Doctrine of Necessity (The Tactical Edge, Fall, 2013, pp. 82-84) Police Strategy

When making recommendations on a tactical intervention it is common to be asked for the chances of success.  This identifies the feasibility of the venture.  Because certainty is never possible in any tactical situation feasibility is most often expressed as a...

Micro-terrain vs. Prominent terrain (The Tactical Edge, Summer 1994, p. 60) Police Strategy and Tactics

Micro-terrain is simply terrain which will have an impact on your operation but is too small or insignificant to be depicted on a map.  Examples of micro-terrain may include sheds, rocks, fences, plants or ditches.  It is micro-terrain which requires diagrams and...

“Mindless consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” -Paraphrased from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays

Command Relationships (The Tactical Edge, Fall, 2011, pp. 82-85)

Every tactical operation is overseen by an organization specifically designed to assign and direct critical personnel and equipment to resolve an unfolding crisis.  Sociologists refer to these organizations as emerging multi-organizational networks (EMONs).[1]  One...

Tempo and Initiative (The Tactical Edge, Summer 1996, p. 75) Tactical Operations

Every tactical operation is a result of a unique and temporary combination of circumstances.  Unique, because each circumstance is dependent only upon those factors which are present at the particular time and place.  Temporary, because the outcome of actions affects...

Force Continuum (The Tactical Edge, Fall 2006, pp. 64-66)

Fundamental to employing force options is a thorough understanding of a concept called the “force continuum.”  In the most simple terms, a force continuum is simply a tool used to describe a succession of force options from minimal to maximum.  It is one of the most...

Sectors of Fire vs. Fields of Fire (The Tactical Edge, Winter 1996, p. 71) Police Tactics

Two of the most often confused terms in tactical operations are “Sectors of Fire” and “Fields of Fire.”  Although they are closely related, they describe different characteristics and have entirely different functions. A field of fire is defined as that area which a...

OpFor Gaming (The Tactical Edge, Winter 2010, pp. 50-52)

During the First Peloponnesian War nearly 2,500 years ago, Pericles was giving a speech to the Athenians when he stated that “I am more afraid of our own mistakes than our enemies’ designs.”[1]  In truth, most tactical operations and disaster responses fail not...

Splitting an EMON (The Tactical Edge, Fall 2008, pp. 58-60)

All events requiring a tactical intervention tend to evolve from a simpler form to one that is more complex.   A warrant service that escalates to an operation with barricaded suspects, for one example, or fires that eventually require evacuations, and protests and...

Failure Analysis (The Tactical Edge, Fall 2009, pp. 64-66)

Somewhat ironically, one of the most valuable methods for achieving success in tactical operations is by analyzing failures.  The harmonious resolution of the factors and influences involved in successful operations make them all but indistinguishable from each other...

About Field Command

Field Command is a company founded by retired police officers with a desire to pass on the lessons learned from years of practical experience in handling tactical operations and disaster responses.Likewise, they have extensive military backgrounds and are not only experienced but thoroughly grounded in the doctrinal science that supports sound planning and decision making. Using the military metaphor, they all have “muddy boots” from being in the trenches and can personally explain what worked and what didn’t. Even more importantly, however, they can explain why. This single word has become a mantra for explaining the reason such a focus is needed.

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Law enforcement has become a highly specialized and complex function and teaching the multitude of essential skills is both costly and time-consuming. Accordingly, nearly all law enforcement training is focused on what to do and how to do it rather than why it is necessary. While these boilerplate responses will suffice for repetitive situations, they leave decision makers with no other options when they do not understand why something is important (or not). This can easily lead to disaster when a commander applies a solution designed for one set of circumstances but which is woefully inadequate for the current one. As Abraham Maslow noted, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you have to think of every problem as a nail.”

Incident commanders, planners, and decision makers involved in handling crises of all sorts are far better able to recognize and understand the factors and influences in play if they have first mastered the science that identifies them and explains their significance. Understandably, they are also more capable of adapting and improvising when conditions change. We don’t make any claims on knowing “the” way to do these things but we can tell you a 100 ways on how not to do them. Hence, if you just avoid the things that we know that don’t work you’ll start where we left off!

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