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Episode 160 S4-36

Defense Contracting


Special Guest:

Battle for the South Ch 36

James Yaeger

The Battle for the South adventure draws to a close as Vince navigates the streets of Las Vegas. The "mercenary army" in my stories is based on a concept of all of the private defense contractors banding together to make a united force. Here today to discuss the realities of civilian contracting and what long term survival lessons we can learn from them is James Yeager, owner of Tactical Response.

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Even though you may not have an interest in becoming a Civilian Contractor you can learn many lessons about long term survival in a hostile environment from James's book, High Risk Civilian Contracting.

Civilian contractors are sometimes referred to as mercenaries but there is a difference. A mercenary will kill people for money. A contractor wouldn't kill anybody for money that they wouldn't kill to maintain the freedoms of the United States of America. They think of the job as an extension of duty to the country. Many of the jobs they perform have more to do with policing or defending rather than killing. A mercenary has it's own definition and its own history. It is actually the second oldest profession in the world.


Recently the United States Government has increased the amount of civilian defense contractors that they use to accomplish military objectives. It is less expensive for the government to hire these private companies rather than hire more soldiers. Also when the bodies of contractors come home, there's no flag, and no presidential ceremony so hiring contractors is politically safer. Private defense companies also handle many of the tasks like personal security that the military does not handle.


You can become a civilian contractor no matter what type of background you have. Some companies are pickier than others. James's word of advice is don't do it if you are in it for the money. Don't leave a career for a job. The benefits included with a career position can outweigh the cash that you receive for this job. Also any injuries that you sustain in the line of duty are not covered by the VA hospital.


Civilian defense contractors generally protect people, places and things. When you are on the job you go wherever the person goes, you stay at a place and protect it or an event or you may be staying by a thing to guard it.

The gear lists in High Risk Civilian Contracting are phenomenal! Making these lists is actually what gave James the idea to publish the book. The text merely connects the lists. 

The top five items on James's gear list are:

  1. Night Vision

  2. Rifle

  3. Good Boots

  4. Something to carry water in.

  5. Backpack

The number one item is night vision. If you want any kind of quality night vision it will not be cheap. James recommends heading over to Prioritize your needs! Night vision will give you a clear advantage in any survival situation. If you are in a dangerous environment, you can hide and sleep in the day and travel by night. Most of them run on AA or CR123 batteries. The full battery will last about forty hours. You will need to consider how you are going to charge your batteries if you are on the go.

Driving skills are another asset that James highlights. You can carry more and go farther faster in a vehicle. However, they are targets as well. Shooting accurately from a vehicle is near impossible. You will need a belt fed weapon that can hose the perimeter. 

You will need a survival level proficiency when it comes to handling your firearm. You need the muscle memory in place through practice to get the gun out, get it in front of you, see the sites and press the trigger. Lots of people who aren't firefighters have a fire extinguisher and could operate it with a basic level of proficiency. Weapon handling is just as important as marksmanship. 

When you are practicing shooting, you should try to increase the amount of adrenal stress that you feel. Turn a camera on while you are practicing. Running and doing pushups before shooting only increases physical stress not adrenal stress. To train with adrenal stress takes a surprise factor or phycological stress. Force on force training is the best. Having an aggressor trying to outmaneuver you is best. If you can't practice that way try turning on your livestream while shooting.

Another list featured in James's book, High Risk Civilian Contracting is a personal medical list. James's top five items are:

  1. Tourniquet 

  2. Chest Needle

  3. Compression Bandage

  4. Gauze

  5. Nasal Airway

The top three killers on a battlefield are tension pneumothorax, blood loss and airway obstruction. James feels you should be carrying a tourniquet all the time. Not in your edc kit, but on your person. Some folks feel they could make one with a belt. In James's opinion there is no substitute for the real thing. He challenges anyone who has never applied a tourniquet and thinks they can use a belt to go ahead and try it. (Don't really try it, unless you are with a trained professional. You could cut circulation off to your limb and it will turn green.) 

If you only do one thing for your long term medical preparation, learn how to get good with a tourniquet. They only go in four places: High on the arm pits or high on the leg in the pelvic girdle. Blood loss from the extremities kills people all the time and could be prevented easily with a tourniquet. Injuries like tension pneumothorax and tension hemothorax can't be fixed in the field but tourniquets can save lives. A H&H tourniquet is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and can be carried all the time. It should not be in your edc kit because if you are hurt and separated, how long can you bleed until you reach it?

Contamination causing diarrhea is another major concern for a defense contractor but also for anyone surviving a long term disaster scenario. Make sure you are well stocked on anti-diarrheal pills in all your kits. Diarrhea is a killer. It takes you out of the fight and can dehydrate you to the point of death. Treat any diarrhea as soon as it appears.

Maintaining a high or low profile will depend on the contracting job or the survival situation. Both are effective tools to be used when appropriate. Most of the time you will want to maintain the lowest profile possible. Use the night vision to become invisible instead of grey. If you are going to be visible, then you need to be like a porcupine. You need to look like somebody they don't want to mess with. Learn from Sun Tzu, when your weak, appear strong and when your strong, appear weak. If you can go without being seen that's always the best option.

If things break down our country will look similar to the places where civilian defense contractors go to perform their jobs. Motorcades of two or three vehicles will be trolling for supplies and the scavengers will be out in full force. 

On a side note, my favorite item on James's list was the temporary cavity filling material. I had no idea such a thing existed!

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Battle for the South Ch 36

James Yaeger

James Yeager, who owns Tactical Response, was a Law Enforcement Officer with a career spanning Undercover, Patrol, K9 and SWAT assignments. He has also been a Security Contractor in Iraq protecting the Iraqi Election commission before, during and after Iraq's first election. He started Tactical Response in 1996 and, in that time, has trained over 66,000 people in North, Central and South America as well as Europe. 

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