September 8, 2012 (Originally published on the old site, APR 2012–J.M.)
Of the four major aspects of support in military and paramilitary operations–personnel, intelligence, operations, and logistics–the fourth is often the most misunderstood by aspiring students of resistance theory and history. As the oft-cited cliche so accurately states, “Amateurs study tactics. Professionals study logistics.” When Napolean famously stated that “An army travels on its stomach,” he wasn’t talking specifically about the quality of the food in the French military, but about the importance of ensuring that the logistics train managed to keep pace with the fighting force, in order to keep the men re-supplied and fed.
For the inexperienced, the amount of material logistics support necessary to support even a single twelve-man SF ODA over the course of a six-month long deployment can be mind-numbingly massive (plane loads, not duffel bags full). The idea that a resistance cell will grab their individual rucksacks, LBEs, and weapons, and run off to the woods to fight it out in some Red Dawn, live-off-the-land scenario is a fantasy of hubris at its best. At its worst, it’s just fucking stupid.
Similarly naive however, is the typical survivalist/prepper idea that, in a totalitarian regime, ruled by the force of ninja-clad stormtroopers who kick in doors at 0300, stomp puppies to death, and jerk citizens from their beds by the hair, a stockpile of food and supplies in the pantry and basement will be adequate or secure.
The key to successful logistics support if a resistance movement is the establishment, by both individual tactical cells as well as dedicated auxiliary logistics networks, of widespread, secure, and well-equipped caches of critical supplies (for the record, it’s pronounced “cash,” “cashes,” and “cashed,” not “cashay,” “cashayes,” and “cashayed!”).
Caching is the process of hiding equipment or other necessary logistics materials in secure storage locations with the express intent to later recover those materials for future use (hiding them without the intent of later recovery is referred to as “losing shit.”) In a resistance movement, cached materials may provide numerous benefits to resistance forces. They may meet the emergency needs of personnel for items that can no longer be procured on the open or black markets, due to regime interference or lack of supply, or they may provide necessary travel documents and funds for the initiation of escape-and-evasion corridors by compromised personnel.
Most critically perhaps, caching provides a realistic supply solution for long-term operations conducted over wide areas, far from secure bases of operations. In the specific words of the doctrinal literature on caching for UW, “caching can also provide for anticipated needs of war time operations in areas likely to be overrun by the enemy.”
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