Starting an ORBAT (Order of Battle)

I recently finished reading (and taking notes on…always take notes!) a 3-part series of articles on what is called an Order of Battle or ORBAT [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3].  It sounds like something the military would use (it is) but it has an application for preppers as well.

I won’t get too much in to the details of an ORBAT (go read the articles yourself) but as part of the mission of this blog (relevant posts about what I am doing in regards to prepping and all that), I wanted to mention my progress. Very little. That is how much progress I have made, granted I only finished the articles yesterday morning.

Some basic things about an Order of Battle.

  • One should be made for each enemy, neutral, and friendly force
  • They should be updated periodically for accuracy
  • They detail the command structure, strength, disposition, and resources of said force
  • They allow us to authoritatively predict (and eliminate) likely courses of action of those forces
  • 9 components
    • Composition
    • Disposition
    • Strength
    • Tactics
    • Training
    • Logistics
    • Combat Effectiveness
    • Electronic Technical Data
    • Miscellaneous Data

The practical application for preppers lies in the information learned about your own group, other known friendly groups in the area, and your local law enforcement agencies. If, ahead of time, you know the structure, capabilities, and likely actions/reactions of your own group, nearby groups, and local law enforcement, you are then able to predict how those groups will behave during a disaster or SHTF situation.

In my own situation, I have a local police department as well as the county sheriff. I know that my PD has an MRAP via the 1033 Program as well as an ERT team that trains monthly on dynamic entry, vehicle assault, covert entry, team movement, active shooters, etc. I also know they use SUVs and motorcycles, over 100 full time personnel and how that breaks down in to officers, civilians, K9s, and part-timers. This information is all going in to the ORBAT file for that agency.

I like my local PD. I am on good terms with them. Never written me a ticket and they have a good track record in general (also important to know). I am personally friends with several of the officers. I don’t consider them my enemy at all. At this point, they are somewhere between a friendly and neutral force. What happens when things go sideways and suddenly government acronym has tasked the PD with unconstitutional activities? Now they ARE my enemy and I need to know what they are capable of.

You also need to know what your friendly groups are capable of and what you can expect from them. Can they offer backup? Will they already be monitoring the airwaves for potential indicators of threat or will you have to be the one to let them know? Are they going to overreact and stir up trouble?

As I mentioned, I am in the process of moving. As I have time and certainly after I move, I will be finishing my ORBATs for my area. Some information I have but there is more to acquire, analyze, and document. I encourage you to read and take notes on the 3-part series mentioned above and do your homework.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

– Sun Tzu, The Art of War


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