Elements of the Covert Ops Mission

Each and every covert mission is different. No matter the similarities, covert operators must think of each mission as a new experience. This keeps them from getting stale and complacent or worse yet making incorrect assumptions.

There are a few hard and fast rules for every mission, though. These are less rules of how to behave on the mission than rules on how to approach each mission, an outline of the steps that should be taken before going into any assignment, no matter how trivial and easy that assignment might seem.

1. IDENTIFY THE OBJECTIVE: This is usually done when the mission is assigned. The team is given information on what it’s to do, where the target is, the time parameters, etc.

2. RESEARCH THE OBJECTIVE: This is where the team’s intelligence personnel swing into action. Even the best-intentioned employer seldom gives the team the complete story on the objective; after all, most of these missions are on a “need to know” basis. Often, certain useful facts are left out: such as the actual importance of the objective, etc.

Most people think all a team needs for this is an InfoSec Operative. Sadly enough, this is a waste of a good combat hacker; who is more adept at breaking into systems than in combing archives for what may well be public information. In short. what the team needs is a good intelligence officer: or a good detective. Subtlety is paramount, because asking obvious questions may well reveal the mission before it ever gets started (not to mention that if it gets back to your employer; it might jeopardize your relations with them … this process does indicate a certain lack of trust).

The benefits of this stage are more information on the physical layout of the target, some due as to your employer’s motives, and the first early warning of a double-cross, if any.

3. GATHER EQUIPMENT: Take only what you need, and only what you trust Those are the watchwords of covert ops. Sure, there’s a temptation to pack for every contingency, like the White Knight, and be bogged down. Instead, pack for your mission, and only your mission.

When you’re choosing equipment, go with what you know. There’s no quicker way to create a problem than trying to go into a clutch situation with unfamiliar equipment If you’re going to change equipment, take the time to completely familiarize yourself with every aspect of its operation, from use to cleaning to repair. Make certain that you have enough in the way of spares to repair vital equipment Anything else can be abandoned if it breaks: remember that! Equipment, no matter how personally attached you might be to it, isn’t worth your life. If it doesn’t work, it’s just dead mass, and you can always buy more.

Environmental equipment (special gear for specific environments like Arctic or Jungle gear) is always a problem. If you’ve just been issued the equipment, becoming familiar with it becomes even more of a priority. If used improperly, a failure with environmental equipment can kill more swiftly than the enemy.

4. RECONNOITER THE OBJECTIVE: Hopefully, you’ll reach your operation location in time to do some nosing around first No matter what you’ve found out about your objective ahead of time, there are always inaccuracies, and the only way to find out the real story is to check it out first-hand. If your old information is too far off from the facts, start watching your back.

5. FORM PLANS: Only the most nebulous of plans should have been made before now, because. as certainly as the sun comes up in the east. you’ll find information at the objective location that’ll scrap previously-made plots. Only after you’ve gotten the real story will you have enough information to make real plans. Always have one or two back-up plans, because if you don’t, the main plan is certain to fail. And don’t forget to include escape routines in these plans, for both orderly withdrawals and unexpected retreats. Above all. remember the old military adage of KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. The simpler the plan, the fewer variables that there are to go wrong.

6. EXECUTE PLANS: The time for planning is past Just do it And be prepared to improvise, because no matter how simple the plan <see>, something will go wrong. There is, after all, an enemy who will being doing his best to prevent you from doing what you intend to do. Don’t underestimate him.

Key Term: INSERTION: This is getting to the target area. Like stealth, the whole idea is to remain undetected; if you’re detected, abort Insertion can be fast, via aircraft or other vehicle, thereby minimizing the time the team is vulnerable in the operation area <the>. On the other hand, a slow insertion through careful infiltration may be required to sneak into carefully-guarded areas.

7. WITHDRAW: After the objective is achieved, bug out as quickly as possible. No sense in hanging around, neh?

Key Term: EXTRACTION: AKA “Getting Out of Dodge,” extraction is getting away from the operation area (the corporate term “extraction” is a euphemism for voluntary or involuntary kidnapping). There are two ways to do it: fast and slow.

Fast is the classic method, where you either acquire a vehicle or have transport coming for you. The idea is to leave the operation theater (being defined as the area limited by the operation radius of immediate pursuit! swiftly, to avoid pursuit Bugging out to grab an AV or chopper, swimming back to the submarine, peeling out in cars or trucks; all these are fast extraction.

Slow usually means leaving the immediate operation area and fading into prepared cover roles in the general area, lying low until you have an opportunity to leave the operation theater. A favorite of spies, moles, and other h espionage agents.

Elements of the Covert Ops Mission

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