Well, we’re back. From Sunday, December 18th through Friday, December 23rd (2005), DefenseReview was at the FBI firing range at Camp Bonneville in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area attending a four-day Advanced Israeli Anti-Terrorist SWAT School focused specifically on anti-terrorism/counterterrorism doctrine, techniques, and tactics. The course was conducted by Aaron Cohen of IMS Security Inc. for the Southwest (Washington) Regional SWAT Team, which includes the Vancouver PD SWAT Team and Clark County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team. Mr. Cohen is a former member of an elite Israeli Special Forces unit that specializes in anti-terrorism/counterterrorism operations. Two members of the Seattle PD SWAT Team, 2 members of a New Mexico National Guard CATC (Combat Arms Training Company) instructors that work Counterdrug (CD) operations, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces operator (and LE SWAT operator), and a U.S. Customs Agent also attended the course.
I was the only civilian allowed to participate in the course. The reasons I was allowed in were 1) I already had the necessary experience and proficiency levels with carbine/rifle and handgun/pistol that were required for the purposes of range safety (maintaining proper muzzle discipline at all times, under all conditions, at various levels of stress, including high stress) 2) I was tasked with writing an article on the course by a tactical print publication that wanted an article written from a perspective that required immersion/participation in the course, and 3) IMS felt it was important to demonstrate just how simple the Israeli techniques and tactics were to learn and how easy they are to remember them once you’ve learned them. Mr. Cohen felt it was necessary for me to actually participate in the class in order to gain an inherent, holistic, and even visceral understanding of this aspect. This simplicity aspect is necessary because the Israeli military and security forces have to be able to build a combat/tactical operator from scratch (someone with little to no shooting or tactical experience whatsoever–in other words, someone with significantly less tactical shooting experience than your humble correspondent) and turn them into a top-flight tactical/counterterrorism operator within 15 months. Time is always a major factor in Israel. They don’t have years to do it like we do, over here (U.S.).
the most challenging tactical course they’ve ever taken. The course was both physically and mentally/psychologically challenging. We had to do a lot of thinking while employing our M4/M4A1 Carbines and pistols against the badguys (targets), and the IMS course taught us how to move and employ the M4/M4A1 (and pistol) like an Israeli Special Forces operator, thinking as we went. Counterterrorism operations are a thinking man’s game, and the IMS course demonstrated that fact very clearly. The IMS course gets students proficient at the skillsets taught surprisingly quickly.
While the primary focus of the course was high-speed terrorist takedown, the IMS Advanced Israeli Anti-Terrorist SWAT School also applies perfectly to active shooter scenarios/operations. All of the attending operators that DefRev interviewed were extremely impressed by and satisfied with IMS course, and believe it represents the future of law enforcement SWAT training (where LE SWAT training needs to go) for active shooter/terrorist threats against domestic U.S. targets.
DefRev will be publishing an in-depth article on the Advanced Israeli Anti-Terrorist SWAT School as soon as we can, and, as I’ve already alluded to, I’ll be writing an additional article for a tactical print magazine. In the meantime, we would advise our readers to check out Dan Kilton’s video report on the IMS course that he did for KATU News (Channel 2, Portland, Oregon). Mr. Kilton and his cameraman showed up while we were training and managed to shoot some video footage and interview Mr. Cohen and several of the operators attending the class. DefRev highly recommends that you watch the video, as it will give you at least a small taste of what we learned.