(Bugout.news) In a collapsed society there will be so many threats around you it really isn’t possible to list them all. Your particular threat scenario will depend on your specific environment – geographic, regional, urban vs. rural, number of survivors, available resources, etc.
The simply are too many variables to name, and because of that, you’ll need to become a bit of an intelligence officer in order to stay a step ahead of bad people and other potential dangers. At the basic level, that will mean being aware of – and staying aware of – your surroundings.
Collecting intelligence is really nothing more than just gathering available information that you can use to make better decisions before you act. And there will be a number of ways you can do this.
First of all, you should make sure you have a portable AM/FM radio in your gear – one that operates via crank or via sunlight is best (no need for batteries). By scanning the airwaves often, you may be able to pick various emergency broadcasts made by whatever surviving governmental elements there may be. Such broadcasts are likely to include situational reports – that is, the government’s assessment of the national emergency; where government assets are being sent/deployed; what areas you should avoid – and so forth.
Also, observation will become vital. You will need to scout/survey the areas around you often. If you come in contact with others, you won’t want to roll up on them immediately, you will want to grab some cover/concealment and observe them over the course of days, to learn behavioral patterns, how they get along with each other, what kind of resources they possess, how they conduct day-to-day operations, and so forth. Having a scratch pad and pen/pencil will be handy so you can make notes.
If you do happen to run into others before you’ve had an opportunity to scout them, question them to find out what they know about the situation, where they’ve been, how many of them there are, and so forth – all without revealing anything about you and your group. Be aware, though, that the people you are talking to may be deceiving you as well.
In our tech-heavy world the newspapers may stop publishing altogether but there may be some online news and information, should at least some communications networks remain active. A solar-powered system to recharge a smart phone or other device so you can get online would come in handy.
In your travels you may actually find that some communities have remained intact. But before you simply join it, set up an observation point (as mentioned above) and spend a few days keeping watch and taking notes. If the community is large enough you could infiltrate and not be noticed, that will provide you with a wealth of knowledge about how it is governed, what sort of supply chain still exists, rules that must be followed, who is in charge, and so forth. If you don’t like what you see, you can just slip out again.
The whole point of gathering intelligence is to inform your decisions. The intelligence-gathering process is non-stop and can be based on something as broad as observing a group of people in secret over several days, to stumbling onto an abandoned camp and learning that someone in the group is an experienced hunter (judging by the number of squirrel/rabbit/deer carcasses lying about) or that they were drinking a certain kind of bottled water – anything that will assist your survival in the immediate future and down the road.
You will find that you will learn and observe things that may not have much meaning when you first discover them, but that will have a huge impact on what you decide to do weeks or even months later.
Being a good intelligence gatherer means being a sponge for information – any and all kinds of information – about your situation and your surroundings. Every waking moment, regardless of what you’re doing, should be spent soaking up every bit of data and information you come across, because it will come in handy later. It also means masking your movement, ensuring that you aren’t being observed and plotted against. More on that subject later.
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