Letter: Advice on Establishing Retreat Group SOPs

Dear Mr Rawles:
I wanted to reach out. I am now reading your novel Patriots and in it the topic of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) is addressed. Do you all have a good template example to help me get started in this arena?

Thanks, – Jon B.

JWR Replies:  There are no “one size fits all” SOPs. Your SOPs should definitely be tailored to your particular circumstances.

Military SOPs are usually a good starting point.  (These include: immediate action drills, perimeter security (including challenge and password), patrolling, field sanitation, communications CEOI procedures, OPSEC, COMSEC, et cetera.)  I don’t want to sound self-promotional, but I must mention that there are more than 2,000 U.S. military manuals and training circulars included on the Bonus DVD included with our latest 10-year SurvivalBlog Archive DVD. The set is quite reasonably priced. Note, however, that you can find earlier editions of many of the same manuals out on the Internet, if you invest some time in searching. Sadly, however, many of the latest manuals and many that are marked FOUO (For Official Use Only) are now hidden behind the password-protected firewall of the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) database. But the good news is that we obtained copies of the quite recent editions for inclusion on our DVD.

With access to U.S. military manuals you will find many dozens of quite well-written and “mature” SOPs and crew drills. These are nearly all based on the Lessons Learned from countless thousands of hours of real-world military experience. Most of these SOPs were developed while operating in austere environments.  I can’t think of any better starting place for writing your own SOPs.