Spartan9 Dispatch for October 2023

This month - Gear and application updates, training workshops, publications, articles, and links to articles worth your time.


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

It’s been an exhausting month, as I’ve been busy with a diverse range of projects. I spent the first part of the month in Kyushu working on a contingency plan. On the bag front, things have been quiet as the factory goes about the process of sourcing the various materials for production. I’ve spent quite a lot of time working on improving the Incident Manager application, refactoring code and adding a few useful features. There’s also a number of consulting projects on the go relating to travel security, contingency planning, and crisis simulation exercises.

At some point during the month I also picked up COVID (first time for me). Not much fun.


Training workshops and customised training solutions.

Overview of workshops

Typically I focus one workshop here. It might be useful to provide a broader overview of the training workshops we provide. Here’s a snapshot of the different workshops we have available for organisations:

Crisis Management

  • Crisis Response Fundamentals. Learn the fundamentals of crisis response. Build your confidence and develop essential skills for responding to crisis events effectively and efficiently.

  • Practical Crisis Communication. Master the art of crisis communication. Develop essential skills to communicate effectively and empathetically during crisis events, ensuring the well-being of your employees and the reputation of your organization.

Travel Security

  • Practical Safety and Security for Travellers. Learn essential techniques to assess threats and risks, and effectively manage your security while traveling in higher-risk countries.

  • Practical Information Security for Travellers. Stay ahead of potential threats and protect your personal and business information while traveling. Learn essential strategies for securing your devices, communications, and data in autocratic or higher-risk countries.

  • Managing Traveller Emergencies. Develop the skills to effectively respond to incidents impacting travellers. Learn essential crisis management and incident response techniques to ensure the safety and well-being of your travellers during emergencies.

Security Evacuations

  • Planning Security Evacuations. Build the skills to effectively plan and execute security evacuations in various situations. Learn the essentials of identifying resources and assessing infrastructure, developing evacuation plans, and preparing for contingencies to ensure the safety of individuals during critical events.

  • Decision Making for Security Evacuations. Enhance your ability to make informed decisions in high-stress situations. Learn how to use different frameworks to determine the optimal time to evacuate people from a crisis location, ensuring their safety and minimising risks.

  • Executing Security Evacuations. Enhance your ability to coordinate and execute security evacuations. Learn how to safely manage evacuations by air, land, and sea while ensuring the security of evacuees in high-pressure situations.

Please note that these workshops are only available to organisations.


Updates on our applications.

Incident Manager Application

I’ve spent this month digging deep into the code of the Incident Manager application. I’ve improved the service objects that permit access to different records in different contexts (what you see in your team page vs what you see in an incident, for example). I’m also almost through the process of refactoring the controllers (you can think of controllers as the middleman between the user and the application’s data and views).

Along the way, I’ve added a few useful features, such as the ability to view related resources when you view a resource (‘related’ in this context means same category and in the same location).

The mission remains the same. To produce an incident management application that requires minimal training to use effectively, and that doesn’t get in the way of a team during an incident. The application promotes effective team performance by placing essential information exactly where it’s needed, when it’s needed.

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


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

All of the materials arrived at the factory in October, except for the webbing. The UHMWPE webbing manufacturer has caused all sorts of problems and has single-handedly caused a two-month delay to production. The latest issue has been yet another delay due to QC problems at their end. Unfortunately, nothing can be done at this point. Finding another supplier would add at least another two months to the timeline. A key challenge is that there just aren’t that many companies able to make webbing from UHMWPE.

At this stage, I plan to be visit the factory during the week of 18 December to review the final production samples and to be there as production starts. The good news is that, once they start production, it won’t take long to finish the bags. They’ll be cutting in bulk and will have a dedicated production line.

I’ve learned dozens of lessons over the past year regarding materials, suppliers, and manufacturing. I’ve been mislead on at least one occasion and cheated out of money on another occasion. I almost made a huge mistake selecting a manufacturing partner. At the same time, I’m very lucky to have found the factory I’m currently working with, and I’m very happy with the team that’s been supporting me at the factory. I’m also very thankful for the support provided by the team at Challenge Sailcloth.

The bag manufacturing industry is geared towards supporting massive global brands producing 10,000 (or more) bags at a time.


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:

Providing Effective Travel Advice to Corporate Travellers. Different approaches organisations can use to provide high quality advice to their travellers to help mitigate risk.

Improving Travel Restrictions. Different techniques your organisation can implement to improve your approach to implementing travel restrictions.

Supporting Travellers During Critical Incidents. Why your organisation will struggle to assist travellers during critical incidents and need to instead focus on empowering travellers through effective training.

How to Hit the Ground Running. Techniques you can apply before and during a trip to ensure that you hit the ground fully prepared and in the right frame of mind.

Designing a Travel Safety and Security Programme Part 1. The first of a series of articles focused on designing a robust and effective travel safety and security programme.

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 response and analytical services, along with the risks and benefits of subcontracting:

An Introduction to Response Services. The advantages and disadvantages of offering response services as part of your blend of products and services.

Different Approaches to Response Services. The benefits of pre-emptive deployment, how to determine when to deploy, and how to price response services.

Security Analysis Services. Different approaches to delivering security analysis services, and the advantages and disadvantages of delivering analysis as a service or as a product.

Subcontracting Services. Exploring some of the benefits and risks associated with using subcontractors 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.

Under the Radar

Under the Radar is a deep dive into surviving in modern urban environments. It takes you through practical aspects of operational security. You’ll learn how to handle yourself if you’re detained or arrested, and if you’re interrogated. From there, the book gets into the practicalities of how to escape from detention, and then how to evade recapture and get yourself to safety.

This book was fun to write and I’m told is an entertaining read. So much so that it was purchased by an ethics class at a prestigious US university (not sure if that’s a good thing…).

Learn more here.

Here’s a list of our other books focused on travel security:

Bulk Orders

Multiple highly-regarded companies organisations (and one prestigious university) have purchased copies of our books for their teams. If your team would benefit from the knowledge and experience contained in our books, please reach out. We can provide discounts for bulk orders.


Links to interesting articles worth your time. This month: The situation in Israel, the threat from China, and a few pieces on information security.

Predictive Policing Software Terrible At Predicting Crimes. A software company sold a New Jersey police department an algorithm that was right less than 1% of the time. Read here.

China and America are not destined for war. (via ASPI). Read here.

Syria’s Druze Have Run Out of Patience With Assad. While recent protests in Sweida seem like a radical break, they are part of a community’s long tradition of resisting oppression. Read here.

How authoritarian governments are using generative AI. A new report finds at least 16 countries using synthetic media to mislead their citizens — and the number is growing fast. Read here.

Genetics firm 23andMe says user data stolen in credential stuffing attack. 23andMe has confirmed to BleepingComputer that it is aware of user data from its platform circulating on hacker forums and attributes the leak to a credential-stuffing attack. Read here.

Understanding Hamas’s Genocidal Ideology. A close read of Hamas’s founding documents clearly shows its intentions (via The Atlantic). Read here.

Israel’s Intelligence Disaster. How the Security Establishment Could Have Underestimated the Hamas Threat (via Foreign Affairs). Read here.

Hamas’s Hostage-Taking Handbook Says to ‘Kill the Difficult Ones’ and Use Hostages as ‘Human Shields’. The document, which was obtained from an Israeli official, also suggests that Hamas did not plan to take hostages back to Gaza (via The Atlantic). Read here.

Weapons Used by Hezbollah on the Lebanon-Israel Border Since Hamas’ Attack. (via Militant Wire). Read here.

Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: A Guide from War on the Rocks. A collection of links to relevant articles by War on the Rocks. Read here.

Signal President Meredith Whittaker on resisting government threats to privacy. The encrypted messaging app is on the front lines of battles over encryption in India, Russia, and Iran (via Rest of World). Read here.

India Isn’t Signing Up for China’s New World Order. The United States isn’t the only competitor getting in the way of China’s global ambitions (via The Atlantic). Read here.

Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China. US Department of Defense. Read here.

The Bizarre Story Behind Shinzo Abe’s Assassination. The man who allegedly killed the former prime minister says he was aiming for something larger: the Unification Church—the Moonies—and its political influence in Japan (via The Atlantic). Read here.

Chinese Whispers. What we know about Beijing’s spies (via The Spectator). Read here.

CCP using information operations to harass Canadian politicians. (via ASPI). Read here.

Separating Fact from Fiction on Social Media in Times of Conflict. (via Bellingcat). Read here.

Without a Trace: How to Take Your Phone Off the Grid. A guide on anonymizing your phone, so you can use it without it using you (via The Markup). Read here.

China Doesn’t Get It. The more undiplomatically China acts, the more it brings countries together in shared resentment against it (via RAND Corporation). Read here.

That’s it for this month, folks.

Thanks for reading and stay safe out there.

Grant Rayner


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