The Rules

  • Rule 1: Always have an escape plan
  • Rule 2: Never get caught.
  • Rule 3: Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Rule 4: Always have a backup plan.
  • Rule 5: Assumption is the mother of all fuckups.
  • Rule 6: Trust your gut.
  • Rule 7: Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility.
  • Rule 8: KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.
  • Rule 9: The solution is in the problem.
  • Rule 10: Don't become predictable.
  • Rule 11: Never take the elevator.
  • Rule 12: Act, don’t react.

While this rules are sometimes serious, sometimes anecdotal and some others metaphorical, we are in the process of writing a new book that will contain a very serious set of guidelines. Here's the list.


All the Rules

Here's the complete list of rules. The list was getting too long, so I simplified it in the 12 rules above.

  • Rule 0: Always double-tap
  • Rule 1: Always have an escape plan.
  • Rule 2: Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Rule 3: Assumption is the mother of all fuckups.
  • Rule 4: Always have a backup plan.
  • Rule 5: Never get caught.
  • Rule 6: Keep your mouth shut.
  • Rule 7: KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.
  • Rule 8: 7 Ps: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
  • Rule 9: Plan, execute and vanish.
  • Rule 10: Always invest in good quality.
  • Rule 11: Trust your gut.
  • Rule 12: Always carry a knife.
  • Rule 13: Do one thing at a time.
  • Rule 14: Pick your battles…
  • Rule 15: Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility.
  • Rule 16: Target dictates the weapon and the weapon dictates the movement. ("Mack" Machowicz)
  • Rule 17: Use ACTE: assess the situation; create a simple plan; take action and evaluate your progress. ("Mack" Machowicz)
  • Rule 18: Don’t believe what you’re told. Double check.
  • Rule 19: Hide in plain sight. Blend in.
  • Rule 20: Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.
  • Rule 21: The more sophisticated the technology the more vulnerable it is to primitive attacks. People often overlook the obvious.
  • Rule 22: If you’re happy with your security, so are the bad guys.
  • Rule 23: “Bad guys attack, and good guys react” is not a viable security strategy.
  • Rule 24: An adversary is most vulnerable to detection and disruption just prior to an attack.
  • Rule 25: Low-tech attacks work (even against high-tech devices and systems).
  • Rule 26: Never mess with a man’s coffee.
  • Rule 27: Don’t spend time trying to move your opponent, just move yourself.
  • Rule 28: The quality of your friends always matters more than the quantity.
  • Rule 29: Always provide correction in private and praise in public.
  • Rule 30: Opening the door for a lady is not optional.
  • Rule 31: You can do big things with a small team.
  • Rule 32: Don’t go into debt.
  • Rule 33: Do not publish your life online, keep your life private.
  • Rule 34: The GORUCK Rule - Under promise and over deliver.
  • Rule 35: Progress comes to those who train and train; reliance on secret techniques will get you nowhere. (Morihei Ueshiba)
  • Rule 36: You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain. (Miyamoto Musashi)
  • Rule 37: To know ten thousand things, know one well. (Musashi)
  • Rule 38: You are what you do when it counts.
  • Rule 39: If you think it was too easy, it was a trap. Look for jumping guards coming from the sides.
  • Rule 40: The bad guys don’t obey our security policies.
  • Rule 41: If there’s a question about if it’s necessary, remove it. Less is more and more is lazy. (Jason McCarthy, GORUCK founder)
  • Rule 42: Once is an accident. Twice is coincidence. Three times is an enemy action.
  • Rule 43: Never do the same thing twice.
  • Rule 44: Always take care of your team first, then your gear and finally yourself.
  • Rule 45: Check the crowd: who is staring at you, who is all the sudden silent when you enter.
  • Rule 46: Always sit with your back to the wall, even when there are mirrors you can use.
  • Rule 47: Never take the elevator.
  • Rule 48: The solution is in the problem.
  • Rule 49: Fail to Red Team and everything will go according to plan—right up to the point it doesn't. (Red Team Journal)
  • Rule 50: If it's stupid but works, it isn't stupid.
  • Rule 51: Don’t play by the rules.
  • Rule 52: Don’t become predictable.
  • Rule 53: Our fucks are our fucks alone to give. (Patrick Rhone)
  • Rule 54: Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
  • Rule 55: Act, don’t react.
  • Rule 56: Shitty situations inspire brilliant solutions.
  • Rule 57: Establish baselines. Look for anomalies. Have a plan.
  • Rule 58: If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.
  • Rule 59: Expectations = Disappointment. Don't expect anything.
  • Rule 60: You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.
  • Rule 61: Understand. Anticipate. Adapt. (Red Team Journal)
  • Rule 62: Real attackers will make you patch your people.
  • Rule 63: First you check, then you double-check. Finally you commit.
  • Rule 64: He who angers you conquers you.
  • Rule 65: Find a way to succeed.
  • Rule 66: Clap only when you are impressed.
  • Rule 67: Once is an accident, twice is... Huh… No, I don't believe in coincidences. Twice is enemy action. (overwrites Rule 42).
  • Rule 68: Add things until it starts sucking, take things away until it stops getting better. (Frank Chimero)
  • Rule 69: GLBYS: Gary, look before you sit.
  • Rule 70: If you can't be smart, you better be strong.

The 3 Plans - Rule 1 extension

  1. Always have a plan.
  2. Always have a back-up plan, because the first one probably won’t work.
  3. Always have an escape plan because all the rest of the plans will fail.

Remember PACE: Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency.


History

I've compiled these rules during many years in the military, in less than permissive environments, and while playing hard in the mountains. Maybe as a guide for the long run.
Initially they were only 12 rules, the Original 12 as I call them. I took concepts and ideas that I learned and simplified them. I also borrowed from other people that passed knowledge to me and incorporated them into the rules. It all started with a half-joke comment: When in doubt, Red Team it.

Based on the idea behind the Moscow Rules, the Original 12 lasted a few years, then I started adding more as I became older and gained experience.

The original 12 rules

  • Rule 1: Always have an escape plan
  • Rule 2: Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Rule 3: Assumption is the mother of all fuckups.
  • Rule 4: Always have a backup plan.
  • Rule 5: Never get caught.
  • Rule 6: Keep your mouth shut.
  • Rule 7: KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.
  • Rule 8: Simple and light equals freedom, agility and mobility.
  • Rule 9: Plan, execute and vanish.
  • Rule 10: You don’t have to like it-you just have to do it.
  • Rule 11: Always invest in good quality stuff.
  • Rule 12: Trust your gut.

Continue reading

Well, start by rading the not so family friendly 40 Fucking Principles. There are more direct and set a tone on less than permissive situations.

We are compiling also the Rules of Red Teaming, a more hands on set of rules that will become a guide. Still a work in progress.

Then check the links below.

The Moscow Rules
Red Team Journal: the Laws of Red Teaming
Five Principles
The Original 12 Explained
4 Rules For Managing Risk From A Decorated Force Recon Marine
The 3 Rules of Special Forces
Utilizing the SOF Truths in Business
Pete Blaber's Guiding Principles