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How to Start and Run a Militia
Run A Private Army
Have you ever thought of running your own private "army"? Whether it's to brush up on your survival skills, protect your community, or just get out and have some fun learning new things, running a militia can be a great way to socialize and improve yourself, both physically and mentally.
This lens sets out the basic requirements for starting and running a militia, including where to get training materials, how to find and train fellow members of your militia, what kind of things your militia can do, and important things you have to keep in mind. I hope that when you're done reading this lens you'll have a new found appreciation for the militia and will want to form one!
Establishing an Identity
The first part of establishing a militia is figuring out why it is that you want to have one. Part of this process is developing an identity. To do that, you should come up with:
a) A name
b) A logo
c) A slogan (optional)
For instance, one militia out of New York I found while Google-searching chose the name "Fort Eagle Militia", and had a picture of an eagle as their logo. While they had no slogan, they did have a several line quote as their mantra.
Deciding on a name and logo can be difficult. I recommend you take some time and choose something that will be meaningful to you, and memorable.
Make sure you pick a name that's meaningful to you, and easy to remember.
Finding members for your group can be easy or difficult, depending on the social and political climate at the time, and your group's mission. For instance, if you're starting a neighbourhood watch after some high-profile break-ins or vandalism, it might be very easy to find members. On the other hand, if you're starting a group to overthrow the government (which I'm sure is illegal), it will probably be much harder to find members.
Here's some tips to help you:
a) Be honest about your group's intentions. Nobody will stay if you tell them they'll be tracking child predators and you have them following the delivery truck of a new video game you want.
b) Work around people's schedules. Everyone has a life, and if your meetings or missions are too frequent or incompatible with their schedules you'll get nowhere.
c) Take advantage of social networking. If you have friends who might be interested in starting a group, start with them. They all know people, so let in people who have been vetted by them. And those people know people.
Eventually, you'll have enough people to begin running missions or operations. But first, you'll need to get some training.
Your friends are your best choice for your starting membership base.
Militia Training Montage
This is a video montage of several militias training.
At this stage it is also important that you determine your goals. Are you going to be running a Civil Defence Organization, a revolutionary group, an armed militia, or a neighbourhood watch? Each of these groups has different methods, training, goals and purposes.
A civil defence organization is primarily concerned with things such as war (both conventional and nuclear), natural disasters, and other emergency situations that might affect a country. Learning how to prepare and deal with these situations is the primary focus of a civil defence organization.
A revolutionary group is looking for just that -- a revolution. In this context, they're not armed, but they do things such as produce newsletters, hold rallies and demonstrations, and otherwise try to sway popular opinion towards their cause.
An armed militia is a group who trains with the express purpose of engaging an enemy in combat. They have a clear and defined goal and prepare to ensure that when their country, city, or home is under attack they'll be able to respond properly.
And finally, a neighbourhood watch is a group of citizens who patrol neighbourhood to ensure that suspicious activity is reported to law enforcement, with the aim of preventing crimes.
Never lose sight of your goal. It can change, but your missions should always focus on it.
How To Train
Training can be simple or complex. Depending on the type of group you're trying to start, you'll need different skill sets. A civil defence group is going to need emergency preparedness information, while an armed militia will probably need hand-to-hand combat, and a neighbourhood watch needs to develop observation and patrolling skills.
One of the best places to get training is the US Army field manuals, and Canadian military documents. These teach a variety of military subjects in simple language, and can be excellent for subjects of relevance. The US Army manuals are in the public domain, and while the Canadian manuals are under Copyright, they are released freely on the Internet.
Here are some examples of useful manuals for each type of organization. Depending on your group, you may find that some from each group are relevant to your interests and goals:
Civil Defence Organization
As these documents are designed for those in the military, it would be wise for someone with military experience or someone willing to do a lot of research go through the documents, and to either write a condensed version with just the important details, or to create a reading list of just the pages and documents that they feel will be relevant for the group.
Once you've got the documents, you'll need to come up with a time and place you can practice your new skills. Performing pop quizzes on the material can be helpful, but nothing replaces solid practice. Make sure to follow safety procedures and wear proper equipment when dealing with things such as hand-to-hand combat.
How to Train
Military manuals are an excellent source of free training material.
Field Medicine Video
This is a video showing clips from a field medicine class.
Now that you've got yourself trained up, it's time to begin running missions. It would be wise to start with simulated missions (especially if you're in a civil defence organization or a militia where you won't see a real emergency for a while.) These can be as simple as a patrol around the neighbourhood in a bio-suit to simulate a chemical attack, or as complex as traveling from one side of your city to the other within a certain amount of time to simulate being attacked and needing to escape.
You should have three things when you go to plan a mission:
a) A goal of exactly what you'll be doing
b) A "Plan A" and a "Plan B", should things go wrong.
c) A "rehearsal" where everyone dictates exactly when, why, and how they'll be contributing.
This final point is very important. People need to know what they're supposed to do when things happen, and what to do is things go wrong. It's no sense training for an earthquake if your members are unable to help once the communication lines are cut, for instance.
After each mission, go over what went right and what went wrong, and then make sure those mistakes are incorporated into your training. This is why militaries use Soldiers who have recently returned from combat as instructors, as they "know the enemy", and what not to do.
Having a pre-mission rehearsal and an after-action report allows you to make the most of your mistakes.
Things to Keep in Mind
There are several things you'll need to keep in mind when running your militia.
a) You can't break the law. You have to follow all rules and regulations regarding your group. For instance, possessing handguns or rifles in Canada for self-defence is illegal, so you wouldn't be able to have an "armed militia" that is armed with guns.
b) You have to be worried about people who don't understand your group's goals trying to break it up. Read up on counterintelligence, and how to compartmentalize information. A good introduction to the field of intelligence (which involves analyzing information for its value), and the field of counterintelligence (which involves preventing enemies from getting and undermining your intelligence) is my own lens, Intelligence.
c) Never lose sight of your goal. If you're training for natural disasters or emergencies, train for that. Don't let a romantic idea of being a "guerrilla fighter" or a revolutionary sway you into potentially illegal goals.
d) Realize that the police will be placing you under surveillance if they believe you have negative goals. It's your job to network with the police and make sure they understand you're not out to hurt anyone.
e) Have fun, of course. There's nothing more fun than training new skills, boosting your confidence, and knowing you're prepared to deal with whatever might come your way.
Books on Militias
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear them!