This article was written by Samuel Culper and origially posted at Forward Observer.

photo credit: Forward Observer

Alexander the Great is probably my favorite historical figure.

I’m reading another biography on him and have some ‘take aways’ or lessons learned for SHTF Intelligence, believe it or not.

Most people don’t know that Alexander, all the way back in the 300s B.C., ran his own spy networks. That’s a pretty incredible feat, if you ask me, and it’s part of what make him such a great military strategist.

Before Alexander invaded the Greek city-states or the Persian Empire, he would basically do an Area Study.

He would recruit locals and area experts to inform him of routes like mountain passes; lakes, rivers, and other water sources; the languages and tribal allegiances of an area; and even the agricultural cycles.

In fact, he based some of his military campaigns to coincide with enemy harvest schedules to ensure that he could feed his army on the march.

One problem that plagued some of Alexander’s enemies is that, based on his study of physical terrain, he could move his army as quickly or faster than his enemies’ intelligence networks could warn of his presence.

Using the element of surprise, he would catch Greek city-states ill-prepared for his advance and, on more than one occasion, he fed false military plans into his enemies’ spy networks.

The more I read about Alexander’s use of intelligence, the more I consider what my own lessons learned are.

To be honest, it’s made me reconsider my own Area Study format. In the upcoming Area Study Live course (, I’m adding some additional items to my Area Study Checklist. Charley and I will be teaching 20 students how we gain an operational advantage by producing intelligence BEFORE an SHTF event. There are seven seats left for the course that begins on 15 October — next Tuesday. Sign up here.

One other take away from reading the first half of Freeman’s Alexander the Great is that we have to make sure that our intelligence travels faster than the threat.

In any SHTF scenario, I want instant communications. That probably means ham radio, especially in a grid-down scenario.

If folks in our prepper group or community security team are observing and gathering local threat information but can’t get it into the hands of those who need to know, then our SHTF Intelligence effort is failing us.

We have to ensure that we take steps today to solve this problem for tomorrow. If you’re looking for communications advice, I highly recommend AmRRON. If you’re still looking for a prepper group, then PrepperNet is a great place to start.

If you’re still trying to build your Area Study, then I encourage you to join us in Area Study Live. We meet online one night a week for four weeks. You’ll learn how to build an Area Study, what goes in it, and where to find local information. After the end of four weeks, you’ll have your Area Study built.

Equipped with this intelligence, you’ll be able to make better decisions in your preparedness and security planning because you’ll have well-informed and realistic expectations of a future SHTF event. This intelligence will be priceless. I hope to see you there. Seven seats left —>

Until next time, be well.

Always Out Front,
Samuel Culper