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Jack Carr: Our enemies are combining the lessons they have learned from studying us.

About the author

Jack Carr is a former Navy SEAL who led special operations teams as a Team Leader, Platoon Commander, Troop Commander and Task Unit Commander. He is author of four New York Times Bestseller List novels: The Terminal List, True Believer, Savage Son, and The Devil’s Hand.

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I asked the question, “What have our enemies learned from us over the past twenty years at war?”

The Interview

After a long career as a Navy SEAL, author Jack Carr turned to write thrillers.

Just as he did in his military career, he uses this platform to explore the present and future dangers that we face as a country and as a world.

The fourth book in his Terminal List series, The Devil’s Hand, follows former Navy SEAL James Reece on a top CIA mission of retribution.

Jack Carr’s next novel, “In the Blood,” will be out 17. May 2022.

For this interview Jack Carr sat down with Thomas Lojek to talk about his last novel, The Devil’s Hand, today’s battlefields, and how to survive worst-case scenarios.

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Our enemies applied those lessons to future battleplans

Thomas Lojek: Can you summarize the idea behind your latest novel, The Devil’s Hand?

Jack Carr: For The Devil’s Hand, I asked the question, “What has Iran, China, North Korea, Russia, terrorist organizations, and/or superpowered individuals learned from us over the past twenty years at war, and what have they incorporated into their future battle plans?”

We’ve been playing poker in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and other hot spots around the world while they have had the benefit of looking at our cards and watching how we play those cards.

What lessons have they learned, and how have they applied those lessons to future battleplans?

I thought about those questions as a SEAL, and today, I think about those questions as an author and a citizen.

My latest novel, The Devil’s Hand, is centered around those questions.

I outlined The Devil’s Hand in August 2019, and I used a bioweapon as a catalyst to move the story forward.

I had no idea that we would be in the middle of a pandemic six months later.

The theme of my novel became a lot more timely than I initially anticipated; our enemy is learning from more than our actions on foreign battlefields.

They are learning from our response to COVID.

They are learning from the civil unrest that swept our cities over the summer of 2020, and they are learning from what was an extremely contentious political season and election cycle that highlighted deep divisions within the populace.

The enemy is looking at all these things with more than passing interest.

They are taking notes at every opportunity on how to exploit these domestic conditions for their potential gain in a future confrontation.

Our enemies are combining the lessons they have learned from studying us over the past twenty years at war with the lessons of 2020.

We have given them a lot to work with.

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The last years should have taught us a few lessons about personal accountability

Thomas Lojek: How can we counter these efforts of our enemies to exploit our weakness?

Jack Carr: We have to recognize that society is fragile.

That should be one of our biggest lessons from 2020 to 2022.

We have become comfortable assuming that there will always be food in the grocery store, that there will always be somebody at the other end of the line when we call 911 to dispatch police, fire, or EMS, and that there will always be someone on duty who will fix a power outage when the lights go out.

Those are luxuries and comforts that have been absent for most of the human experience.

The last years should have taught us a few lessons about personal accountability, that we have a responsibility to ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities to be prepared.

That does not mean running around in a constant state of paranoia. Rather, it means that you need a couple of basic skills, a few tools, and some forethought/ common sense to deal with adversity when things go south.

Whose responsibility is it to protect yourself and your family and to provide for them?

If you remember feeling ill-prepared for the tests of 2020, then it is time to take action.

Food, water, a water filter, fire extinguishers, ways to make fire, a trauma kit (and training on how to use it), some combination of firearms that you have trained with, perhaps a generator, and a few months of finances set aside will allow you to focus your bandwidth on the problem set at hand, rather than having to allocate that bandwidth on the basics necessary for survival.

The goal is to PREVAIL, not just survive, and if you have put thought into the basics ahead of time, you can focus on prevailing and not just surviving.

I’d probably choose an AR platform

Thomas Lojek: Let’s talk about an end-of-the-world scenario.

Zombie apocalypse, nuclear war, EMP, or just the end of civilization as we know it.

It happens overnight.

What will you carry the next morning when you step out of the door?

Jack Carr: I am a big fan of choices, and luckily I have a few options these days.

With that being said, I’d probably choose an AR platform because I have spent so much time over the years training with it.

An AR is something I am quite comfortable with.

Thomas Lojek: Any specific platform?

Jack Carr: Well, maybe that would be my biggest problem because I have so many.

So, the challenge in this situation might be to choose only one.

I have a couple from Bravo Company, Daniel Defense, SIG, and a few others.

Like I said, I’m a fan of choices.

Each rifle needs a light, a sling, and some sort of an optic with backup irons.

Some of mine are set up with Aimpoint Micros and others with Nightforce or Leupold glass.

It would be nice to have a suppressor, too.

I have a few inbound from Dead Air Silencers.

Competency with a firearm can be used to defend your family and provide food

Thomas Lojek: Do you think in a world of cyberattacks, pandemics, information wars, it still makes sense to spend a lot of time, money, and energy on shooting training?

Shouldn’t we start to diversify and move time and money into other skills, like survival, medic, chemistry, maybe coding, hunting… skills that will help you survive a bioweapon attack instead of a shootout?

Jack Carr: Shooting is a fundamental skill.

You have to know how to shoot effectively as competency with a firearm can be used to defend your family and provide food.

But you are right. That is just one skill set.

In addition, survival skills, medical skills, mobility skills, and fitness are important.

I am quite fortunate that Mike Glover’s Fieldcraft Survival is located right down the road from me in Heber, Utah; they offer courses in all these different disciplines.

In courses with Fieldcraft Survival, or Thunder Ranch, or SIG Academy, you will meet interesting people and make new friends.

I always learn something new from people in these courses.

They draw citizens who have recognized the importance of building up skillsets that allow them to be more self-reliant, putting them in the asset category rather than the liability category.

You want to be an asset to your family, community, and country, not a liability.

We have to take the lessons from the past and apply them going forward

Thomas Lojek: In the world of cyberwarfare, bioweapons, information wars… What role will Special Operations have in this world?

Will it still be justified to spend millions of dollars to create and train highly specialized soldiers when troll farms and hackers can burn a city literally down with a few kilobytes of false information?

Jack Carr: We have to take the lessons from the past and apply them going forward – that’s called wisdom, something in which we are often deficient as we tend to think in terms of four-year election cycles.

We certainly need to devote considerable efforts and energies on building up a force focused on cyberwarfare and the connected emerging threats in that space.

But, I think you will always need those special operators standing ready to go downrange at the tip of the spear.

Unconventional warfare, special reconnaissance, direct action, foreign internal defense, counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, hostage rescue…

… these missions will always need the special operator; constantly training, continually honing the edge, always ready for the call…

… Break glass in case of war.

The Devil’s Hand was published in April of 2021.

Jack Carr’s new novel will be out 17. May 2022

This article was published first in:

The Operator

Special Edition February 2022: Tactical Training

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