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And you are a Sniper! and You are a Sniper!…EVERYONE is a SNIPER! February 21, 2015

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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1marSSSchool (1)With the impending release of American Sniper, many of us in the Marine Sniper community cringed knowing that it would spawn a new group of posers and Stolen Valor idiots claiming to be snipers.  Well…we weren’t wrong.  Our secret Facebook pages (yes, we have ‘secret’ pages) have been filling up with stories of people claiming to be Marine Snipers (no doubt our Army, and Navy brothers are having the same issues).  Even Marines who legitimately served as Marines have been caught fraudulently claiming ‘sniper’ status.  We have caught Disabled Surfers, CEOs, and Bikers making the claims.  Here are some things you can ask and how you can quickly confirm if someone is legitimately a Marine Scout/Sniper or a poser.. (more…)

“Lipstick and Eyeshadow on a Pig” + “Nail Polish” April 21, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News.
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Since I am heading to the Piracy event in Hamburg, Germany this week and (here is a plug…will be speaking on Cybersecurity), I thought it appropriate to re-post this particular post with some added commentary. You can read the previous posts on vetting armed security here.  I have added four techniques used by companies to project a skewed image.  I call them: “Sitting With Cool Kids” ; “Wining and Dining”; “Bravado Impresario”; and “Rambo-ing a Client”.

This is a bit off topic but I think it is interesting.   In a previous life I used to manage number of competitive intelligence projects for clients. It is field I find fascinating and very interesting and I put quite a bit of time into learning about CI and it’s application.  Today I was reminded of a CI signal and thought I would pass on.  When I was a younger man I liked to race my motorcycle around the streets and highways of Texas.  I remember my friend told me once: “Never race a car or bike that has a primer paint job.”  I asked why and he said: “Because they don’t care about looks and they put all their money into motor.”  It makes perfect sense in street racing and in business.  One of the trends that I look for is companies suddenly “painting their car” or announcing that they are about to “paint their car” for no real reason.  While companies should always be focused on improving their marketability, often a radical change like a total re-branding or a shiny new website suggests something more sinister.   Often these changes are calculated to occur at an opportune time like right before a major industry event.   (more…)

COTS Technology & Security December 1, 2011

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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Back in the1990’s I was a qualified Marine Sniper.  In the good ‘ole days of the USMC, we fired the M40a1 (don’t laugh jerks 😉 .  It was basically a Remington 700 action chambered for 7.62 x 51mm NATO (.308) with a Win M70 (pre64) trigger, a Unertl fixed 10 power scope with a MilDot reticle and a McMillan monte-carlo stock (I sound like a computer geek…it hash 500 gigibits of RAM..;).  The A1 was introduced in the 1970’s and we had to learn the rifle inside and out for Sniper School.  The rifle was guaranteed to shoot 1 MOA (or roughly 1 inch groups per every hundred yards for the non shooters).  1″ at 100 yds, 2″ at 200 yds, and so on.  I though the 14 lb rifle was the apex of engineering and was proud to carry that heavy bastard.  Back in the 1990’s there were a number of companies that could make an M40 replica for around $3,000US or about $4,500 today, when adjusted for inflation.  Back in the day as a young Marine, I could never afford a precision rifle as they all ran upwards of $3,000 in 1993 dollars.

Last year I purchased a Remington M700 SPS Tactical .308 for $599US. I figured that for $600 even if it shot only 1.5 MOA it would be fun to shoot.  I put a $350US Nikon tactical scope on top and took it to the range to break it in.  This rifle has a Remington XMark pro adjustable trigger, a 20″ barrel and Hoag over-molded stock.  I had read good reviews about the rifle but imagine my surprise when, after breaking it in,  it was shooting 3/8 inch 3 shot groups at 100 yds from a bipod! (see the pic at top..that is 3 shots)  This is only a 7.5 lb rifle.  I could NEVER get my M40 to shoot better than about 3/4 inches off a sand bag.

The moral of the story is that while warfare is not good for much, manufacturers really begin to focus on improving technology that can be used on the battlefield.  A person today can purchase a rifle for less than $1,000 that shoots better than my M40 did “back in the day”.  We see these improvements not only in rifles but in body armor, camoflage, communications equipment, optics, and other areas. The military is increasingly looking at Commercial Off the Shelf Technology or COTS. Looking at what the modern soldier, sailor, and Marine carries today really puts into perspective how much has changed.

So what does this have to do with Maritime security?  Security often requires firearms, optics and other technology.Today, it is possible to outfit guards with very reliable, very accurate firearms at reasonable prices.  The same can be said for optics.  It is possible to purchase good Gen 2 night vision in the US for about $2,000US and Gen 4 for less than $4,000 US.  Night vision technology even in the 1990’s was prohibitively expensive.  Even thermal imaging technology can be had for less than $8,000.

On the flip side, it should be noted that the “bad guys” can also get their hands on better gear today then they could even 5 years ago.  It is important to stay ahead of the curve and ensure that if you hire guards they have appropriate kit and are adequately trained to use the equipment.

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