Haley Strategic Partners Disruptive Environments AAR Course
 

Haley Strategic Partners Disruptive Environments AAR

By Bryan Black

Haley Strategic Partners Disruptive Environments AAR

I recently got the unique opportunity to attend a closed course at Haley Strategic Partners designed to build thinkers before shooters, called Disruptive Environments.

Industry professionals from a variety of different markets converged in Montrose, CO for instruction focused around teaching skill-sets and sustainment tools. Disruptive Environments put participants into situations encountered by a modern warfighter for a 3-day glimpse of what it takes to fill their shoes.

We went through everything from weapons manipulation to Dynamic Assaults and even an FTX (Final Training Exercise) where we found ourselves in a 14,000 ft. mountain range suspended 600 ft. in the air by nothing more than a rope and a little metal. Needless to say it was right up my alley!

Haley Strategic Partners

bryan black and haley strategic partners instructors

Travis Haley, previously CEO of Magpul Industries and Magpul Dynamics, has recently broken away to start his own endeavor at Haley Strategic Partners, where he’s formed an operation that I’m truly proud to endorse. Not only as a company, but Travis himself. After spending a few days getting to know Travis, I found him to be a completely down-to-earth person that I respect considerably in this industry.

I found many similarities in not only the integrity with which he runs HSP, but in his enthusiasm and passion that he exudes, as I do with ITS Tactical. It’s refreshing to see that in an industry that I’ve found to be close-minded on more than one occasion.

Along with Chief Creative Officer Jon Chang and Instructor Brannon LeBouef; HSP provides training, consulting, product T&E and marketing to the industry. We’ve even got something in the works with HSP that will be coming very soon to ITS Tactical!

Disruptive Environments

As mentioned, the Disruptive Environments course takes industry professionals that might not be otherwise exposed to the realities of the modern warfighter and gives them a glimpse into what they encounter and better understand the needs of their end user; be it peer or client.

I found the course to be a fantastic representation of a broad range of skill-sets that I typically look for in courses that I attend. While many can attend a typical multiple-day shooting course, I’ve been drawn more and more to courses that step outside of this mold as the Disruptive Environments course did.

learning about weapons manipulation on day 1

Weapons Manipulation – Day 1

Throughout this AAR you’ll see me mention the insight that Travis provided during each course of instruction during the 3-day Disruptive Environments curriculum. I was grateful to hear about his experience as it related to everything we were instructed on, especially what did and didn’t work for him.

The first day was spent learning about some of the intricacies of shooting from a combat perspective. The basics of pistol and rifle were stressed, including zeroing, basic manipulation and focusing on fundamentals that helped everyone from many different backgrounds and abilities. I really appreciated Travis’ teaching style and presentation of information. I could also see everyone develop as the day progressed and attribute that to great instruction!

In addition to Travis’ guidance, we had the fortune of learning from accomplished shooter and President of Practical Shooting Academy, Ron Avery. Ron has a unique way of teaching the fundamentals of pistol that I hadn’t been exposed to before. His hands-on demonstrations, such as taking a stick and showing how a higher grip would control the weapon better, was something that I’d heard before from instructors but had never been shown quite like that. I consider myself a visual learner and appreciated the applications that Ron showed us.

Urban Entry and Assault – Day 2

While I’ve been exposed to working in close quarters in both the Navy and in previous courses I’ve attended, the 50,000 sq. ft. abandoned warehouse HSP was given access to use during our course was about as disruptive of an environment as you can get. With sparse light and areas of complete darkness, manipulating throughout the structure proved challenging and to be unique experience.

learning about urban entry and assault on day 2

entering a secured home

facing obstacles while working as a team

Travis really stressed the importance of Cell Team Tactics and their use in entry and assaults. While traditional close-quarters work takes an element that uses individuals trained in different specialties and can be large in size, Cell Team Tactics utilize a smaller element that has been cross-trained to not only work as a team in the traditional sense, but that also knows each others jobs and doesn’t depend on a single man to handle certain obstacles that can be encountered.

We learned how to work together as small Cell Teams to complete individual objectives that contributed to the overall mission plan. Utilizing UTM (Ultimate Training Munitions) and role players added the realism necessary to properly train and progress from a crawl to our final dynamic force-on-force movements throughout the objective.

I can’t stress the importance of getting yourself into a sim-type training environment and the benefits it provides from not only a physical nature, but a mental one as well. It’s a different animal to face paper versus a real-life opposition that fires rounds that hurt and have the potential to inflict consequences for taking the wrong action.

students of the disruptive environments AAR by haley strategic partners

learning how to frisk

learning how to restrain the enemy

bryan black at the disruptive environments aar by haley strategic partners

students

Trouble Shooter – Day 3

The culmination of our training was put to the test in our FTX (Final Training Exercise) which took place on the third day. It not only integrated the tactics we’d previously been exposed to, but a skill-set near and dear to me, intelligence gathering. Interacting with locals and using social engineering to extract information is a skill-set I don’t often get to practice.

Without giving away too much of our FTX, our class was split into two elements, each required to gather important operational intel that would lead us to our objective. The end goal being to locate a terrorist cell responsible for DOS (denial of service) communication disruption attacks and conduct a site exploitation before extracting. Our mission brief was very well thought out and planned. The details that were put into each sub-objective came right from real-life mission profiles.

traversing a nearby mountain and via ferrata route

bryan black making his way up to the mountain to gather important operational intel

Utilizing many of the skill-sets I’d previously learned, my group converged on the small mountain town located in the shadow of a mountain we’d soon be traversing towards our objective. Our link-up with our contact required a call-sign confirmation that would prove to be a challenge in obtaining the critical intel we needed.

Once our element gained the necessary intel, we made our way to the nearby mountain and Via Ferrata route we’d be traversing with our firearms converted to UTM. A Via Ferrata is a mountain route equipped with fixed cables and metal ladders. The main event of our particular Via Ferrata suspended us a few hundred feet in the air as we moved towards our objective in locating the terrorist cell we’d been tracking.

This was the first time I’d ever been on a Via Ferrata and it was an awesome experience! There were literally moments that I was suspended with nothing more than a single hand and a foot hold. Thanks to Arc’Teryx and the HSP Mountain Rescue Team, we had redundant protection that ensured even if something happened we were always clipped into the cable. It was exhilarating nonetheless!

While our loadout wasn’t even a third of what our troops overseas are humping through the mountains, it certainly gave everyone an appreciation of what those on the pointy end of the stick are exposed to on a daily basis. Our opposition lay just beyond the Via Ferrata and little did we know what awaited us as we got both feet back onto the ground to move towards the objective.

students on a via ferrata

bryan black on a via ferrata

via ferrata on the side of a mountain

After a four mile hump and climb up 12,000 ft. mountains, our two elements moved around the final turn and were bombarded by a well placed ambush. Utilizing the high ground, and well dug-in locations we were forced to think outside of the box and engage the opposition force. I’ll say that this was the first time throughout the course I’d been hit with a 375 fps 5.56 UTM round and I definitely felt it on my thigh after the adrenaline of the FTX wore off.

I gave chase up a mountain-side to encounter one of the role players and wound up getting a sizable boulder rolling down the mountain and appearing to be coming right for my face! Luckily it took a southerly direction and I was able to grab a nearby tree and move my leg just enough to avoid it making direct contact with my knee. While it did strike my shin and still hurts with pressure even today, I got lucky and appreciate the authenticity that the FTX provided. I’m a strong believer in authentic training and Haley Strategic doesn’t disappoint! It’s that old Chinese proverb made popular by General Patton, “the more you sweat in training, the less you’ll bleed in war.”

After neutralizing the opposition we conducted a site sterilization and extracted any intel we could off the role players before egressing down the mountain another mile and a half to the admin area. With our mission complete and debrief underway we got the chance to decompress and take in what we’d accomplished as a team throughout the course. With new friendships forged and my second time in the mountains of Colorado, I not only look forward to getting back to Colorado, but to also train with Haley Strategic again!

Notes and Equipment

Throughout the course we had the unique ability to try out some great products from other industry professionals. Arc’Teryx not only provided the climbing harnesses we utilized on the FTX, but also provided the clothing from their LEAF line I wore for the better part of the Disruptive Environments course. I’ve been T&E’ing a pair of Arc’Teryx Sphinx Pants, Alpha LT Jacket and Atom LT Jacket since the GORUCK Ascent in Colorado and the items provided the durability and warmth I needed in the mountains.

HSGI provided their AO Small Chest Rig to everyone to utilize during the FTX and I liked the fit and function of it and their included TACO pouches! Corbon Ammunition provide the live rounds we utilized during day one and UTM provided the non-lethal life fire training rounds and protective equipment utilized on day two. Bravo Company Manufacturing, Aimpoint, Surefire and Impact Weapons Components provided the weapons, optics and mounting solutions utilized in live-fire and force-on-force training portions.

The videos in this article were also filmed entirely on a Contour GPS Camera that we’ve had access to since the GORUCK Ascent and it continues to impress. Look for more on the Contour GPS and Arc’Teryx LEAF clothing in an upcoming article on the gear of the GORUCK Ascent.

bryan black and a member of the haley strategic partners team

bryans clothing and gear

students in the haley strategic class

I’d highly suggest looking into future Haley Strategic classes for your training needs. Travis and the HSP crew are on my short list of go-to instructors that provide a real-world curriculum that can be utilized in your everyday life. I appreciate the opportunity to have been offered a slot in the course and to continue to train in situations that stress the importance of overcoming adversity through being adaptive and increasing survivability.

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Discussion

27 comments
Sahil
Sahil

Bryan -

Awesome post and review, thanks for sharing your experience. I won't lie and say I'm not very jealous of this opportunity to meet and train with a growing legend like Travis Haley. Thanks!

Sahil
Sahil

Bryan - Awesome post and review, thanks for sharing your experience. I won't lie and say I'm not very jealous of this opportunity to meet and train with a growing legend like Travis Haley. Thanks!

mike catanese
mike catanese

Hey Brian, its mike from montrose signs the website looks awsome hope everythings going well

Sam Cro
Sam Cro

Bryan,

Great review. We are all glad that you and everyone else had fun and also learned a lot. Looking forward to see you at the next course!

Take care!

Kimi Jong Ray (N. Korean trigger man)

Sam Cro
Sam Cro

Bryan, Great review. We are all glad that you and everyone else had fun and also learned a lot. Looking forward to see you at the next course! Take care! Kimi Jong Ray (N. Korean trigger man)

Michael Honeycutt
Michael Honeycutt

Bryan,

As always- A great review and truly informative. If you do not mind...what kind of harness is that you are wearing? The one that looks like hypalon connectors with slots in the material (at the attachment points)

Always look forward to your reviews and writings. Thanks again!

Michael Honeycutt
Michael Honeycutt

Bryan, As always- A great review and truly informative. If you do not mind...what kind of harness is that you are wearing? The one that looks like hypalon connectors with slots in the material (at the attachment points) Always look forward to your reviews and writings. Thanks again!

painisprogress
painisprogress

Looks like a high speed course. Lots of "dynamic thinking". Well done by Travis. A lot of people think training up is all about putting round on top of round only. That is a given at a certain level. This course looks to help develop the combat thought process which is something that is hard to cultivate. This course looks to be very well thought out and if industry guys are going to it, I can't wait to see some of the gear produced as an end result.

Bryan, couldn't help but notice your war stick setup is almost identical to mine. I run a T-1, and a TLR-1 at the front on a DD 11 o' clock rail. Looks identical to yours. Great minds think alike? Haha.

painisprogress
painisprogress

Looks like a high speed course. Lots of "dynamic thinking". Well done by Travis. A lot of people think training up is all about putting round on top of round only. That is a given at a certain level. This course looks to help develop the combat thought process which is something that is hard to cultivate. This course looks to be very well thought out and if industry guys are going to it, I can't wait to see some of the gear produced as an end result. Bryan, couldn't help but notice your war stick setup is almost identical to mine. I run a T-1, and a TLR-1 at the front on a DD 11 o' clock rail. Looks identical to yours. Great minds think alike? Haha.

Gene Higdon
Gene Higdon

Amazing review Bryan. Almost put me back at D3 again. It was a wealth of knowledge taught by not only all the professionals whom hosted this event, but from everyone there as Industry Partners as well. I don't get out of my cave very much as it is, however I have my bags packed and ready to go on the next events. Great job on the AAR and to all those whom have become my new friends.

Gene @ HSGI

Gene Higdon
Gene Higdon

Amazing review Bryan. Almost put me back at D3 again. It was a wealth of knowledge taught by not only all the professionals whom hosted this event, but from everyone there as Industry Partners as well. I don't get out of my cave very much as it is, however I have my bags packed and ready to go on the next events. Great job on the AAR and to all those whom have become my new friends. Gene @ HSGI

yaya
yaya

great post on disruptive environments,

check this one out

www.borderlandbeat.com/2011/04/mexican-narco-traffickers-revealation.html

you never know whos side anyone is on.

yaya
yaya

great post on disruptive environments, check this one out www.borderlandbeat.com/2011/04/mexican-narco-traffickers-revealation.html you never know whos side anyone is on.

Jason Stopper
Jason Stopper

Great post and AAR. The Contour camera looks great. Definitely excited about HSP and their training. Are you going to do anymore training with SCG International? Thanks for the great AAR and pics/video!

Matt Sampson
Matt Sampson

Bryan, that was an outstanding write up! From the pictures to the video to your description of events, this sounds like a fantastic training experience. I am looking forward to hearing more about and from this new company. Their training deserves a more thorough review, and will definitely get one from this end. Superb.

Markus Jenny
Markus Jenny

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Great write-up!!!

Especially us from over the pond appreciate it!

Markus

Markus Jenny
Markus Jenny

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Great write-up!!! Especially us from over the pond appreciate it! Markus

Jon Chang
Jon Chang

Disruptive Environments is restricted to military, LEO and government contractors only. Each class is customized to a specific unit or agency needs, building specific scenarios and exercises around specific group needs.

D. Hide
D. Hide

Superb write-up, Bryan! The pictures couldn't have been more perfect, and the video shot with the Contour was amazing. I am more than impressed. As for the course itself, it sounds like my kinda scene. The close calls you experienced were as close as they could be, and that may be disconcerting to some, but to folks like me (and of course, yourself), it's exactly what we're looking for.

I'm keeping an eye on these guys for the future, as well. This is another must-experience, it seems.

-DH

D. Hide
D. Hide

Superb write-up, Bryan! The pictures couldn't have been more perfect, and the video shot with the Contour was amazing. I am more than impressed. As for the course itself, it sounds like my kinda scene. The close calls you experienced were as close as they could be, and that may be disconcerting to some, but to folks like me (and of course, yourself), it's exactly what we're looking for. I'm keeping an eye on these guys for the future, as well. This is another must-experience, it seems. -DH

flyahawk
flyahawk

I just went to their website looking for this course. Is it one of the military and law enforcement only? Is that what closed course means?

Eric S.
Eric S.

Looks like a great time.

Brannon LeBouef
Brannon LeBouef

Great review Bryan! That was a very unique experience, and we are certainly planning more.

Uri
Uri

Great post Bryan!

Bryan Black
Bryan Black

Hey Mike! Glad you stopped by and thanks for the kind words! Can't wait to visit Montrose again!

painisprogress
painisprogress

FYI Gene, I've rocked the same weesatch in the sandbox since 06. You guys make solid gear.

3-1A
3-1A

wow nice to see how clean everyone is must be some real highspeeds...... BBK, AFGH....

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