Spartan9 Dispatch for August 2023

This month - Taiwan contingency planning, major gear announcements, updates on our new crisis management application, and links to our latest articles.


What we’ve been doing, where we’ve been travelling to, and what’s next.

This month has been a busy one for consulting. I’ve been involved with a range of different projects in the region.

Taiwan Contingency Planning

We’ve continued to build out a range of products and services focused on contingency planning for military conflict scenarios impacting Taiwan.

We now offer the following suite of complementary products and services relating to Taiwan:

  • Taiwan Contingency Planning Workspace
  • Taiwan Contingency Planning Manual
  • Taiwan Contingency Planning Workshop
  • Tailored Taiwan Contingency Planning Solutions

You can learn more about these products and services here.

If your organisation has people in Taiwan, you’ll find these products and services to be useful. The details contained within the workspace and manual are designed to provide a head start for your planning, saving you time and money. If you’d like to arrange a demo of the workspace, please get in touch.

I’ll be providing a short briefing on Taiwan contingency planning for members of the Asia Crisis and Security Group (ACSG) on Friday 8 September. If you’re a member of ACSG, it will be worth your time to attend.


Training workshops and customised training solutions.

Taiwan Contingency Planning Workshop

The Taiwan Contingency Planning Workshop will help your organisation develop its own contingency plans for Taiwan.

During the workshop, we’ll orientate you to the situation and introduce you to the challenges you’ll face when planning and executing different contingency responses.

The workshop covers the following:

  • Policies relating to evacuation eligibility and prioritisation
  • Roles and responsibilities, and decision-making authority
  • Decision-making frameworks and triggers
  • Preparation and readiness
  • The constraints and limitations impacting evacuation
  • Viable evacuation options
  • Practical considerations for shelter-in-place options
  • Practical considerations for domestic relocation options

We’ll also share the results of our on-the-ground assessments, including details of the cross-island routes.

The standard duration of the workshop is 2 hours. We can customise the content for different client requirements. Learn more here.


Updates on our applications.

Incident Manager Application

I’ve delayed the soft launch of the Incident Manager application. I’ve had to balance priorities this month (more on this below), and there are a few complex features of the application that require additional attention.

The first of these features is ‘resources’. Resources are service providers and can include hospitals, security companies, transport providers, embassies and so on. I’m taking a unique approach to resources by having ‘shared’ resources. Anyone can create a shared resource, and shared resources are available to anyone using the application. I think this is a great way to leverage the community to benefit the community. What makes resources complex? Resources can be used by different user roles in different contexts. They are also made available to teams in an incident based on location and incident type. While the views are relatively simple, the model and controller are very complex due to the business logic.

The second feature is ‘playbooks’. Playbooks provide guidance to teams during an incident. As with resources, there are ‘shared’ playbooks that are pre-loaded and available to anyone using the application. Organisations can also create playbooks, which are available to all teams in the organisation. Individual teams can also develop their own playbooks. Because playbooks are associated with incident types, they are automatically loaded when a team initiates a new incident based on the type of incident. As with resources, the model and controller are complex.

That said, for the most part the app is working nicely and I’ve had the opportunity to run a few client demonstrations. So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

If you work for an organisation that’s looking for a robust software solution for incident management, I’d be happy to run a demonstration for you.


Updates on our in-house gear, sharing a behind-the-scene look at our design and manufacturing processes.

Remember last month I said I had everything set up for production? Well, I was wrong. Communication with the factory manager has been poor to the point that I’ve lost trust that they can deliver to the standard required.

So, I’ve had to pivot. Quickly.

How does one pivot in such a situation? In this case, pivoting meant booking a flight to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to start from the beginning.

I spent a week working in the sampling room of one of world’s largest bag manufacturing companies. The company works with many brands you’ll be familiar with in the outdoor and sporting industry.

During the week, we prototyped 10 different bags and accessories. I’m in the process of finalising the commercial arrangements with the company, then we start production. It’s a 90 day production cycle, which means the bags should be ready by Christmas. Of course, there are a lot of other variables to contend with, including the availability of some of the specialist fabrics we use in the bags.

In addition to working with the factory, I’ve also started the process of building a new website and will offer pre-orders. I expect to head back to HCMC in September to work with the team on the final set of pre-production samples (‘PPS’ in industry lingo). Once that’s done, we start production.

Honestly, this entire project has been epic. There are plenty of times I’ve just wanted to pack it in. But I think these products are solid and look forward to getting them into the hands of people in the field.

Next month, I’ll provide a preview of the full product line.


Links to our latest articles.

Dangerous Travels

Dangerous Travels is our weekly article series for 2023, focused on travel safety and security. Here’s the Dangerous Travels articles for this month:

Empowering Travellers to Manage Risk. How organisations can empower their travellers to effectively manage risk while travelling in higher-risk locations.

Vetting Local Contacts. How to go about the process of vetting local contacts in a higher-risk location.

Planning Day Trips. Factors to consider when planning day trips while operating in higher-risk environments.

Running Road Blocks. How to negotiate checkpoints and roadblocks while travelling in higher-risk locations, and why attempting to run a road block is probably not a good idea.

The Business of Security

The Business of Security focuses on the practical aspects of setting up and running a company as an independent security professional.

This month, the Business of Security is focused on designing specific services:

An Introduction to Consulting as a Service. What is security consulting, and do clients actually require security consulting services?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Consulting as a Service. This article explores a broad range advantages and disadvantages of consulting as a service, and considers whether you should include consulting as part of your portfolio of services.

Integrating Consulting Services. How to integrate consulting into your portfolio of services and products as an independent security professional.

An Introduction to Retained Services. Why clients would use retained services, and the pros and cons of retainers for independent security professionals.

Structuring Retainer Agreements. Different approaches to structuring retainer agreements, and how you can adapt these approach to your own business as an independent security professional.


We’ve published a number of books on crisis management, travel security and security evacuations. These books have been purchased by travellers, security professionals, several global companies, and at least one prestigious university.

Taiwan Contingency Planning Manual

The Contingency Planning Manual for Taiwan provides detailed instructions for protecting your organisation’s employees and their families in Taiwan in the event of a major crisis, including hostile military action.

We initiated the development of this manual in August 2022, during Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Since then, we have continued to develop and refine the manual through research, consultation with clients, and time on the ground in Taiwan.

The manual steps you through the preparation process, guides you as to when you should make key decisions, and provides detailed operational plans for the execution of options to protect employees and their families.

The manual is designed so that it can be picked up and used with minimal modification. Alternatively, you can also use this manual as a head start for your own planning and preparation, extracting useful elements from the manual and tailoring them to your own requirements.

Learn more here.

Bulk Orders

If your organisation or team would benefit from the knowledge and experience contained in our books, please reach out. We can provide discounts for bulk sales.


Links to interesting articles worth your time. This month: Sextortion on Twitter, algorithmic warfare, Chinese expansion, and other topics.

Competing Without Fighting. China’s Strategy of Political Warfare (via CSIS). Read here.

Chinese discourse power: Capabilities and impact This report is part of the Digital Forensic Research Lab’s (DFRLab’s) “discourse power” series, which outlines the strategy, capabilities, impacts, and responses to China’s attempts to shape the global information environment (via Atlantic Council). Read here.

WhatsApp voice notes are revolutionizing farming in Senegal. For farmers in Senegal who struggle to read or write, sending voice notes has unlocked a new world of collaboration across the industry (via Rest of World). Read here.

Drone Wars Over Moscow. Analysis of Ukraine’s drone operations targeting the Russian capital (via Foreign Policy Research Institute). Read here.

The Future of Algorithmic Warfare Part II: Wild Goose Chases. an excerpt from the authors’ forthcoming book, Information in War: Military Innovation, Battle Networks, and the Future of Artificial Intelligence. Via War on the Rocks. Read here.

China’s dangerous secrets. the article highlights China’s stealthy and opaque expansionist policies, ranging from secretive military bases in Africa and Asia to dam projects and debt traps, which collectively put global stability at risk while Beijing faces minimal international consequences. (via ASPI). Read here.

In Tanzania, Beijing is running a training school for authoritarianism. Part II of China’s Shadow Empire. The school’s programs present strong evidence that Beijing is exporting its model in a clear departure from its previous, more subtle attempts to peddle influence (via Axios). Read here.

Myanmar’s future is not a foregone conclusion. The article urges for a nuanced, multi-dimensional understanding of the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, emphasising that the international community, particularly ASEAN member states, must confront their own indifference and invest in proactive diplomacy to address the political, economic, and humanitarian repercussions of the civil war sparked by the 2021 coup (via ASPI). Read here.

What Does the Death of Yevgeny Prigozhin Mean for Russia and the Wagner Group? (via CSIS). Read here.

Following the Money: A Beginner’s Guide to Using the OpenCorporates API. (via Bellingcat). Read here.

Chinese sextortion scammers are flooding Twitter. Scammers are targeting Chinese-language users, harassing political dissidents and influential figures (via Rest of World). Read here.

China’s Road to Ruin. The Real Toll of Beijing’s Belt and Road (via Foreign Affairs). Read here.

That’s it for this month, folks.

Thanks for reading and stay safe out there.

Grant Rayner


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