Spartan9 Dispatch for November 2023

This month - Contingency planning, minor progress with gear and applications, 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.

Phnom Penh

This month, I spent a week in Phnom Penh focused on contingency planning on behalf of a global client. I did the usual visits to embassies, hotels, hospitals, and clinics. I also met with security providers, helicopter operators and boat charterers.

It’s been a few years since I was last in Cambodia, so nice to be back.

Travel Safety and Security Programmes

I’ve been writing extensively about how to build effective travel safety and security programmes at Dangerous Travels. This month, I kicked off a new project to analyse the current travel safety and security practices of a global client with the objective to help them identify areas for improvement. These types of projects are great because they provide a meaningful opportunity to safeguard travellers. They also provide me an invaluable opportunity to learn and refine my methodologies and frameworks.


Training workshops and customised training solutions.

Managing Traveller Emergencies

On the subject of travel security, we offer a unique workshop focused on managing traveller emergencies. During this workshop we teach front line employees how to respond to incidents impacting travellers. The focus is on being able to effectively gather information from the traveller and guide them to safety. The workshop includes a number of exercises, allowing participants to put their new skills to practice.

If you have a Security Operations Centre that receives calls from travellers requiring support, you’ll find this training invaluable.

Learn more here.


Updates on our applications.

Incident Manager Application

Nothing to report on Incident Manager this month. Have had to focus on other things. I’ll be working on the application over Christmas and will have more updates next month.


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 UHMWPE webbing. The 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 sto make webbing from UHMWPE.

At this stage, the plan is to visit the factory again mid-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 materials 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 misled 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. Being small and unknown makes everything immeasurably more difficult.


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:

Designing a Travel Safety and Security Programme Part 2. The second article of a series focused on designing a robust and effective travel safety and security programme.

Designing a Travel Safety and Security Programme Part 3. The third article of a series focused on designing a robust and effective travel safety and security programme.

Designing a Travel Safety and Security Programme Part 4. The fourth article of a series focused on designing a robust and effective travel safety and security programme.

Designing a Travel Safety and Security Programme Part 5. The fifth article of a series focused on designing a robust and effective travel safety and security programme.

There are only four more articles to write about to close out 2023. Any suggestions?

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 products:

An Introduction to Products. The advantages of products in relation to services.

Books as a Product. Different aspects to consider if you’re considering writing and publishing books as an independent security professional.

Books as a Product (Part 2). Additional aspects to consider if you’re considering writing and publishing books as an independent security professional.

Templates as a Product. Different aspects to consider if you’re thinking about selling templates as an independent security professional.

An Introduction to Subscription Products. Exploring the benefits of subscription products, and some high-level considerations for pricing and promotion.


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.

The Field Guide Series

The Field Guide Series consists of four books covering different aspects of operating safely and securely in higher-risk environments.

The Field Guide to Deployment Planning takes you through how to prepare for an assignment. I’ve recently updated this guide to include chapters on local support, physical and psychological preparation, and contingency planning.

The Field Guide to Personal Security is focused on ensuring that you can stay safe while operating on the ground in complex and higher-risk environments. It covers topics ranging from preparation and protective gear to protests, surveillance, and corruption.

The Field Guide to Accommodation Security is designed to guide you in the selection of secure accommodation during engagements in complex and higher-risk environments. It covers selecting appropriate apartments, guesthouses, hotels, and residences, and goes into detail regarding options to enhance security.

The Field Guide to Transport Security is focused on keeping you and your team safe while you’re on the road in complex and higher-risk environments. This guide covers vehicle selection and preparation, route planning, convoy planning, security escorts, armoured vehicles, and much more.

You can see a preview of these guides and download free samples at our website.

We also offer the Field Guide series as a discounted bundle.

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: AI bioweapons, using livestreams to monitor conflict, risks of another Trump presidency, the end of anonymity on Chinese social media, and other topics.

Can Chatbots Help You Build a Bioweapon? Artificial intelligence can help users engineer pathogens—but that’s not the real danger (via Foreign Policy). Read here.

Beijing’s strong-arming of the Philippines plays right into Washington’s hands. (via ASPI). Read here.

A New Tool Allows Researchers to Track Damage in Gaza. The tool, originally developed to estimate damage in Ukraine, can estimate the number of damaged buildings and the pre-war population in a given area within the Gaza Strip.(via Bellingcat). Read here.

Using Livestreams to Monitor Crises in Gaza and Beyond. (via Bellingcat). Read here.

Myanmar’s Civil War May Have Just Reached a Turning Point. Operation 1027 could be a turning point in the country’s civil war. (via World Politics Review). Read here.

Donald Trump poses the biggest danger to the world in 2024. What his victory in America’s election would mean (via the Economist). Read here.

Inside Hamas’s sprawling financial empire. Why Israel is powerless to dismantle the group’s finances (via the Economist). Read here.

The end of anonymity on Chinese social media. Forced to use real names on platforms like Weibo, Chinese influencers quit social media instead (via Rest of World). Read here.

An AI copy detector. A tool by Copyleaks to detect AI content and plagiarism. Read here.

InfectedSlurs Botnet Spreads Mirai via Zero-Days. The Akamai Security Intelligence Response Team has uncovered two zero-day vulnerabilities with remote code execution functionality exploited in the wild. Read here.

Israel’s using widespread GPS tampering to deter Hezbollah’s missiles. (via Politico). Read here.

That’s it for this month, folks.

Thanks for reading and stay safe out there.

Grant Rayner


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