Group Leadership

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Clyde, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    I have had a few discussions with others and wanted to ask some here there opinion on organizational heirarchy for a retreat.

    Assuming you have a diversified group, what type of leadership would you have for the group? Democracy? Discussion and then a single decision maker based upon the discussion? All thoughts are appreciated.
  2. TLynn

    TLynn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Democracy is a great thing (well not really, but it looks good on paper). In a retreat that you want to be organized?

    I'm thinking unless the group is well grounded, have worked together like a really long time - it wouldn't work. You'd have so many arguments that by the time you got around to retreating you'd be captured. You need someone with some sort of authority and that should be set up long before you think about retreating. I'm not saying a dictatorship but I am saying a clearly defined leadership (at least until you can get some place where you can decide what to do next).
  3. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Ethics and Leadership

    I favor a strong leader. I question if 'dictator' is the correct term, but nonetheless, someone with integrity, intellect, strength, courage, and knowledge. I think that natural leaders are recognized when met and will naturally emerge within any group. What's the saying - in the absence of true leadership, people will follow anyone.

    The following is a very interesting article I came across some time ago. It speaks directly to the qualities of leadership and is a good read.


    Manuel Davenport

    Professor Manuel M. Davenport, in a tribute to Col Mal Wakin entitled "Ethics and Leadership," examines Col Wakin's views and qualities of leadership, comparing them with those of Albert Schweitzer, whom Professor Davenport met in 1960. He claims that Wakin’s and Schweitzer's views of leadership are quite similar. Wakin’s concepts of competence and integrity parallel Schweitzer's technical expertise and moral authority. Both provide examples of transformational leadership. Schweitzer's Reverence for Life shares aspects of Wakin’s discussions of Natural Law theory, and both men exemplify strong, authoritarian leadership. Professor Davenport holds that by emulating Wakin and Schweitzer, we will become better leaders as well as better persons.

    In order to learn about "leadership," the most useful approach is to examine the examples of those who have inspired others to follow them. "Leadership," after all, is intentional term, and intentional terms always imply a relation to something else. "Touching," for example, is an intentional term because you cannot touch unless there is something to touch, and "leadership' is an intentional term because you cannot be a leader unless someone follows.

    In my lifetime I have been fortunate to have met and known two persons who not only acquired a large and devoted following, but who were also persons I have followed with complete confidence--and I am not a person who easily or quickly follows anyone.

    One of the outstanding leaders I met was Albert Schweitzer, the world famous medical missionary, philosopher, theologian and musician. I knew before I met him in 1960 that many people viewed him to be a saint and and hundreds of people during his fifty years in Africa had left everything to work with him at his hospital in the equatorial rain forest. One of the women who had worked for many years in the nursery in his hospital was a lovely American socialite, who told me that Schweitzer spoke to her only once every two or three months, but that was more than enough reward and incentive to keep her from returning to her comfortable, upper-class, Manhattan existence.

    The second person who exemplifies leadership for me I also met in 1960, when he was an Air Force captain teaching philosophy at the Air Force Academy. We were both attending a meeting of the Mountain Plains Philosophical Association at which the members decided to pass a resolution condemning American military intervention in Vietnam. Captain Mal Wakin informed the group that if such a resolution were passed, members of the Air Force Academy's Philosophy Department would be obligated to withdraw from the Association. I suggested that we might allow military members of the Association to take public exception to the proposed resolution, but this suggestion was met with righteous indignation, the resolution passed, and Captain Wakin and his military colleagues withdrew.

    Over the years, Mal Wakin remained active in the Air Force, served a tour of duty in Vietnam, became a Colonel and Permanent Professor, as well as Associate Dean, at the Air Force Academy. He is an internationally recognized authority on military ethics and, of course, the founding father of JSCOPE. Two different persons have told me--one a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the other a two-star Air Force general--that Gen. Wakin, to use his present rank, is widely viewed as "the conscience of the armed forces."

    Most recognized leaders are well aware of the nature and theory of leadership. Thus, it should be no surprise that Schweitzer and Wakin, as well as Patton, MacArthur, Churchill, and others, have thought and written extensively about leadership. And it does not surprise me that what Schweitzer and Wakin each say about leadership is quite similar.

    According to Schweitzer, leadership has two components: 1) technical expertise and 2) moral authority. Technical expertise is the ability and knowledge necessary to do what must be done to accomplish the desired objective. Moral authority is knowledge of and concern for what is best for those who follow you. Thus, a leader, one who inspires others to follow, is one who knows what is best for his followers, one who wants what is best for them, and one who knows how to achieve it.1 Schweitzer was confident that those he worked with, both Africans and Europeans, knew he was concerned for them and had the skills necessary to to achieve what was best for them.

    Wakin, although he uses different terms, finds that leadership consists of similar components. The first is integrity, which is a long-range and persistent commitment to moral principles. A person of integrity does not change moral principles when they become unpopular or inconvenient. A person of integrity, as David attested in the Psalms, is "like a tree planted by the waters, which shall not be moved."2

    The second component is competence, which like Schweitzer's "technical expertise," is the skill and knowledge necessary to realize one's chosen objectives. Thus, in agreement with Schweitzer, Wakin is saying that a leader must be both technically proficient and morally committed. Wakin, in fact, ties both components together by insisting that a leader has a moral obligation to be competent.3

    Both Schweitzer and Wakin, it should be emphasized, insist that it is not enough in order to be a good leader to be technically proficient only. One who is technically proficient in the pursuit of bad goals or in the absence of a moral concern for subordinates will lead his followers to destruction even more quickly than an incompetent saint. On the other hand, it is not sufficient to possess moral integrity only. One can have the best of intentions and lead others to disaster because of a lack of necessary knowledge and skills. As Billy Sunday liked to say, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

    Now at this point it may occur to you that a true leader might well suffer from moral and intellectual arrogance because he must be confident that he knows what is best for others and confident that he knows how to obtain it and I must confess that both Schweitzer and Wakin were persons quite confident about both their moral and technical expertise. I have been aware, in the presence of each, of a self-confidence that radiated out from them and attracted people to follow them. But neither of them really suffered from the kind of proud, self-righteous arrogance that we often see in leaders who are lacking in both morality or skill.

    Why not? It is, I think, important to ask this question because in answering it we will discover a critical difference between the kind of leadership advocated by Schweitzer and Wakin and the kind of arrogant, egotistical leadership exhibited by those who focus only upon the objective and ignore the human subordinates they manipulate.

    The egotistical leader, who may quite correctly believe that his objective is moral, does become arrogant when willing to ignore the values of those who follow and sacrifice them, if necessary, in order to achieve the goal. Such a leader--called by Wakin a transactional leader--generally establishes a contractual relationship with his followers: you do what I tell you and I will see that the goal is reached. Such a leader generally measures the efforts of his followers in quantitative terms--how many dollars made, how many bodies killed, how many students per class--and he generally demands an impossible perfection.

    Wakin advocates and follows a different leadership style--that of the transformational leader who seeks by means of moral example to persuade followers to adopt a goal that is in the best interest of the community.4 Again, Schweitzer agrees. "Example," he was fond of saying, "is not the main thing. It is the only thing."

    The transformational leader, therefore, is neither morally nor intellectually arrogant because his success does not depend upon merely reaching a certain objective but depends rather upon convincing his followers that the goal is worthwhile and upon winning their willing cooperation in its pursuit. It is the goal of the transformational leader to create a morally sensitive and technically proficient community which will be able to continue to realize its objectives in the future--even when the present leader is no longer present.

    Albert Schweitzer and his daughter and only child, Rhena, disagreed often concerning the operation of the hospital at Lambarene. She wanted it to be much more modern than it was and he adopted innovations with careful reluctance. As he was dying, however, he designated Rhena to be the new director of the hospital. A few months later Rhena and I were attending a conference in Schweitzer's honor in Aspen and she asked me, "Why do you think Daddy picked me to run the hospital?" I gave her what I thought was a truthful and simple answer. Her father knew that she was a person of deep conviction and integrity who would be the kind of leader and example the hospital needed. The fact that she would use different methods was not as important to him as the fact that she was devoted to serving the hospital and its patients.

    I have been fortunate to serve two tours as a visiting professor under Mal Wakin's leadership at the U.S.A.F.A. and, thus, I have witnessed his successful and unusual efforts to lead by example. Truly democratic departments are rare even in the civilian world, but Gen. Wakin has lead and operated a democratic department in a military academy for 35 years. In departmental discussions of course development and teaching, everyone contributes, regardless of rank, and if a consensus does not emerge, the majority rules. He wants his department to be a community in which persons respect and help each other, and he conveys this desire by helping and respecting his department members. As one of his department members told me, "He really believes that if he is a well-prepared, enthusiastic teacher, everyone else will be one, too. He really believes that if he works 12 to 15 hours a day, the other department heads will do the same. And, you know what, everyone works harder than they thought they could."

    As transformational leaders, both Schweitzer and Wakin have provided those who followed them with new meanings and directions by calling forth their best intentions and efforts. They have not demanded personal sacrifices for the sake of a cause but have offered personal fulfillment in a joint and common pursuit of greater personal value. Thereby they ask of us nothing less than to become new leaders possessing our own moral authority.

    Is this demand they make of us reasonable or even fair? I think that many of us at this point are tempted to disclaim responsibility for leadership by contending that great leaders are not made but born. The Schweitzers and Wakins of this world, it is too easy to say, are natural leaders, the happy accidents of good genes and fortunate circumstance, and, of course, it follows that the rest of us, products of more average form and substance cannot be expected to do anything more than make an occasional and token moral exertion in their honor. In truth, however, neither Schweitzer nor Wakin were leaders by accident. Both Schweitzer and Wakin, and in this respect they differ from leaders driven by a desire for fame or a sense of destiny, have based their lives of leadership on slowly and carefully developed ethical theories.

    Schweitzer's ethical theory, well known as "Reverence for Life,"5 stipulated that it is good to promote the will-to-live of all creatures and it is evil to harm and obstruct their wills-to-live. What he attempted to do in Africa was to provide by his life and service an example that would inspire others to practice Reverence for Life and to do so effectively.

    Reverence for Life, according to Schweitzer, requires us to be as ethical as possible and, if the circumstances make it impossible for us to be completely ethical, it requires us to recognize and atone for our failures. As he put it:

    He who under the influence of supra-personal responsibility simply sacrifices men and human happiness when it seems right . . . has not reached the highest level . . . We have spiritual influence only when others notice that we do not decide coldly in accordance with principles . . . but in each case fight for our sense of humanity.6

    Wakin bases his theory of transformational leadership on Natural Law Theory which stresses working for the common good of the community, promoting basic human values, and striving to be competent.7 One of the major human values, according to Natural Law Theory, is the acquisition of knowledge by the use of reason, and Wakin contends that because we have a moral obligation to develope our minds we have also, as professionals, a moral obligation to be competent and respect the truth.

    Because he believes we are obligated to work for the common good Wakin has no respect for ethical egoism. Although Utilitarianism is concerned with the good of the community, Wakin dismisses it because it fails to recognize that the good of the community must be based on natural values which cannot be sacrificed for the common good. Kant is worthy of consideration because he does recognize that certain basic values cannot be compromised, but he fails to see, as Aristotle did, that we are morally obligated to have not only a good will but also a high level of technical expertise.

    Before concluding, I must address a comment that has been directed at both Schweitzer and Wakin. Both have been called "paternalistic" leaders, and given our current cultural climate, the implication is negative. Schweitzer confronted this charge by responding that "paternalism" was superior to what has replaced it. He admitted that he did think of himself as both morally and intellectually superior to those who were his subordinates and patients; otherwise, why should he lead or why should they follow? Wakin may be more modest than Schweitzer and certainly he is more tactful, but I have seen him in action and he does not hesitate to exercise either his military, moral, or intellectual authority when the situation requires. Let us say, then, in a spirit of charity, that both have been "authoritarian" leaders, and let me suggest that this is why they are followed. We know as we follow them that we become more like them--we become not only better persons but we become leaders ourselves.


    1. Albert Schweitzer, On the Edge of the Primeval Forest (New York: Macmillan, 1956), pp. 82-83, 88-89.

    2. Malham M. Wakin, "The Ethics of Leadership I," War, Morality, and the Military Professsion, (Boulder, CO, Westview Press, 1986), pp. 196-197.

    3. Wakin, "The Ethics of Leadership II," op. cit., pp. 211-212.

    4. Ibid., pp. 210-211.

    5. Schweitzer, Out of My Life and Thought (New York: Mentor Books, 1957) pp. 123-127; The Philosophy of Civilization (New York: Macmillan, 1960),pp. 286-315.

    6. Schweitzer, The Philosophy of Civilization, p. 326.

    7. Wakin, "The Ethics of Leadership II," pp. 204-205, 214-215.
  4. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I would say something along the lines of a democracy to choose leaders and set the general rules of the group, but have a different leader for each aspect, ie one person is in charge of security concerns, one is in charge of feeod concerns, one is in charge of mediating disagreements, etc. much the way that many indian tribes governed themselves. This way if there is an attack or any imediate need for security issues then the security person can already have SOPs in place and everyone can know thier duties and who to listen to, this above any other would have to be a position that would, at least at times of crisis, have absolute power. The methods of operation and SOPs could be discussed and aproved by the group in advance but you do have to have a person for certian situations who has full controle until resolution, you dont want to be takeing a vote on wether to charge or run for cover if being attacked. However by giveing power to multiple people for different aspects of need no one has total power to become a tyrent and someone would also need to be elected as a moderator/judge to settle disputes between individuals as well as to oversee 'trials' of anyone who violates the rules of the group.
    A lot of this also depends on the size and dynamics of the group, in a group that consists of one family (mom, dad, kids) the structure would be different that 3 or 4 families and even these would be a bit different from a group of say 100 people and it also depends on if you plan to be a uninted comunity that all work together all the time on everything and all toward the good of the group or just a confederation of families or cells where each family or houshold or whatever is independent and only comes together to confront group threats while generaly working independently toeard thier individual goals.
    Just my take on it.
  5. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    monkeyman, I agree with the hierarchical structure but I do believe that every such structure needs someone at the head to coordinate the various task leaders. I believe its helpful to have at least one person with the advantage of seeing the big picture.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    What MM said. Sage, medicine man, war chief, mediator, sargeant at arms, all under different heads of hair or lack thereof. The group, of whatever size, has to be pretty much in agreement as to who has the specialized ability to fulfill the duties of the position, and cannot argue every point raised. I like line organizations, I've seen the mess that can be made of things when the operation is run by committee.

    "The egotistical leader, who may quite correctly believe that his objective is moral, does become arrogant when willing to ignore the values of those who follow and sacrifice them, if necessary, in order to achieve the goal. " (From above. Remind you of anyone?"
  7. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I personaly kind of figure that haveing the leaders organize themselves and anwser to the group can have the binifit that you then dont have anyone who can pull ALL the strings and thus no ONE person gets so puch power and thus avoiding some of the pit falls, the mediator also would be in a position to direct the seperate heads but this would be primairly through the individuals of the group bringing it to him.
    This is however all acidemic and in an ideal situation, once reality and human nature set in you run into the fact that who evers name is on the deed of the area where the group is, is likely going to at least on certian topics if not in general, have a bit of my way or the hyway mind about things, especialy if this was thier home and the rest have come to join them.
  8. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    THis is all fine... But I do think that if a crisis comes up after the SHTF situation that has caused the group to come together, THere may not be time to discuss, take a vote, compromise etc. THere may need to be times when a military structure unfolds and there is someone with the ultimate decision. Ever been in a 50/50 partnership? Mine lasted 2 years and most of that was hell.

    Group SOPs could perhaps take care of this problem, but I think you'd still need one at the top. Maybe only for Critical scenarios and not day to day life
  9. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Agreed, like I said, any time there is an attack or security situation the person in charge of that would have to have full controle durring the crisis and SOPs as well as some form of chain of command would have to be established prior to need or you just wind up with a total cluster.....ummmmm...fornication where all get screwed as they run over each other trying to figure out what thier roll is and what they should be doing.
    Most of my statments pertained to daily liveing and functioning though since if things are so bad that confrontation is the daily norm then the group will soon be wiped out any way since even a superior force will generaly incure at least some casualties from a confrontation that they 'win', but absolutely, in a crisisor security situation you have to have one leader with established chain of comand and sucession to also know who steps up when the leader is eliminated.
  10. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Another thing that must be taken into consideration when determining the form of leadership is those who are to be led. Sheeple will do well and even need a heavy hand to guide them and tell them when and where to squat in order to survive, much less to be of any use. On the other hand, folks who are strongly individualistic are likely to be more useful but are not likely to respond as well to being informed of what they WILL do and when and the more one attempts to controle them the more they will resent it. So there would be some groups that may need a dictatorship while others could not function in this way.
    Take for an example our mation, there are many of the sheeple who would be lost if big brother wasnt there to tell them what is best and to take care of them even thinking that there should be more 'leadership and government intervention, while there are others who are stifled by the opressive intrusions and are pressed to function within the restraints of being ruled by what government is already in place.
  11. TLynn

    TLynn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    monkeyman, you've got a good point there. However, for all that there are those that even though they be individualists understand command and survival. In certain situations they will put their individualism aside for the short term.

    No, it wouldn't work in a long term situtation because of the dynamics, but it could work for short term gain (if they saw it as a gain or a possible win situation for themselves).
  12. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yup, basicly that even highly independent folks can do a chain of command and follow orders and such to acomplish a given task, I was refering basicly to haveing a group of individualists trying to function under a strong dictatorship on a daily basis, as in being told how to run thier crops, livestock, arange thier quarters, etc., for things that were not common threat situations as clearly.
    I guess what Im saying is just that the question IMHO is a bit to broad to have one tidy anwser with out more specific info on the group. However there would have to be a strong leadership for any group for any battle type situation, just not sure that power running from the top would alwayse work for daily life situations.
  13. TLynn

    TLynn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    For day to day operations - nope wouldn't work at all with strong minded individuals. It's just not a viable mix. You'd have to have the individualistic people on top and the sheeple below for it to work. And even then you'd find wolves among the sheeple where you'd least expect them.

    That's how revolutions start.
  14. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Well then to for the most part sheeple would be pretty useles anyhow for most groups or at least would not be worth what they would consume. IMHO I wouldnt want the sheeple for a group I was in unless it was the only one I could find to fill a key position like say some med expertise. So I figure it would generaly be the sheeple in thier flocks and if they are lucky they end up with a decent shepherd and then the individuals would likely gravitate to like minded folks. Would you be feeding the unprepaired masses all of what you had in preperations? I doubt many would.
  15. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I can't imagine anyone at SM functioning well under a dictatorship. However, I believe there is a vast difference between true leadership and a unilateral decision maker.
  16. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    All arguements are excellent depending on the situation. I read patriots 3 times since last november. The basic structure of their group had many of the aspects I believe necessary for the group dynamic given the relationships of those involved. There were times when the group was called together to pow-wow on a subject and they voted. Usually they agreed unanimously. I think on one occassion the majority of the group wanted to handle a situation differently and they were overridden by the leader. When time allows for it, there should be a directed group discussion and taking in of everyone's voice but in the end a decision maker needs to be responsible for the action.

    The leader, in my opinion, needs to be the one who anticipates future problems and assigns people their tasks based upon perceived skill sets. They need to almost be like a CEO who is managing a bunch of vice-presidents to be sure the SOPs for each skill set are coming together and this will then allow him/her (I put her in for the ladies!) [clp] to defer to their judgement when the time arises. The greatest gift a manager has is to empower his/her people to do what is needed and not micro manage. In the end, the CEO has to be the one who is responsible for what has happened, or going to happen.
  17. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Maybe it is more like a marriage. Granted, this involves more than just 2 parties, but other aspects are similar. In my house, my wife and I have an equal say in what happens. She is a strong willed, opinionated woman, who often has a different take of what should be done in any given situation. This can lead to loggerheads concerning decisions that we have to make, and we both realized early in our relationship that comprimises would have to be made.

    I know that a lot of us here, including myself, often feel that the only way to solve a problem is the way that we have come up with. Nothing is more humbling than haveing the one you love poke a hole in your perfectly concieved plan. As frustrating as this can be, I must grudingly admit that more often than naught she is correct with her assessment. Over time, this has taught me not only to plot better plans, but also to listen to what she has to say. Often she has great ideas that solve the problem in a manner that is more effective than the one which I proposed.

    As for the comprimises, well, it sometimes takes a while, but we are still together and still commited to moving forward. Often, one of us has better info than the other, and as a result takes the lead in how we should procede, comprimising as we go. This is not a perfect system, but it works for us.

    Expanding this to a group, I think that MM is on to something. People are more likely to work towards a common goal if they feel that they are being heard. For things like crop rotation, or when to harvest, you find the individual with the most knowledge who is willing to say what they think should occur, and you have it presented to the group. The group in turn talks about what needs to be discussed, a decision is reached, and life moves on.

    As for military matters, SOPs should be decided ahead of time, and the person who is most qualified should be placed in command. When things need to be decided quickly, group effort is counter productive. Not every thing needs to be decided quickly however.

    My approach to this problem, would be to gather those that have sought refuge with me and mine, and to sit down and form some rules that we can all can live with. I don't think that I have all the answers to every problem, and I typically choose friends that are not only strong willed and independent, but also have a skill set that I value. These same people are not going to climb aboard without being able to voice concerns that they have. I see it as two options, I can attempt to dominate and risk losing a valuable asset, or I can comprimise and have a strong group that I know is on the same page as me.

    Think of what occured as we set this place up! Each of us has fallen into different roles. We all have a voice in what occurs. Melbo technically is the bossman, but he is smart enough to realize that he is in a better position with all of us on board. I supposed it could be argued that he has final say, and that we can leave if we don't like it, but I don't believe that it will ever come to that.

    Sorry for the length of this, it's just my .02.
  18. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    phishi, your .02 is pretty well on the mark according to me. However, I observe that this bunch of folks on this forum are not likely to tolerate sheeple for long in a group situation. Meaning the chances are pretty good that there will be some strong willed folks that are going to come to a concensus of who is in charge of what, and it better be well in advance of need.

    Which again points to a group operation ginned up sooner than later. Which points to individuals making preparations to get to some place where the group can establish itself. Which basically means that all are going to have to prepare for individual activities BEFORE the group can be physically constitued in some proper location.

    And then who are in the group?
  19. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    I meant to post this in this thread but got confused (easy thing for me) and posted it in another.So I am now posting it here as intended.Sorry for the confusion.

    I didn't jump into this for awhile so that I could put together some things.So here for what it's worth is my contribution to the discussion.A bit long but I think there are some good points there to make folks think.MM

    Let’s say for information purposes that we know someone who is part of a well established, serious and dedicated group of people who intend to survive any TEOTWAWKI event that may come. These folks would have been together for years and over time weeded out all the wannabes and the dreamers and schemers. Their SOPs and leadership hierarchy would, if nothing else, serve as an example of how a group might be organized and function as a cohesive unit in planning and preparing for any eventuality.
    This fictional group would have been together before Y2K and that non-event would have served as a dress rehearsal for them and pointed out weaknesses and flaws in their preparations. Flaws that now would have been eliminated.
    Their leadership hierarchy would be as follows;

    Commanding Officer
    A Democracy does NOT work in a survival situation. One person would be designated as the CO and have the final word on all matters. Just as a democracy does not work, neither does a dictatorship. The CO is not an enviable position. He/She has to be someone who takes all others opinions into consideration and makes decisions based on the overall good of the entire group. Someone who can and will make decisions as the situation permits and sticks by them. As impartial an arbitrator as possible, always keeping in mind the good of the many over the good of the few. No matter whom the few may be. Thier decisions will never satisfy everyone, but everyone should be satisfied that their decisions are fair and for the benefit of the entire group.

    (A note on terminology. This group would have decided to use military terms for their leaders as a simple and familiar means of identification. The titles do not necessarily reflect a military organizational structure)

    Tactical Officer
    This person would have military experience (preferably) and/or have studied combat tactics. They would be in charge of all defenses and operations in a tactical or self defense situation.

    Logistics Officer
    This person would be in charge of all stocks for the group. They would maintain an inventory of all items possessed by the group and would institute and monitor rationing if needed.

    Medical Officer
    This person would be a nurse or doctor preferably. They would be in charge of stocking all medical equipment and supplies needed for the group. In any medical emergency they would be in command. They would monitor the health of all members.

    Game Procurement Officer
    This person would ideally be someone with extensive hunting experience. Someone well versed with not only peacetime hunting but knowledgeable of survival hunting as well. They would coordinate and be in charge of all wild game hunting. They would decide when and where that hunting was to take place and coordinate and lead hunting parties.

    Food Procurement Officer
    This person would be in charge of all domestic food procurement. They would oversee and manage all planting and harvesting. They would be in charge of any domestic animals and insure effective management and use of all resources. They should not only be knowledgeable in gardening and animal husbandry but also in harvesting natural plants and herbs.

    Equipment Officer
    This person would be in charge of all group equipment. All vehicles, machinery and tools. They would insure that transportation was available and in shape. Spare parts for all group equipment was stocked. This person should have good mechanical skills or general all around handy man skills. They would be in charge of all retreat maintenance, modifications and repairs.

    Communications Officer
    This person would have or acquire the skills necessary to install and maintain an effective communications set up. They would be in charge of all comm. equipment and monitoring and would insure proper communications security measures were followed.

    Each one of these officers would have certain responsibilities both pre and post TEOTWAWKI.They would select and train if necessary others in their field of expertise. For example, in our fictional group the Medical Officer is a registered nurse. But she has under her, two group members that have had EMT training.
    And being assigned officer status in one area does not preclude you from serving in another. In our example the Equipment Officer also is one of the ones with EMT training and is subject to use by the MO if the need arises.
    A very strong trait that should be strived for is as much cross training as possible. Every Officer should have others that can fill in or take over their position if needed.
    The more diversified a group is in their skills and talents the stronger they are.
    Our example group would have learned that to consolidate knowledge or skill in only a few is a recipe for disaster. They would have adopted the concept of force multiplication.
    To have just a few people trying to learn and acquire everything that a group like this needs is folly. The smart approach that our group has learned the hard way is to delegate the areas of needed expertise to as many as possible. Each officer is required to learn and acquire as much knowledge as possible in their area of expertise. Then by using the force multiplier effect they then teach the rest of the group as much as is possible of what they have learned.
    For example, our fictional group raises the money amongst themselves to send their Tactical Officer to a national training school for intensive tactical training. Then that TO comes back to the group and shares what he has learned in weekend training sessions. This way the entire group gets professional training for the cost of only one member.
    There are sub groups within each of these positions. Such as in our fictional group one member is an experienced gunsmith. But instead of assigning them as Weapons Officer. They fall under the command of the Equipment Officer. You don’t want too many chiefs. Remember the KISS principal. This also serves to take the strain of leadership (which can be enormous) off of the CO. The other officers oversee their specific area and all sub categories under them.
    Here is a list of responsibilities for our fictional group’s officers.

    Commanding Officer
    Plan and organize meeting with all other officers. Chair meetings and help group to establish and develop effective plans and SOPs. See that all other officers are fulfilling their duties. Remove if necessary any officer not living up to their responsibilities.

    Provide leadership and guidance in getting retreat set up and functional. Oversee all officers in the performance of their duties. Make sure all SOPs and protocols are being followed.
    Meet daily with all officers and make any decisions necessary for safety and security of group. Mediate any differences or debates among officers.

    Tactical Officer
    Obtain as much training and knowledge of battle, and defensive tactics as possible. Train other group members in tactics.Develope SOPs for all situations foreseen i.e.; contact with refugees, retreat defense, group excursions etc.Coordinate with EO on needed equipment and spare parts for weapons etc.Develope along with other officers a group standard weapon. Compile a personal weapons list for each member and help each member to acquire the group standard equipment.

    Oversee all security for retreat. Establish guard schedules and assign duties. Insure adherence to all security SOPs. Organize and lead any excursions outside of retreat area. Assume command during any contact with outsiders or in any other tactical situation.

    Logistics Officer
    Compile list of all equipment possessed by group. Including all food, medicine, weapons, clothing, etc.
    Make recommendations for group standard supplies and or individual items. Report to CO on any areas where you think that the group as a whole is lacking. Coordinate any group purchases.

    Maintain record of all consumable items. Institute a rationing plan if necessary. If trade or barter is established make lists of needed items and items usable for barter.

    Medical Officer
    Compile list of all members’ health status. Any medications, allergys, blood types, etc.Obtain any items needed to provide for the health needs of group. Make recommendations for items needing to be obtained by group. Make list of personal items for each member to aquire.Obtain any and all training and knowledge possible that may benefit group. Specifically holistic and natural remedies and procedures. Train other group members.

    Set up and run a clinic at retreat. Oversee all medicine stocks.Instittute and monitor a health regiment for all members.

    Game Procurement Officer
    Acquire any skills and knowledge necessary to perform assigned duties. Share knowledge with and train other group members. Make list of needed equipment and coordinate with EO on acquiring; crossbow, airrifle, nets, snares etc.

    Coordinate and lead all hunting parties. Decide what when and where hunting is to be done. Set traps, snares etc. and maintain.
    Organize and oversee all butchering of wild and domestic animals.

    Food Procurement Officer
    Make list of all types of seed and equipment needed for large scale food production. List and procure any domestic animals and equipment needed for them. Obtain any items needed for food storage. Obtain all knowledge possible in your area.

    Will be in charge of what where and when to plant and harvest. All food preparation and storage. All domestic animal raising and harvesting. Will organize and lead wild edibles foraging expeditions. Will coordinate with MO on growing and harvesting medicinal herbs.

    Equipment Officer
    Will compile list of all equipment possessed by group. i.e. all vehicles, machinery, tools, etc.Will make list of all recommended spare parts for equipment including material for maintenance and repair of retreat. Will obtain any and all training in regards to repair and maintenance of group equipment. Will make recommendations for group purchases etc. ie; welding machines, metal lathe etc.

    Will assume responsibility for maintenance of all group equipment. Will be responsible for assigning equipment out and insuring that it is used correctly and safly.Will be in charge of any and all construction or maintenance projects at retreat. Will oversee all maintenance of retreat.

    Communications Officer
    Will make list of all group comm. equipment. Will make recommendations for group standard comm. equipment. Will obtain any comm. equipment and or training; ham license etc.Will establish Com-Sec SOPs.

    Will set up comm. station at retreat. Will issue and monitor condition of all personal comms.Will create a monitoring schedule and assign duties. Will oversee and enforce all Com-Sec SOPs.

    I know this is a long list, but this just barely touches upon the basics. The protocols and SOPs of our fictional group have been adopted and modified over several years. And what works for them may not work for another group. The main thing is to work together for the good of the whole. Our fictitional group may have adopted a motto something like this;
    “The strength of the wolf is in the pack. The strength of the pack is in the wolf.”
    Knowledge is power and the more knowledge a group acquires now the stronger they will be in the future. A well rounded survival library will be a gold mine in a TEOTWAWKI situation.

    One note on retreat selection. Our fictional group would research all factors ie; nuclear targets, radiation fallout patterns, attitudes of people in the area etc before choosing a site to purchase land and establish a retreat. They would have pre-positioned much of their supplies at this retreat. But unlike the group in “Patriots” which our group drew heavily upon, our group would have multiple retreat locations near each other and have supplies pre positioned at each. Members who were capable would move to and live at the main retreat areas to provide security for the groups possessions. These retreats would be located a minimum of 100 miles from the nearest metropolitan center and would adjoin or be very close to a national Forrest. For those not living at the retreat, various routes would be scouted and supplies cached along the most probable routes of travel. A small acreage of land would be purchased in a remote area near to the route of travel and equidistant to the main retreat and the furthest away of the members. A short term (1 month for 3 people) supply would be cached at this “rest area”.
    A “meeting area” would be established in a location central to the most members.(possibly a fairly defensible and sustainable home site of one of the members).All surrounding members would gather there post SHTF and proceed from there to the retreat.

    Of course these are just fictional preparations our imaginary group might have made. They could always be improved and expanded upon.
    One final thought. Our group would have looked at and considered all possible situations and determined what worked and what didn’t. This is easily done by looking at two sources. One is survival fiction. There is a lot to learn from writers who try to envision a future TEOTWAWKI world. The other and probably best source for learning what to do and not do for a group organization is recent history.
    Examples of what doesn’t work are found at Ruby Ridge and Waco. Randy Weaver took his family and moved to a remote region. He had a self sufficient lifestyle and was well prepared. But his very isolation was his greatest threat. When the MZBs came. In the form of federal LEOs, the small number of defenders, and the isolation of their position, doomed them.
    On the other end of the spectrum was the Branch Davidians.They gathered together in numbers sufficient to withstand most MZB attacks. They held their own very well in the initial attack on them. But the size of their group and their very public activities insured that any preparations they made could not possibly go unnoticed.
    So our group would have learned from this and adopted a somewhere in the middle option. For security a group has got to be a minimum size. Most authors and ponderers of the SHTF world agree that no more than a dozen family units is the ideal size for a self sufficient and secure group. A retreat that doesn’t see a lot of activity that would arouse the curiosity of neighbors. Our group makes it a point to never have more than a handful of members at the retreat at any one time. Also all weapons, tactics training takes place somewhere else.
    Our fictional group would believe that the best scenario is a group of approximately 50 adults known and trusted by each other, but coordinated with other groups around the same geographic area. Any group is subject to be overrun if faced with a superior force. No matter what that force may be. Our group would hold that the best defense is to make it known that they will not harm others and only want to be left alone. And that any attempt to “Take them out” would be so costly to the aggressor that it would not be worth the effort. To that end members of our fictional group would devote themselves to learning every conceivable means of inflicting the heaviest casualties possible with the fewest people. Every IED, field expedient, homemade, covert, black book, anarchist device ever created in the warped mind of man would be studied and committed to memory as insurance against the day that it would ever be needed. In a strictly defensive mode of course.
    Knowledge is power.
  20. RightHand

    RightHand Been There, Done That RIP 4/15/21 Moderator Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Maybe some of newer members have something to add to this great discussion.
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