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VOLUME 11 • NUMBER 1
COVER STORY: 14
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED: THE EMPLOYMENT OF SUICIDE VEHICLE-BORNE IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES IN THE ISLAMIC STATE’S DEFENSE OF MOSUL by Aden Magee
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS FOR THE GOOD GUY, WITH OR WITHOUT A GUN by Ken Pagano TOP 5 CONSIDERATIONS BETWEEN AIWB AND IWB CONCEALED CARRY METHODS by Karim Manassa
From the Editor
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FROM THE EDITOR:
SHOT Show Favorites
by Garret Machine
Journal for Law Enforcement, Intelligence & Special Operations Professionals
VOLUME 11 • NUMBER 1
ost people reading this magazine already know what the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show is. Held every January over 4 days in Las Vegas at the Sands Convention Center (location since 2010), the show attracts 60,000+ attendees who attend classes, meetings, demonstrations and even participate in a range day. The first time I went to the SHOT Show was 2010, and I went back the next three years as a brand rep for The Mako Group. After walking the floor and seeing the latest and greatest brands have to offer, I wanted to sum up my SHOT Show top picks. 1. I use a Lewis Machine and Tool (LMT) rifle to teach classes weekly all over the U.S. My rifle gets used and abused by not only students during my demonstrations but by the airlines as well (last April they sent it to Heathrow airport accidentally). I discovered the Monolithic upper receiver a few years ago at SHOT and never looked back. Created from one piece of aluminum, it has proven to be far more durable, reliable and consistent versus the old system. I have broken my charging handle, buffer tube, hammer spring, firing pin, handle and gas key. I brought my LMT 10.5 Mono to their booth at SHOT, and they replaced the broken parts on the spot! 2. Since my time in service overseas, I have used ESS eyewear in the form of breaching goggles and shooting glasses. I cannot stress the importance of eye protection enough. Although they are well made, they do fail. At the show, ESS replaced my broken glasses on the spot. They have excellent customer service. We have reviewed their products in this publication in the past. I recommend the Rollbar model. 3. Front Line Holsters, FAB Defense, Elander Magazines and Meprolight have always been very generous with their customers and have replaced products and gear for people right at the show as well. Each year, I collect all my broken or damaged gear to bring to SHOT Show. No booth is more welcoming to replace, repair or exchange products and make you an espresso while you wait like The Mako Group. Ask for Ed… 4. Glock consistently delivers. A few years ago at SHOT, I learned that if I bring my pistols to Glock in Georgia, they would refurbish them while I wait. They check springs, tolerances, spacing, pins and fittings and make sure the gun is in safe serviceable condition while you sit in a lounge watching Glock commercials. Last year, I brought a pelican case of 26 Glock pistols, including Sim pistols, and they checked every gun and 60 magazines, even replacing several worn parts. Outstanding service. With all the brands being represented at the show and even more walking the floor with catalogs and brochures, demoing products in the aisles, it can be overwhelming. Even if you do not do one cent of business, you will still get an education, if not from the free classes (which are good) then from others in the industry. Learn trends, discover new brands and foster new relationships as you maintain old ones. All in all, the SHOT Show is a great experience, and if you attend one industry trade show a year, this is the one to attend. I recommend seeing Cirque du Soleil and Terry Fator while you are there, but not Criss Angel… Garret Machine Editor, The Counter Terrorist
FEBRUARY/ MARCH 2018 Editor Garret Machine Director of Operations Carmen Arnaes Director of Advertizing Sol Bradman Administrative Jennifer Junatas Contributing Editors Ken Pagano Aden Magee Karim Manassa Graphic Design Morrison Creative Company Copy Editor Laura Town
Advertising Sales Sol Bradman firstname.lastname@example.org 305-302-2790 Publisher: Security Solutions International 13155 SW 134th St. • STE 103 Miami, Florida 33186 ISSN 1941-8639 The Counter Terrorist Magazine, Journal for Law Enforcement, Intelligence & Special Operations Professionals is published by Security Solutions International LLC, as a service to the nation’s First Responders and Homeland Security Professionals with the aim of deepening understanding of issues related to Terrorism. No part of the publication can be reproduced without permission from the publisher. The opinions expressed herein are the opinions of the authors represented and not necessarily the opinions of the publisher. Please direct all Editorial correspondence related to the magazine to: Security Solutions International SSI, 13155 SW 134th Street, Suite 103, Miami, Florida. 33186 or email@example.com The subscription price for 6 eZine issues of the magazine is $19.99. (1-866-573-3999) Fax: 1-786-573-2090. For article reprints, e-prints, posters and plaques please contact: Security Solutions International at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 786-573-3999 Please visit the magazine web site where you can also contact the editorial staff:
www.thecounterterrroristmag.com © 2017 Security Solutions International
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SITUATIONAL AWARENESS FOR THE GOOD GUY, WITH OR WITHOUT A GUN It is said that there is nothing new under the sun. The same can be said when it comes to the topic of Situational Awareness, especially in our contemporary times.
By Ken Pagano
Lunchtime Crowd at Hyde Park Photo by Alex Proimos. 8 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
ituational Awareness, simply stated, is awareness of what is going on around you. This is especially important for the ordinary armed civilian, the Good Guy with or without a gun. When I first started carrying (some 30 years ago), I was extremely selfconscious about my firearm. Over time, I began to feel like I could handle any situation. However, in reality, I was on a path toward complacency. This
was especially true when I was not allowed to legally carry my sidearm. The first time I was out without my gun was unnerving. I felt naked and vulnerable. I was constantly looking for environmental weapons, places of cover or concealment and avenues of escape. Suddenly, I was a Good Guy without a gun. I would like to share with you some things that well help you feel more confident whenever you are out, with or without your gun.
The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018 9
more successful in aerial combat. His conclusion laid the foundation for the OODA Loop. According to Boyd, decision-making occurs in a cycle: Observe a perceived threat, Orient to the threat, Decide the best course of action, and Act. He theorized that if a pilot could practice a series of maneuvers based upon a given set of circumstances, he/she would be better prepared to disrupt the enemy’s OODA Loop and gain the upper hand. The basic principle of Boyd’s OODA Loop is that attacks are sudden and without warning but can be thwarted if a person can reset the attacker’s OODA Loop. The OODA loop has become an important concept in both military strategy and personal self-defense. If a good guy (with or without a gun) can quickly observe, orient, decide and (re)act to events more rapidly than the threat, he/she can “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage. A British Army issue Sig Sauer 9mm pistol carried by a soldier on a firing range in the Jordanian desert. Photo by Sgt Mike Fletcher
COOPER’S COLOR CODES United State Marine Corps (USMC) Colonel Jeff Cooper’s Color Codes have been with us for quite some time and focus on mindset. They grew out of his training on the Modern Technique for using a handgun. The USMC added the colors to give us what we use today. So what is the color code system of awareness? The original four states of readiness are: • White – Unaware; not paying attention to one’s environment. This mindset should only exist in a truly safe space: at home or in a secure, friendly environment. This condition has no place on the streets.
• Yellow – Aware (but relaxed). One is conscious of their surroundings but does not feel threatened. • Orange – Alert; a state of directed attention. This is used when there is an immediate or potential threat. • Red – Alarm; there is a definitive threat, and some sort of action must be taken. The majority of the shooting community, especially the Military and Law Enforcement, has adopted this Color Code system because it works.
BOYD’S OODA LOOP Colonel John Boyd developed the OODA Loop method for combat fighters. He wondered why U.S. fighter pilots with inferior jets were
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LEFT OF BANG “Left of Bang,” authored by Patrick Van Horne and Jason A. Riley, is an excellent book based primarily upon the USMC’s Combat Hunter Course. I highly recommend that you add this to your library. To begin, “Right of Bang” is after the incident. Military and police often find themselves “Right of Bang,” reacting to situations instead of being proactive. “Left of Bang” is where you want to be: ready before the incident occurs. “Left of Bang” places you at the beginning of the OODA Loop. Combat profiling (finding the universal similarities in people despite cultural differences) is one way to stay “Left of Bang.” Humans are generally creatures of habit, lazy and bad liars who will either flee, freeze or fight. They are predictable. Using these
universals as a guide, we can now look for Baselines and Anomalies. A Baseline is the norm for a specific environment, situation, or individual: the regular. An Anomaly is any variation from the baseline: the irregular. Your focus should be on the Anomaly. It may be the absence of a person or the presence of someone whom you have never seen before. Of course, not all Anomalies are bad, so do not to jump to conclusions. Nonetheless, regard all Anomalies with suspicion. Although there are a number of ways to view human behavior, “Left of Bang” breaks it down into six different fields or domains: • Kinesics: conscious or subconscious body language • Biometrics: biological automatic bodily responses • Proximics: interpersonal spatial interaction (use of spaces)
• Geographics: patterns of behavior within an environment • Iconographics: expression of belief or affiliation through symbols (signs, flags, graffiti, tattoos) • Atmospherics: collective attitude that creates distinct moods within an environment. Any cluster of three of the above is a warning of possible danger. If a good guy notices someone who is exhibiting Kinesic behavior (like nervous fidgeting or pacing), showing signs of Biometric activity (such as profuse sweating in a cool climate), and wearing Iconographic items (like clothing or colors that are connected with certain beliefs), he/she should pay attention. This may be a sign that something is not right and it is time to take some sort of action. Your state of mind, followed by being prepared to move through the decision making cycle, is now buttressed by your knowledge of a
cluster of human behaviors which will, hopefully, place you “Left of Bang.”
THREAT ASSESSMENT Threat assessment is a process used to evaluate the risk posed by another person, typically as a response to an actual or perceived threat. It is a violence prevention technique that involves assessment of both people and places developed by the Secret Service as a response to incidents of school violence. There are different degrees for classifying someone when making a threat assessment. A person may be said to be a Neutral threat (they have the potential to hurt you but there’s nothing suspicious), a Possible threat (something in your gut says, “Beware”), or an Actual threat (someone who is actively trying to attack you). People profiling is when you pay attention to people around you; are
Photo: Pixabay. The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018 11
their hands strong and rough or are they smooth and weak? What type of footwear are they wearing? Look at the eyes. Do they make direct eye contact, or do they walk around unobservantly like an easy target? People profiling also considers the intent of others. Do they follow your movements or look away when an authority figure is present? What is their proximity to you? Perhaps their words do not match their actions, smiling at you yet leaning in intimidatingly. There is a simple saying that will
assist you with your situational awareness: “Handsy, Pantsy, Eyes, and Where/Wear.” When you are noticing those around you, look at a person’s hands. Do they possess a weapon? Most threats will carry a weapon around their waistline; look at their pants. Is the shirt tucked or untucked? Are the hands hovering close to where a weapon may be carried? Where are they looking? Are they making direct, aggressive eye contact with you? What is the person wearing? Does it fit the environment? Finally, where is the
person in proximity to you? Are they close enough to be a threat? Threat assessment also includes your environment. A Safe place is a controlled environment where you control who has access (your home or the office). A Normal/Neutral place is an environment that is controlled but not by you. Schools, malls, courthouses, or airports are all Normal/ Neutral places. A Dangerous place is an unknown environment with no controlled access. Parks or large outdoor events are Dangerous places where anyone can come and go at will. The same is true of parking lots where anyone has access regardless of being denied access to nearby buildings. When dealing with Dangerous places, consider some environmental details. Is the space well lit? Does it have easy access or escape? Do you fit in or stick out? Do others fit in or stick out? (Remember, if you do not fit in, you become a potential target. If someone else does not fit in, they become a potential threat.) Knowledge is the best defense. Applying Cooper’s Color Codes and Boyd’s OODA Loop, staying “Left of Bang,” and knowing how to Threat Assess people and places will help you be a situationally aware good guy, with or without a gun.•
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ken Pagano is a Deputy Sheriff in Kentucky and can be reached at: email@example.com
Photo: Pixabay. 12 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
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LESSONS TO BE LEARNED:
THE EMPLOYMENT OF SUICIDE VEHICLE-BORNE IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES IN THE ISLAMIC STATEâ€™S DEFENSE OF MOSUL by Aden Magee
U.S. Soldiers provide security while patrolling through a market in Mosul, Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. JoAnn Makinano 14 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
During the defense of Mosul, the Islamic State employed Suicide Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (SVBIEDs) at an unanticipated level of intensity and effectiveness.
he lessons learned from the Islamic State’s employment of SVBIEDs in the occupation and defense of Mosul should shape perspectives on future urban warfare operations and other military engagements. Among the most daunting is the employment of suicide bombers as a force-multiplying element of the integrated combined arms fight. The suicide bomber—be it manborne, vehicle-borne, aircraft-borne, or otherwise—has steadily evolved as a key capability within the Islamic State’s military apparatus. Immediately following the defeat of the Iraqi armed forces in 2003, coalition forces were woefully unprepared for the insurgent IED phenomena that ensued and persisted, altering the execution of the entire campaign. Lessons learned from the Islamic State’s defense of Mosul, where the use of IEDs was
prolific, provides the opportunity to avoid this outcome by preparing U.S. and allied forces for this dynamic in future conflicts, particularly in urban environments.
THE SVBIED AS A TOOL OF TERRORISM AND WARFARE Islamic State military operations over the past three years have demonstrated that SVBIEDs are built and employed differently depending on the operating environment. Initially only regarded as a single vector means of terrorism and battlefield disruption, the employment of suicide bombers has evolved to the point that they have become a munition of choice during combined arms military operations. By incorporating human intellect with stealth and surprise, the SVBIED provides a precision
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strike capability. The Islamic State has taken the suicide bomber network from a deliberately orchestrated operation to achieve discreet terrorist or military objectives and transitioned it into a mass-produced and largely expendable munition. They have militarized suicide in a manner not seen since the Japanese Kamikazes of World War II, and, very arguably, more effectively than ever.
THIS IS NOT THE “JIHADI KAMIKAZE” PHENOMENA The comparison of the tactics of Islamic State suicide bombers and the Japanese Kamikaze pilots in World War II is widely addressed and very evident. Although a historic comparison does draw similarities between these two forms of large-scale militarized suicide, there are differences that indicate that SVBIED tactics will be employed indefinitely by the Islamic State and other like-minded and operationally overmatched adversaries. The Japanese Kamikaze attacks were
born of operational necessity given Japan’s unwillingness to surrender and the realization that they could not sustain air operations at a pace necessary to defend against the allies. The rapid pace at which the Islamic State accelerated the employment of SVBIEDs as their control of Mosul became less tenable does suggest that there was an increased sense of urgency in the face of defeat. However, the Islamic State’s legacy of employing SVBIEDs across the continuum of their operations confirms that they were not adapted solely due to the threat of military defeat or territorial loss. These factors indicate that militarized suicide as employed by the Islamic State will not end as summarily as the Kamikaze phenomena did with the fall of the Japanese empire. In sum, there are significant differences between the Japanese Kamikaze effort and the Islamic State’s employment of SVBIEDs—among the most apparent being the effectiveness of suicide bombers operating in urban terrain in comparison to aircraft flying over the open seas.
The evolution of suicide bomber operations over the past 15 years is remarkable. During the initial years of the insurgency in Iraq, the suicide bomber network was a sophisticated kill chain that was covertly managed both inside and outside of the areas controlled by coalition forces. This rigid process involved the radicalization and infiltration of primarily foreign fighters in parallel with in-country bomber-makers building the munitions to be “married” with the suicide bomber by a facilitation network. The process was planned and executed over the course of months in a manner perfectly timed to coincide with the intended timing of the attack. During this stage in the conflict, suicide bomber operations were primarily strategic in nature, with the objectives of exacerbating the sectarian schism between Sunni and Shite Muslims as well as eroding the national will of coalition members to remain engaged in Iraq. This dynamic changed considerably with the establishment of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
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operations as it began to lose ground, the tactical application of SVBIEDs transformed as well. It is generally believed that the employment of SVBIEDs in force at the initiation of an offensive, consistent with conventional military doctrine and Ba’athist military practices, compensated for the initial lack of artillery and armor. However, the Islamic State more adaptively evolved and employed this militarized suicide capability in the defense as the situation on the ground dictated, and it did not appear to be constrained by pre-ordained or dogmatic methods of employment.
EVOLUTION OF THE SVBIED IN MOSUL: THE ISLAMIC STATE’S URBAN WARFARE PRECISION GUIDED MUNITION (PGM)
Iraqi police search the wreckage of a staged car bomb for evidence in Ramadi, Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Zimmerman Although this discussion primarily addresses the Islamic State’s employment of SVBIEDs during the defense of Mosul, SVBIEDs played an important role in Islamic State offensive operations that successfully seized large swaths of terrain in Iraq and Syria. In fact, an examination of the employment of SVBIEDs as an offensive measure in comparison to defensive operations demonstrates that the Islamic State developed and adapted Tactics, Techniques,
and Procedures (TTPs) tailored specifically to the type of operation supported. When the Islamic State established a more structured military organization, it established SVBIED battalions as a part of that structure. As an offensive measure, SVBIEDs were employed largely in swarms or waves to initially breach defensive strong points and then exploit the breaches by attacking defending forces. After the Islamic State was forced to conduct defensive
By seizing and establishing a stronghold in Mosul, the Islamic State was essentially able to industrialize suicide warfare. Until the coalition offensive, the Islamic State operated in a relatively permissive environment and was resourced with a steady supply of vehicles, munitions, components, and willing martyrs. Manufacturing sites were established in the industrial areas of Mosul, leveraging existing manufacturing infrastructure for the mass production of SVBIEDs. The safe-haven autonomy and substantial preparation time enabled the Islamic State to prepare its suicide bomb infrastructure in Mosul to sustain the employment of these uniquely capable munitions at an astounding rate. This period also marked a shift in the employment of suicide
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This dynamic compelled the Islamic State to adopt other tactics and forms of SVBIEDs. attacks to achieve pragmatic military objectives in comparison to the traditional objectives of terrorism. For example, 84% of the Islamic State’s suicide operations between December 2015 and November 2016 were executed to achieve military goals. Furthermore, while it appears
that the Islamic State expended their SVBIEDs as rapidly as they could produce them in Mosul, their employment did not appear to be injudicious. Despite the high rate of utilization during this suicide campaign, there appeared to be a plan and objective behind virtually every human bomb expended. The Islamic State’s occupation and defense of Mosul institutionalized its ability to tactically orchestrate suicide operations. Estimated force ratios of coalition to Islamic State militants at the beginning of the Mosul operation ranged from over 9-to-1 to 16-to-1. After achieving early territorial successes, the coalition advances slowed as the Islamic State’s
robust infrastructure facilitated a sustained asymmetric resistance. The coalition did not effectively exploit its significant force advantage, largely due to a lack of unity of effort among the coalition partners, and SVBIEDs proved to be the most significant force multiplier for the Islamic State in further mitigating the disadvantages the coalition faced against a better equipped and numerically superior attacking force. SVBIED attacks were launched at an entirely unprecedented rate, with 58 suicide operations recorded during the first week and over 600 during the first six weeks of the Mosul campaign. SVBIED attacks settled at an average of 26 per week
U.S. Army Cpl. Drew Dobbs helps Staff Sgt. Denver Colin attach his protective helmet, at a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devise scenario Photo by U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos
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by the end of November 2016. These statistics may indicate that although the Islamic State planned for the use of SVBIEDs, they accelerated employment during the initial stages of the defensive after realizing how effective they were in mitigating territorial losses in the face of a militarily superior aggressor. SVBIEDs were employed across the range of defensive operations; they were employed as part of the security zone, in the main defense, to attack â€œrear areas,â€? and as both enabling capabilities and exploitation forces in the counterattack. SVBIEDs were very effective when Islamic State fighters exploited the channelized urban terrain with chokepoints formed by narrow streets to facilitate surprise and minimize reaction time. The dense urban terrain facilitated the deployment of SVBIEDs from close range to include flanking attacks directly from street side buildings, residential garages, and other concealed locations. As the fighting shifted to a more static, but still mobile, defense of Mosul, the employment of SVBIEDs shifted substantially due to operational imperatives. Large swarms of vehicles, including military vehicles such as tanks and up-armored HUMVEEs, were readily identifiable by coalition Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities and defeated by stand-off air power or other coalition capabilities. This dynamic compelled the Islamic State to adopt other tactics and forms of SVBIEDs. Although there were exceptions, the primary adaptation was that SVBIED attacks consisted of one vehicle to minimize the signature preceding an attack. In
Afghan National Army soldiers scans underneath a vehicle during security vehicle checkpoints Photo by Sgt. Dustin D. March. addition, the Islamic State constantly worked to strike a balance between making vehicles appear normal while incorporating adequate improvised armor protection to enable the vehicle to reach its terminal objective after being detected and fired upon. The multitude of variations among SVBIEDs employed in Mosul demonstrated the variations in engineering for anonymity while ensuring mission effectiveness. As the fighting intensified, the Mosul operation highlighted a strong juxtaposition between the employment of SVBIEDs in a combat situation compared to situations in which SVBIEDs are more likely to blend in with the civilian population.
Apart from Islamic State military operations, including the defense of Mosul, the large majority of SVBIEDs employed world-wide have been vehicles that were unmodified in appearance to blend in with civilian traffic to facilitate the covert approach and access to primarily civilian targets. Alternatively, in combat situations, particularly one as intense as the coalition offensive on Mosul, any vehicle is much more likely to be perceived as a potential threat. To counter the increased vigilance of coalition forces, the Islamic State determined that survivability of SVBIEDs was more important than visual non-detectability due to the battlefield dynamic. In many Circle 313 on Reader Service Card
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cases, the SVBIEDs were completely encased in armor, except for a small opening for the driver to see through, to increase the probability that the vehicle and driver would survive until impact. The calculus may have been based on the trade-off between the time the SVBIED was likely to be detected and the time it would take to engage it with something other than small arms fire to disable or destroy. In response to SVBIED activity, the coalition adapted operational methods that were incrementally successful in countering SVBIEDs. Coalition forces reverted to foot patrols, which enabled better concealment and protection by entering buildings and seeking other means of cover when detecting approaching SVBIEDs. This, however, made the soldiers more
vulnerable to other types of attack, such as sniper fire. Terrain denial airstrikes were conducted to crater roads and limit the mobility of suspected SVBIEDs that were detected stalking coalition forces from parallel streets. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) became vital to the detection and intervention of SVBIED attacks. Unfortunately, however, most of these and other counter-SVBIED TTPs were developed in response to the SVBIED dynamic, not in anticipation prior to the offensive. As the coalition counter-SVBIED tactics improved, the Islamic State continued to adapt by developing TTPs to improve the survivability and effectiveness of SVBIEDs. Cameraequipped UAVs were employed to guide SVBIEDs to their targets while
enabling them to bypass coalition defensive strong points. In addition, Islamic State fighters on motorcycles performed route reconnaissance for SVBIEDs and directed the vehicles to their targets. In response to the coalitionâ€™s ability to effectively defeat singularly deployed SVBIEDs, Islamic State elements began to deploy vehicles in pairs, employing one as a breaching capability and the second as the exploitation capability to attack the intended target. The late developing enhancement to the SVBIED capability was the incorporation of a gunner on top of the vehicle to suppress defensive fires and better enable the vehicle to reach the desired point of detonation. In addition to improving the capabilities to execute SVBIED attacks, cover, concealment,
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deception, and denial methods were employed to further enhance attack effectiveness. To improve stealth and counter the coalition’s sophisticated detection and intervention tactics, SVBIEDs were painted to blend in with the urban terrain, and efforts were made to conceal armor plating. For example, SVBIEDs were painted to resemble established taxi services, and armor was painted over to appear more like common vehicles, with methods such as presenting the facade of side doors and windows to hide the armor plating. Car bombs were packed with jugs of oil to make the explosions burn longer and to send up columns of thick black smoke, which could obscure other activities. In response to coalition strikes on SVBIED manufacturing sites, the Islamic State resorted to collocating SVBIED manufacturing sites with sites such as schools, hospitals, mosques, and churches, which coalition airstrikes tried to avoid. Ultimately, advances in coalition countermeasures, such as UAV and counter-UAV employment in conjunction with responsive airstrike support, degraded the effectiveness of SVBIEDs and greatly facilitated the final recapture of Mosul.
CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS The impact of SVBIEDs in prolonging the liberation of Mosul is very evident. The occupation of a large industrialized city with time to prepare a defensive stand enabled the Islamic State to develop the capability and methods of SVBIED employment. This advantage was leveraged to prolong the offensive and increase the cost to the coalition across the range of resources and
further exacerbated a humanitarian crisis involving a high rate of noncombatant fatalities. Although it appears that the production of SVBIEDs may have outpaced the availability of suicide drivers in the end—or at least the ability to marry drivers with vehicles—they remained a significant threat throughout and slowed the pace of the offensive to the end. They also continued to adapt and improve production and TTPs to the end, with captured facilities demonstrating that they were enhancing the capability to deploy chemical-laden chlorine SVBIEDs. The pragmatic reasoning that led to the development of the SVBIED as a key capability in the defense of Mosul will likely not be lost among the range of potential asymmetric adversaries the U.S. military and allied forces may face in the future. The Islamic State and other overmatched militant elements should be expected to employ SVBIEDs and the related tactics observed in Mosul in future defensive and offensive operations. It is imperative that the U.S. military capture the lessons learned and incorporate them into core irregular/hybrid warfare doctrine and future capability development efforts. The purpose of this discussion is not to cull the lessons learned, but as an example, the types of commercial factories that were used to build the stockpile of SVBIEDs might be considered key infrastructure for destruction as a pre-emptive measure, not one that is delayed as a shaping measure immediately preceding or during an offensive. The defense of Mosul also demonstrated that there is a range of SVBIED production measures and TTPs that can be adapted
across the continuum of military operations. In Iraq in 2003, as coalition forces concluded decisive combat operations and transitioned to stability operations, SVBIEDs were produced to exploit the semipermissive environment by blending in with the large volume of civilian traffic. As the coalition was forced to transition to counterinsurgency operations, SVBIED production and TTPs adapted as well. In the defense of Mosul, the Islamic State adapted to the point where survivability and brute forces were favored over stealth and anonymity. Had the coalition been able to get ahead of this and other aspects of the dynamic, rather than react and adapt during the execution of combat operations, the operation to liberate Mosul would have been more rapidly concluded and much less costly across the spectrum.•
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Aden Magee is a retired U.S. Army Military Intelligence officer and has performed as a senior intelligence/ threat advisor to the DoD, DHS, and FBI. He has been recognized as the Intelligence Community (IC) expert on full-spectrum, all-actor threats to U.S. critical infrastructure and the U.S. nuclear weapons security program. He has supported programs and activities addressing the most sophisticated nonstate unconventional threats, to include advisor to the Director of the DoD Joint Irregular Warfare Center and the Joint Urban Operations Office. Contact for Aden: firstname.lastname@example.org
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CONSIDERATIONS BETWEEN AIWB AND IWB CONCEALED CARRY METHODS by Karim Manassa
Which is better, Appendix (12:00 to 1:00) or Hip (3:30 to 4:30) carry? Regrettably, too many instructors and schools offer a dogmatic response to this question, to the point of even banning one method or the other in their courses. U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regimnet Photo by Pfc. Melanye Martinez 22 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
fter using both methods extensively, I have formed the following agnostic position on this topic: Both are viable and legitimate carry methods, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. As long as the user understands, properly trains for and pressure tests for these benefits and drawbacks (including validation through Force on Force entanglements), the user should use the method that’s most
comfortable for that individual, because doing so will result in the most frequent every day carry. First, let’s outline some fundamentals when it comes to selecting any holster for concealed carry: • The holster must completely cover the trigger guard. • The top of the holster must remain open when empty to ensure safe and smooth holstering. • The holster itself must have
sufficient native retention for the gun to remain fully and securely seated during vigorous activity. Active retention devices are not necessary since the concealment aspect mitigates the holstered gun being a target for pre-emptive counter-retention. • The holster attachment points must be secure to avoid shifting position or popping off during vigorous activity. • The holster attachment points
The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018 23
Example of holster made from a semi-generic shell, folded, and secured. Uses active retention. Photo by Coastie Kydex & Kit.
should also provide consistent positioning on the belt line to promote a consistent draw stroke. • The holster attachment points need to be the same width as the belt. Solid loops and pull dot loop systems ensure the holster does not come out with the gun during the draw. These are preferred to over or under clip designs. • The holster construction should minimize noise when drawing or holstering. • The holster vendor should offer holstered access options for the magazine release; i.e., either a magazine release guard to prevent inadvertent pressing of the release, or open access to allow pressing the release for holster reloads or to facilitate one hand reloads. • For comfort, the holster should offer a minimalist form factor while still shielding the body from barrel heat by completely shrouding the slide. • For comfort and to protect the
slide finish, a full length sweat guard to shield from body perspiration is also preferred. • For comfort, the edges of the holster should be rounded to feel like a bar of soap. • The holster must be canted to optimize body mechanics. For Appendix In the Waist Band (AIWB), this is typically a 0° cant, whereas In the Waist Band (IWB) is typically a 10° to 15° cant to balance concealment with access. • The user should understand holster ride height implications. Generally, low riding holsters offer better concealment but a slower draw, whereas high riding holsters offer less concealment but a faster draw. Some low riding holster designs such as the JM Custom IWBv2 also distribute weight over a larger area to more comfortably carry full size guns. Note that the added overall length from weapon-mounted lights often necessitates a higher riding holster. • Pro-Tip #1: Many vendors offer a 30 day money-back guarantee, so there’s no reason to have the proverbial drawer full of unused holsters. • Pro-Tip #2: If you run two sizes of the same gun (e.g., Glock 17 and 19), find a holster with an open end design that can accommodate both, or just buy a holster for the larger gun and run both guns in it. When it comes to Kydex holsters, consider the construction quality of the holster itself. There are four general manufacturing methods, listed below in order of preference from lowest to highest: • A single semi-generic (by size) thermoplastic shell is heated, folded, and secured. An active retention system with vulnerable high mortality
24 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
moving parts must be used because the holster is not form fitted for native friction retention. As a result, failure rates are high when pressure tested in hard use. These holsters tend to be the lowest quality and are commonly found at local gun stores. • A mold is created from a blocked blue gun. A blank Kydex sheet (one sheet that will be folded for AIWB or IWB, or two sheets that will be secured together for OWB) is heated, placed over the mold, and loaded into a foam lined pressure press. Retention is derived from friction between the holster and the trigger guard and other parts of the gun. Although they are a higher quality and are form fitted compared to the aforementioned semi-generic shell, these often have a larger form factor and require more real estate in terms of retention friction points. • These holsters have the same blocked blue gun mold as above, but it is mated to a vacuum forming press, resulting in finer form fitting detail and a smaller overall form factor. • At the height of quality is the custom 3D moth drone mold mated to a vacuum forming press. The heated Kydex material in this system delivers the most consistent quality control, tightest form fitting definition, smallest overall form factor and fewest retention friction points, yet it has the best retention available without the need for adjustment screws. The production time to render a holster is reduced by over two-thirds, often translating into faster turnaround time and lower costs. This is the preferred holster. With the fundamentals addressed, let’s review the benefits and drawbacks of each carry method.
1. SAFETY With AIWB, the user can look directly down at the holster and walk the gun back in during holstering. Considering that holstering is the most dangerous part of gun handling, being able to see what you are doing is a big plus. In the real world, this is an important benefit. This is a definite downside to IWB.
2. DRAW STROKE SPEED I can draw from concealed AIWB as fast as from OWB 3:00 open carry. The ergonomics and body mechanics of AIWB lend themselves to this. Candidly, this is not as big of a deal to me, because unless we are in a gentlemen’s duel, having a slightly faster draw stroke is overrated by those who worship at the altar of the shot timer. In the real world, your movement and the draw should happen much sooner anyway. Indeed, a good corollary to the shoot sooner, not faster mantra would be draw sooner, not faster.
to experiment with your steering wheel position.
4. DRAW STROKE TELEGRAPHING With IWB, you can distract the threat and blade your body while stealthily drawing your gun. In contrast, with AIWB, there’s really no way to effect a surreptitious draw stroke unless you have your back to the threat. Film exists of successful self-defense shootings involving both scenarios, but turning your back on the threat poses greater overall risk by surrendering environmental
and positional awareness. (As an interesting aside, in the film of the AIWB defender turning his back on his multiple assailants to then draw, turn, and shoot them…he maintained awareness by glancing at a side view mirror of a parked vehicle while walking by.)
5. WEAPON RETENTION First, let’s understand the context of weapon retention for concealed carry. Because the gun is concealed, our opponent is not going for the holstered gun in some sort of ambush;
3. DRAW STROKE FROM A SEATED POSITION AIWB provides much better access when seated. When coupled with the faster draw stroke body mechanics, AIWB offers significant gains from a seated position. Again, it is unclear how important this really is since movement is more critical than shooting in any kind of fight, especially one where we start from a seated position. Numerous times, I have seen AIWB users get their holstered gun hung up on the bottom of the steering wheel when attempting to exit the vehicle, so it is important
Example of holster made from blocked off blue gun mold on a vacuum forming press. Photo by Coastie Kydex & Kit.
The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018 25
from retention or you can go to Gulla Weapon Retention and Shooting or entanglement if needed. So with IWB, you can use whatever weapon system you happen to have access to in the moment, because your weapons are not confined to limited real estate. So what holster is this author wearing as he crafted this article in his shorts and t-shirt? A Glock 19 IWB holster from Coastie Kydex & Kit (3D moth drone vacuum pressed). This is in addition to a spare magazine, fixed blade knife, flashlight, and tourniquet.â€˘
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Example of holster made from 3D moth drone mold on a vacuum forming press. by Coastie Kydex & Kit. rather, heâ€™s going for the gun in the early steps of the draw stroke once the gun is exposed and coming out of the holster. Thus, the issue now is positioning. With Appendix, the gun resides in front of you, so the opponent has direct frontal access in the contested space to jam you up. Moreover, if you carry your fixed blade support side appendix for ambidextrous access, now all your weapon systems are in the same plane (11:00 to 1:00), and access options become limited. Indeed, we may now find ourselves deep into a retention situation that could even escalate to simultaneously retaining your gun and blade. There are few options here other than other entanglement techniques that bring us closer to or on the ground with our adversary. With IWB, the opponent in front of you really has to reach to access your gun, especially if you blade your body. While he is reaching, you have options
ranging from moving to further extend his reach, to elbow or palm strikes, to drawing your fixed blade from support side appendix to create space. Because your weapon systems are on different planes, you can alternatively shoot him
26 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
Karim Manassa is the founder of South Florida-based EDC Pistol Training LLC, a six-instructor firearms training company designed to inform and challenge Civilian and Law Enforcement students of all experience levels on Pistol, Carbine, Low Light No Light, Force on Force, and Care Under Fire medical training. To learn more about their credentials, philosophy and courses, visit www.edcpistoltraining.com.
Example of holster made from blocked blue gun mold on a pressure press. Photo by Coastie Kydex & Kit.
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28 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker
his book is closing in on 20 years old, but it is just as relevant today, as is the author. Some may have heard of Gavin de Becker (GDeB) because he has made a name for himself in the security field, ASIS training, celebrity stalker
Reviewed by Garret Machine investigations and most notably threat assessment and detection. I was looking for something to read that was written pre-Internet era but is still modern and relevant. This book fit perfectly. Simply put, we are animals at our core, and like an animal, we have instincts. Unfortunately, we donâ€™t listen to our instincts as much as we used to, and now we are paying for it by relying on technology to do our decision making for us. To be clear, I am talking about intuition, something that we all have but tend to ignore. GDeB asserts that we should train ourselves to listen closely to intuition and interpret it. With practice, we can become good at this and predict potential threats and other unwanted consequences. He cites several examples in his book and uses case studies to tell the stories;
the case studies are excellent. Working in the security field myself, I loved the simple way he breaks down situations and motivations. For example, he profiles assassins and mass shooters, who have certain character traits in common. For example, most assassins will study another assassin they admire, like a mentor. Mass shooting perpetrators all funnel into one broad spectrum of motivation, which is recognition for what they do and their cause (often narcissistic). He explains simple strategies to curtail such motivations and stymie the inherent feeling young people have to â€œgo viral.â€? Interestingly enough, this was written before the Internet age and prior to the wave of violence we have seen in the last 15 years. But the principles still hold true. I cannot recommend this book enough. It was hard to stop reading because I wanted the knowledge and the insight. The gift of fear is a natural impulse that guides our thoughts and actions. It is real, and we should all understand and listen to it more. Trust your instincts.
The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018 29
Product Review of Salomon Speedtrak
t was back in the early to mid-90s, and I was in a military school. They issued us our sneakers. They were Adidas’s if I remember correctly. I really hated those shoes. They had no ankle support and no cushion on the soles, and we had to do physical training (PT) in them. Eventually, I got a pair of Nike shoes that didn’t require laces to tighten up; they used Velcro. Then I had a pair that used a rubber band-like pressure; the shoes were very light weight and had a water-like pattern on them. They were good but eventually were discontinued. I find Nike shoes often fall apart with hard use and time. Fast forward years later, and my shoes were again institutionalized when I was in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). The shoes we had there often came from donation money directly to our unit for that purpose. We had a generous budget, and we used Asolo boots, which were garbage. We also had for some occasions issued New Balance 990 series running shoes. They were very stable, had a lot of support and cushion, and were great for long distances and heavy loads. They were a very expensive shoe in Israel at around 850 New Israeli Shekel (NIS) the equivalent of about $200. I would later order the shoes from the U.S. Many years later, I found myself entering boot camp again, but this time in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in Cape May, NJ. You would not believe it, but the sneakers were once again issued. The same ones even from overseas! The New Balance 996 model. Because it’s the U.S. government with a seemingly endless budget, the shoes
were sold to us at a deep discount, half off retail price with free shipping, all for $77.77. The best part is that they were special edition shoes just for us; they were the CG colors of blue with orange accents, had the USCG logo on the tongue and said USCG on the back. A very cool shoe at a great price, so great I purchased several pairs for gifts. My dad and brother had a pair, my friends who wore them years earlier in the IDF had a pair, and I gave a pair as a wedding gift for another couple… After about 3 years or so, the contract ended, the distribution center stopped having the special edition colors and the price went back up. My relationship with New Balance ended, so I looked for a modern high-tech shoe I could use for trail running, hiking, rucking and similar. I had a friend who was a professional mountaineer, and he had a voucher for Salomons he had received in a race package. He gave me the voucher,
30 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
by Editorial Staff and I got a pair of Fellraisers. These were great shoes, and I went on to buy three more. They were light weight and felt great. Having no laces was the best part, as all Salomons close with a drawstring that locks with a plastic catch and then tucks into the tongue. The shoes put on fast and dried fast, and they were cheap at $75 a pair. Great shoe. Last year, they stopped making the Fellraiser and went to the Speedtrak, and so did I. The shoes are an improvement from the Fellraiser and are equally as tough and quick. The traction you get from these shoes is second to none. Something else the shoe offers that is not found in too many places is a hidden compartment in the tongue if you turn it inside out. In this compartment in one shoe I keep a plastic handcuff key; in the other shoe, I keep one meter of Kevlar string. You would never know it is there or feel it. But it’s there when you need it, which is hopefully never.
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New Mexico Institute of Technology Prevention and Response to Suicide Bombings
s part of my job not only as the editor of this magazine but as a high risk tactics instructor and a member of the law enforcement community, I am afforded the opportunity to participate in several training courses throughout the year. Some of these courses are excellent, and some I don’t even bother to write about. The latest one was a rare opportunity to go to New Mexico Tech on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expense and blow stuff up. Two courses are offered: the Incident and Response to Terrorist Bombings (IRTB) and the one I attended. The IRTB is the first course of the two, and it is 4 days long. The Prevention and Response to Suicide Bombings (PRSBI) is 5 days long. The course includes case studies, threat assessments, models and several presentations on how homemade explosives are obtained, built and deployed. Most importantly, the course discusses how to recognize and respond to them. The best part of the class is Tuesday and Thursday when you get to go out to the range. While the course cadre comes from afar, the Explosives Ordinance
by Editorial Staff Disposal (EOD) demolitions guys are on site and build all the charges for you. We detonated five explosives that Tuesday, all of which could be worn, carried
against a steel wall, in the entrance of a structure. We also made a 300 lb. car bomb that would rock your world even at 600 meters away. It was constructed the same way Timothy McVeigh used in Oklahoma City in 04/1995, with ammonium nitrate and nitro methane.
SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS:
or driven. All of them where simple compositions we learned about in class. On Thursday, we made a model of a suicide bomber lying on his stomach with the bomb facing the ground,
32 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
Burlap sacks can imprint on ½” steel. Half inch nuts can split in half and travel faster than a 5.56 round. Everyday materials (like toilet paper) can be made into extremely volatile explosives. First you see a flash, then hear a boom and see a shockwave. With 150 lb. of fertilizer, a Jeep Cherokee can disappear. Eat at the college dining room for the best and least expensive food in the area. Stay at the Holiday Inn; most other hotels are terrible. Join the school gym for $15 a week. Great gym. The air rifle club will let you shoot with them on Monday night in the gym. http://www.emrtc.nmt.edu/training.php
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VOLUME 11 • NUMBER 1
Journal for Law Enforcement, Intelligence & Special Operations Professionals To request detailed product information, visit our website http://thecounterterroristmag.com/readerservicecard.php or scan this code. Select the appropriate Reader Service Number (RSN) on the web-form and submit your contact information. Individual advertiser’s websites are also provided below for your convenience.”
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34 The Counter Terrorist ~ February/March 2018
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