Posted in BlogMay 9, 2012Comments Off
By Steve Claggett | Director of Training | Fulcrum Tactical
Since the inception of SWAT in 1968, every team has searched for the “Magic Tactic.” The ultimate weapon, the ultimate round, the ultimate tools and, yes, the ultimate tactic. Weapon and ammo decisions are generally made way over an operator’s pay grade by “cubicle warriors” whose knowledge of operational needs are boiled down to beans and brass tacks. That is why, as an operator, you must remember to simply control what you can. Be proficient with whatever they give you.
Nothing evokes debate in the SWAT world more than tactics. Every team believes in and defends their tactics to the brink of fistfights. And passion in this job is a good thing as long as it does not cloud our judgment and stifle our objectivity. While teaching around the country, I’ve noted that the reason some teams use a certain tactic is because it was handed down by Sun Tzu himself and was above reproach or evaluation. The phrase “This is the way we’ve always done it…” should be forbidden verbiage in the tactical world (along with “I can’t…,” “Why me?” and “Hold my rifle while I try this…”).
As an example, I’m familiar with approximately NINE (9) different CQB systems for room domination. The four most common are: Points of Domination, Direct to Threat, Limited Penetration and Threshold Assessment. As with everything in life, each system has strengths and weaknesses. Both are revealed depending on environment, situation and the suspect’s motivation.
To quote John Holschen, a friend and spec ops medic, “You can moonwalk through doorways and be successful until somebody shoots at you.” I hope this statement does more than evoke the unsettling image of Michael Jackson poised in the stack kitted up in body armor, white socks and glitter glove.
What this statement should inspire is the premise of periodic
reassessments of our tactical doctrine.
Assess everything you do AND the way you do it from this simplistic standpoint: What do you GAIN? And what do you LOSE? As long as the gains outweigh the losses, then the option is viable.
Consider, after three energy drinks, the endless debate of “Dynamic” versus “Surround and Call-Out” for high-risk warrant service. The maelstrom of opinions generated across the country by this topic not only shows my command of the computer thesaurus (i.e. maelstrom), but also the visceral opinions on how to run the same operation. Both are right and both are wrong. My opinion on this: Be flexible enough to do either and everything in between.
Using the same template for every operation has gotten good teams in a ton of trouble. We are given an immense amount of tools to do this job (AKA: Tactical Options). Relying solely on the hammer for every gig shows not only a lack of tactical creativity but, in some cases, a disregard for operational priorities. Relying solely on the bullhorn also reflects a lack of imagination which equates to warrants drying up due to lack of seizures (Narco Cops objectives). Additionally, we eventually have to make entry. Have we created or lost a tactical advantage by announcing our intentions? The answer lies between the two options when executing most high risk warrants.
Situations must dictate tactics. Smart hurts less.
Quote of the day: “A warrior takes everything as a challenge while the ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse.” – Carlos Castaneda, Author/Anthropologist