Organizing a Preparedness Group

Group Picnic

One of the most common questions I get is, “How do I find like-minded people”.  That’s only half the issue….the more important question is “How do I organize my group, once I’ve found them?”.

First, in answering the first question, the internet is full of resources.  Social media groups, websites, forums, and discussion groups are full of like-minded people, usually organized geographically to allow you to make contact with others like you.

I will give a caution about this.  I had a guy contact me in a Facebook group and ask to speak privately.  I directed him to a secure platform, and he immediately began to ask me about taking direct action against a government figure.  Not only was I not interested in taking any action, I can guarantee you this was most likely a federal officer fishing for a case.  I will tell you that conservative groups interested in organizing for self defense (notice I don’t like the “M” word –  militia – for this very reason) are a long-time boogeyman of the FBI, ATF, and Homeland Security.  

While I don’t condone any unlawful activity, I also don’t see a reason to subject my group to federal surveillance unnecessarily, so I don’t get involved in, say, or plan things that would raise their interest, nor do I use any of the leftist platforms for any actual organizing, beyond meeting people.

The very first step, once you have identified people is vetting them for this very reason, as well as to keep people who ARE interested in illegal activities or racist activities from joining your group, and exposing you all to their ideas.  A great way to do this is to host a “meetup” at a public location, like a park, for a picnic-style meet and greet.  Talk to everyone in a group setting, establishing your expectations that nothing racist, violent, or illegal will even be contemplated.  Anyone who gets upset at this, is someone you don’t need.

After having a meal and chatting with everyone, collect contact information from anyone who might be an asset.  Set up at least one more group meeting, whittling down the members each time.  Check the social media posts of potential members, as these are great indicators of future behavior and attitudes, as well as in the unfortunate event that something happens, the media will tie your whole group to those posts.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility,

Count others as more significant than yourselves.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests,

But also to the interests of others.

Phillipians 2:3-4

Establish from the outset that it is a mutual aid organization, above all else.  In a true Without Rule of Law situation, Lone Wolves will not survive long.  It will take a group of people, banded together for the common good, and for mutual aid.  Paul’s words to the Phillipians above is a great guiding principle.  If there is that “One Guy” who only wants to talk about how many expensive guns he has, replace him.  Preparedness is so much more than firearms ownership, yet it’s the most common thing discussed.

Develop a list of what skills everyone has and put the best person in each role.  Understand that the role you want may not be the role the GROUP needs you in….”Do nothing from conceit”, remember?  The GROUP is more important.  Skills trump gear every time and if I have sufficient skills, I can acquire whatever gear I need.

Think about what skills you bring to a group, and how best to present that.  Ask others who want to join what skill set they bring.  When, inevitably, someone says that they bring firearm skills, point out that while that’s necessary, EVERYONE is required to possess those skills, and that they need to present something else.  In the Dark World of the future, skill in arms will be a baseline requisite for everyone (much like the motto “Every Marine is a rifleman). 


I liken this to the early days of America.  Every single person was a rifleman, in addition to whatever else they did.

Your group will need medics, more than it will need gunfighters.  

Ideally, you’ll have medical personnel, hunters, gatherers/salvage people, a mechanic or two, a woodworker, several farmers, a teacher (in the event there are children), a food preservation specialist (canning/drying), at least one radio operator (advanced) and any engineering skill set that may come in handy.  IT staff need not apply.  If the only skill someone brings is “security” or “infantry”, you may be able to apprentice them to someone, but more than likely, they are just an unproductive mouth to feed at group expense.  Having said that, you’ll need a supply/warehouse chief as well.

I’m not saying that watch-standing isn’t needed, you’ll need a 24-hour interior guard, which brings me to my next point…

Standing Watch

I will stand at my watch

And station myself on the ramparts…

Habakkuk 2:1a

So many groups want to focus on close quarter battle skills and infantry assault tactics, because let’s face it, they’re fun.  But the reality is that your group should be focused on SURVIVAL and SECURITY, not offensive action that you won’t really be taking.

Focus collective training on security skills.  Every member will need to know basic interior guard skills such as standing a post, reporting a post, challenging, and how to call out the guard (radio/alarm).  These skills have more practical use than planning to re-take your state capitol.

Security Patrolling

Security patrolling skills are essential.  By security patrolling, I mean a small detachment leaving your secure perimeter and quietly looking to see what’s going on around you.  These can be directed recon’s of a particular area (town or intersection), or just generally scouting around your perimeter, to make sure someone isn’t scouting you out.


Probably the best resource for this is USMC Manual “Scouting and Patrolling for Infantry Units”, or, even better, the original WW2 version of this written by Col Rex Applegate.

Another area of collective training should be first aid skills.  Those who read my blog regularly know that I bang the drum pretty hard on this, because in true WROL situation, EMS isn’t coming.  Training sessions should include practice time on dressing wounds and treating common injuries.

Everyone should have a specific regular assignment, as well as a security position.  Everyone is responsible for protecting the group, as well whatever their main role is.

Establish an emergency drill or security alert or general quarters bill (for those of us with Naval traditions) so that everyone knows exactly where to go when the alarm goes up.  Everyone rushing immediately to the area where a problem is is the last thing you want.  Medical staff should report to your designated medical area, and security staff should respond to their emergency post, not the incident site, as it could be a distraction.  Even if you don’t have a physical location, this drill must be set.  You can have a plan for this at a permanent site, a temporary camp, or while moving in a convoy.

The point is to establish a Standard Operating Procedure for every possible event, I was just using a security alert as a kicking off point.

Another example is the suggested SOP I offer of never stopping for a stranded motorist in a WROL situation.  While I agree that we must help our fellow man and be compassionate, the risk of an ambush set-up is too high.  SOP’s must be harsh to keep people safe.  In fact, I would recommend re-routing if your lead vehicle encounters this situation; as bad actors may trigger the ambush anyway once they see that you aren’t stopping.

Similarly, you should have an SOP for a lost member of your group, medical emergencies, contact with other groups, etc.

The most important first steps in organizing a group are to meet and vet potential members, organize everyone into groups based upon skill sets, establish a security plan and a security alert plan, and establish group SOP’s.  Note, these things should all be done by committee and democratically, with the exception of when responding to a security incident. 

I hope these ideas have spurred your thinking. 


Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

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