About the author : Tom Buchino

Tom Buchino, Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Special Forces (Ret.). Tom is a decorated combat veteran with worldwide experience having served in multiple Special Forces Operational Groups, the Special Warfare Center and School, and a Counter-Drug Organization.

Tom Buchino: The only way to achieve an excelled level of tactical competency is to stressing and mastering the fundamentals. 

How to master the tactical fundamentals in SOF and specialized law enforcement

Thomas Lojek: Dear Tom, could you give our readers a brief introduction of yourself and your company?

Tom Buchino: I am a Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Special Forces (Ret.), with over 23 years of active duty services.

I started Tactical Ranch in 2010 and recruited a cadre of instructors from all aspects of the SOF arena and specialized law enforcement personnel.

Tactical Ranch operates in conjunction with Covenant Special Projects, LLC (CSP), a service disabled veteran owned and operated small business.

Tactical Ranch and CSP are specializing in elite risk mitigation advisory services and training for U.S. and allied nation governments, local, state, and federal agencies, and private customers.

CSP’s foundation in the U.S. Military Special Operations Forces (SOF) community provides a unique experience-base and specific skill-set which serve as a base for all our programs of instruction.

Thomas Lojek: In other words, your teaching methods come from real combat experience?

Tom Buchino: Yes, CSP’s cadre combat and trainer experience means you receive training by someone who has actually employed what they are instructing.

Our trainers hail from: U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets), U.S. Army Rangers, U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Air Force Para-Rescue, U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations and Elite Law Enforcement Officers.

CSP’s cadre are subject matter experts in their specific disciplines; all possessing the common goal to provide fundamentally-sound, relevant, best training and services to our customers.

You are training to execute CQB that works

Thomas Lojek: Many seasoned instructors are worried about the growing number of new and inexperienced instructors who rush into the market with “tacticool videos” but fundamental bad advice. Do you share these worries?

Tom Buchino: Yes, there are a lot of tactical training courses out there, now. Some good and some, well… you be the judge.

When I entered the commercial side of military, LE and civilian tactical / firearms training, I was fortunate to have many years experience of operating complex training and advisory operations worldwide as part of the Special Forces Regiment.

This served as a solid foundation and test-bed for developing training approaches.

Nothing like, not speaking the language of an assault team, you are training to execute CQB opns that work vs. all the flashy Hollywood TTP’s (techniques, tactics and procedures).

There are many awesome tactical instructors out there. Many I have had the privilege of serving with and training alongside, and I learn from all of them.

And then there are…

And then there are the “Youtube Sensations“. They produce great videos, employ social media to build a brand and show you in a one-minute clip their latest ninja skills. Great entertainment, I guess.

But my take on tactical applications training is simply based on my experience.

Experience in SF, experience in working globally, and experience in working with cops, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.

And I know the only way to achieve an excelled level of tactical competency is to stressing and mastering the fundamentals.

When you can perfectly execute the fundamentals under stress… Well, than you got something.

Master the fundamentals and you are well-trained

Thomas Lojek: Can you tell me more about your personal philosophy of tactical training?

Tom Buchino: I have a very simple but effective philosophy: There is no-such-thing as advanced tactics! Only perfect execution of the fundamentals under stress!

This is the main training philosophy of Covenant Special Projects and Tactical Ranch.

It’s all about the fundamentals! Master the fundamentals and you are well-trained to master any situation in real combat.

You can‘t control all parameters in the chaos of a real firefight.

But you can control how effectively you are in executing fundamental actions, that have been proven as reliable and effective in real combat.

I ensure my training cadre and security professionals adhere to it.

My approach and thankfully the approach of our trainers at CSP’s Tactical Ranch is 100% based in the fundamentals. Whether we are conducting a patrolling and small unit tactics course or a tactical carbine train up.

We concentrate on developing solid fundamentals that compliment and/or enhance the students prior knowledge and unit standard operating procedures (SOP’s).

We train for battle in every course

As we progress with our training, we induce differing stressors to serve in adding realism thus requiring the student/s to perform in a more challenging environment.

From physical fatigue faced during a stress shoot to mentally stressing teams during a night patrol. Or CQB training evolution that intentionally goes astray.

It is imperative to ensure students have a solid baseline in the fundamentals that they can rely on to accomplish the mission when faced with adversity.

We train for battle in every course. Battle — in my experience — is seldom perfect, never scripted and ever-changing.

If we can replicate this in our training, it only serves our students better.

Back when I was a Team SGT (A-team days), I used to say:

“You Plan on Paper and Execute In Dirt.”

This simply meant regardless of the best planing and rehearsals, you can bet the environment will change the minute contact is initiated.

This meant we had to maintain a fundamentally-based approach to everything we do.

GTI Magazine

This interview was published in GTI Magazine May 2020

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