Situational awareness (SA) is more than just “keeping your head on a swivel,” or “staying vigilant.” SA is the presence of mind to know where you are, what is happening around you, and what could happen based on the circumstances. It’s about connection to your environment.
There's plenty of videos and articles discussing what SA is and what it looks like, but few tell you how to do it. The results are that many adopt a paranoid or hyper-vigilant posture, mistaking that for situational awareness. This approach may work in the short term, but it quickly fizzles out.
A good example is when I run law enforcement officers through counter-surveillance exercises. Typically, I’ll take them out to a mall or public venue where I've arranged for an assistant to covertly follow the group. The class is divided up into teams and given the task finding the person tailing them. This typically results in a number of false positives.
The group is so hyper-vigilant, anyone glancing at them or catching their attention immediately becomes suspect. By the time we’re done, the officers are convinced that there are half a dozen or more following them!
Practicing good situational awareness is your best chance to thwart an attack before it happens, but you can see it coming if you don’t know what to look for. So how do you do it? I recently did an interview with a local media outlet on this very topic. You can check it out by clicking here.
Honing your situational awareness skills takes work, but it's not rocket science. Although we delve more deeply into the mechanics of SA in our courses, this is the basic framework that will get you started.
Security is about detection and deterrence. Once the attack occurs, you're security protocols have failed. Now you're in response mode and damage control.
Remember, security is about detection and deterrence. Once the attack occurs, your security protocols have failed. Now you’re in response mode or damage control. Observing and knowing how to interact with the information you receive is critical to detecting and deterring threats.
If you’re interested in learning more about our Counter-Terrorism; Covert Police Intelligence Operations; or other security and tactical training programs, please contact us today.
Until then, be on the lookout for next week. I'll finish up on what to do when you encounter suspicious activity.
Rubicon Training Group
PS: Again, you can check out my video interview here by clicking here. After you watch it, hit that reply button and let me know how you’re keeping yourself alert and aware when you’re on the move. Talk soon!