monument says 2000 participated and 26 were killed?)

The one bit of information that really perked me up after reading this article below was the the use of ‘white’ advisers. Here is the quote:

The Sam Yap Company, Hanley wrote, had purchased 150 muskets and bayonets and muskets in San Francisco.  They had employed fifteen whites as drill instructors.  The instructors were paid ten dollars daily along with all the food and whiskey they could handle.(What cost $10 in 1854 would cost $239.63 in 2010.)
Before the battle the fifteen white mercenaries painted themselves yellow, put on Chinese costumes, and hung a yard of horsehair tail down their backs in a mocking depiction of a Chinese queue.

I would be very interested to know who these fifteen advisers were?  At that time period, security contractors were vital to supporting all of the mail and banking activities that came along with the gold rush. The west was a rough place to operate in back then, and hired guns were essential for protecting shipments of gold heading back east or between the various towns of the west. Wells Fargo, American Express, Pinkertons, Butterfield Overland Mail, all started up around this time period. I am sure the Sam Yap Company was able to draw from this pool of security contractors that serviced this industry, to train their forces for this battle.

China was also in the process of modernizing it’s own military and drawing from the military expertise of Europe. So it does not surprise me that these companies would outsource the training of their combatants to insure a win. Which this little tidbit is also pretty cool. Here was the cost of the battle for each side:

After a hundred shots had been fired, the woefully underarmed Yan Wo beat a hasty retreat.  Thousands had watched and dueled, but the casualties were light.  Sources indicate a death toll of four.
The cost figures were much higher.  The Sam Yap Company had expended $40,000 in pursuit of victory, while the Yan Wo Company had spent $20,000 in defeat.

Either way, if you are ever in Northern California and looking for something interesting to do, go visit Weaverville and check out the Joss House. This place has a few of the original weapons that these combatants used. It would have been cool if more of the tactical details of this battle were available, but there really isn’t much out there about it.

I would speculate that if you were to draw from Chinese war fighting tactics of the early 1800’s, that we probably could have drawn some conclusions on how they might have went about fighting this war. But of course these guys were all miners/prospectors and if they had to resort to hiring advisers, and only 4 people died in the battle out of the 2500 that participated, then I have to imagine that it wasn’t that well planned or organized. So no Sun Tzu at this party. lol

Also, I am getting different dates for this war, and have decided to go with what the monument and the Joss House said about the date. So disregard the time period below. –Matt



CHINESE TONG WAR – Near Chinese Camp, October 1856
The historic Gold Country was a violent land — claim jumping, murder, theft, cheating at cards, and much more was quite common.
In October 1856, a different type of violence occurred near Chinese Camp.  It was a Chinese Tong War.
A Tong is defined as a Chinese secret society or fraternal organization.  While many Tongs were mostly social, some organizations engaged in gang warfare or ethnic revenge.
The Tongs were often rivals for control in the Chinese communities and public challenges toward one another were not unusual.  Along the Mother Lode in late Gold Rush California two Tongs were rivals for hegemony.  They were the Tuolomne County Sam Yap Company and the Calaveras County Yan Wo Company, headquartered near Chinese Camp.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Jundism: In Praise Of Those Who ‘Do’….

‘Only accurate rifles are interesting.’ -Townsend Whelen

This is a quick post, but important. For Townsend, only accurate rifles are interesting. I like that quote, and I think it works well with what I believe in, and that is ‘only those that do are interesting’. Over the years, I have received numerous emails from readers who had the courage ‘to do’ what is right. To quote Col. John Boyd, they chose the route of ‘to do’ when they came to that great crossroads of life that everyone experiences, and they wanted to share that with me.

These men and women are my heroes, and they are what inspire me every time I work on this blog or think about how to improve this industry and war effort. They are the unsung heroes of every company, military unit or government, that had the courage to stand up and demand excellence or battle with those who are unjust.  They have also done these things at peril to self, all because being righteous sometimes equates to being unpopular or not advancing in an organization. But at least they did not compromise what they believed in, and this is what makes them more interesting and more of a leader than any of those that strive ‘to be’.

There are other moments of jundism that I hear about that motivates me. Those that came up with the better idea, and fought hard for that better idea and won, are also my heroes. They might have built a snowmobile, and created a new idea, which is really awesome. Or they might have lost the battle, all because of someone else’s ego or pride.  Either way, that individual get’s my respect for fighting the good fight.

The other thing I like to focus in on with my exchanges with the readership, either here or at Facebook, is to empower those individuals in their personal battles. To actually give them the means to win those battles through sound strategy and good intelligence. ‘Know yourself, know your enemy’, as Sun Tzu would say.  But most importantly, win without fighting.

That last part is very important.  I want my readership to win their battles, and not face casualty. That is very hard to do though, and even in my personal battles, I have lost. But I have also won some battles, and the key is to learn from those losses and continuously improve upon your ability to win future battles. And of course, the ultimate in war fighting, or the battle of wills and ideas, is to win without fighting at all.

To do this, you must know your adversaries well, and know yourself so you can figure out what ‘winning’ really means. Studying strategy, and borrowing brilliance is crucial. You must also avoid fights that end up in pyrrhic victories. Seek fights where your strength can defeat their weakness, and get that win. I want you to continue working in this industry and become a force of change, or to be the example.  That is winning.  To destroy yourself while destroying your opponent is losing in my book. Remember this when thinking of conducting legal battles, or battles with management and other individuals in your particular occupation.

Finally, it gives me great pleasure to know that jundism and this blog is bringing about a revolution in thought process. I have readers who are now students of good leadership, who are innovators, who are not afraid to do what is right, etc. They are also students of strategy and are continuously improving. These  readers and leaders have embraced these ideas, and have used them to their advantage.  It is a privilege and honor to be a part of that process and serve this family.

For those that fall under the category of ‘to be’, all I have to say is that you do not earn my respect. Although there is something I do like about this loathsome group…..  I like to study you, so I can empower those that aspire ‘to do’, to defeat you. –Matt

“Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road,” he said. “And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.”
Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference.”
He paused and stared into the officer’s eyes and heart. “To be somebody or to do something.” In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do. Which way will you go?”- Col. John Boyd

Tags: , , , , ,

Logistics: SKA Air & Logistics And Somalia

“The line between disorder and order lies in logistics…”- Sun Tzu 

     I have had the opportunity to see SKA Air and Logistics in action in Iraq as have many contractors, and these guys have been busy.  They provide a very unique capability that involves setting up logistics and air services in war zones.  They are doing it in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and they are also trying to do this in Somalia.

     So why am I bringing these folks up now?  Well with all of the news of Saracen International in Somalia, or Erik Prince’s supposed involvement, to me the other interesting story that everyone is missing is the logistics side of this operation. That SKA was listed along with Saracen International for contracts in Somalia. Talk about a tough contract?

    Below I have listed as many stories as I could find about SKA and their recent dealings in Somalia.  From what I can gather, they had a contract to modernize the airport in Mogadishu and to modernize and manage the seaport. (a boat with all of their stuff and tools is in an Oman port as we speak) These two key logistics hubs are absolutely vital for any kind of future development in that country.  They are also vital to any stability operations or anti-piracy operations.

     What is also interesting about this contract, as with the Saracen contract, is that there is some heart ache within the ever changing government of the TFG in Somalia as to the particulars of the contracts. If the contracts were signed under different political leadership, then all sorts of issues pop up.  Of course the corrupt aspects of this ever evolving government want to ensure they get paid or get a cut of the action.  Then there are the warlords that currently manage or have control over the airport or seaports. Then there is Al Shabab and the Islamists and their influence on the situation. All of these forces add extreme complexity to establishing a contract and the services that go with.  But that is what SKA gets when dealing with a failed state and an active war zone. Like I said, this will be a very challenging contract to fulfill.

     As for jobs, if you check out their career section they have one position available for work at the seaport in Mogadishu. No word about guard contracts. From the website, SKA used Fijians as guards in Iraq. Who knows, maybe Saracen is involved with that aspect of the contract? I would speculate though that whatever company is used for guard services, the force would be a mix of local guard forces and the standard expat management.  Hopefully someone from the company can pop up and fill in the blanks.

     On a side note, oil exploration is ramping up in Puntland. One of my readers pointed this out to me and I thought this was an interesting tie in with the anti-piracy initiatives Saracen International has signed onto in that region. Are they connected, who knows, but these oil companies do benefit from a stable and secure Somalia. –Matt

Somalia: Nation Hands Over Mogadishu Airport to Foreign Company

SKA Air & Logistics to manage Aden-Adde International airport

Somalia: SKA Air And Logistics Denies It Takes Over Mogadishu Airport

Mogadishu port dispute


Welcome to SKA Air & Logistics

SKA Air & Logistics is a world-class provider of aviation services and logistics. The teams that currently make up SKA have been operating in Iraq since 2003 and are now expanding the operations in Kuwait, the UAE, Afghanistan and the African Continent. Our diverse capabilities include a wide range of Aviation Services, Ground Logistics, Life Support, Fuel Supply Chain Management, Camp Construction, and Security Services. We specialize in moving people and equipment smoothly and safely in challenging environments. We pride ourselves on combining unique solutions with unrivaled service helping you achieve your goals in the most difficult environments   and our motto, “Doing Difficult Jobs in Difficult Places.” is not just a marketing slogan it is a matter of proven historical record.


SKA Air & Logistics operates its own Security Force to ensure the security of all our installations, aircraft, staff and cargo. Chosen for their robustness, loyalty and unblemished record of service, the SKA Security Force is managed by former British and US military personnel and we currently operate security teams comprising of former Fijian Military staff. At the higher level we have members of senior management with extensive experience of military operations and the international security industry. Our security services include:

Asset Protection

Emergency & Contingency planning

Full Logistical & Administrative Security

Cash in Transit Services

Aviation flight Security

Static Guard Force

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,