General organization of the Free Militia

"For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes." A Roman Centurion talking to Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:9)

"I voluntarily join the Free Militia, and I agree to obey its commanders to the extent that my conscience allows for the duration of my service in the Militia." From the Oath of Office for the Free Militia

2.3.1 The cell structure

In any military organization, there needs to be a clear chain of command to insure effective coordination of smaller units. At the same time, units must be capable of responding to the immediate circumstances without having to ask higher authorities for permission to "go to the bathroom." A good example of a sound balance between these ideas was demonstrated by the U.S. Marines during World War II. The discipline and obedience to authority in the Marine Corps is well known. Yet the Marines retained a degree of initiative and individuality not found in many foreign counterparts, due to their American heritage. An isolated Japanese soldier was not a great threat in the Pacific Theater because he was incapable of functioning without orders. Yet isolated Marines could still be quite effective, cunning, and ingenious in harassing the enemy, by improvising.

Obviously, this kind of loyalty to authority but capability to respond individually is essential to the Free Militia. However, the necessity for personal and small-group freedom and initiative is compounded by several factors. First, the potential enemy may be superior in numbers, meaning that Militia units could be cut off and isolated from other units. Second, the potential enemy will probably be technologically superior, either eavesdropping on or jamming our communications, leading to a different kind of isolation. Third, Free Militia commanders of necessity will have some public exposure as a result of living their private lives.

Even with wise precautions, this endangers command elements by exposing them to possible arrest or attack leading to "decapitation" of combat elements. In any of these situations, combat units of the Free Militia must be capable of carrying on the fight without support from above or beside.

The fundamental rule guiding the organization of the Free Militia is centralized principles and planning but decentralized tactics and action.

What is meant by this key statement is that the whole Militia must be committed to the same cause and coordinated in their joint defense of the community. Thus, there must be allegiance to a higher command. But specific tactics should be left up to the individual elements so that the compromise of a part does not compromise the whole. Furthermore, all training and combat actions should be up to the smaller elements, again so that isolation or decapitation does not render the smaller units inept.

The way a balance between these competing concerns is achieved in the Free Militia is to organize all elements into "cells."

A cell is a group of eight men who train and work together to accomplish a particular goal or task important to the broader purposes of the Militia.

We use the term "cell," because a cell is the basic building block in any living organism. Just as all life, growth and reproduction is based on living cells, all Militia "life" is centered around its cells. The identities of cell members are known only within the cell and by their immediate superior. All basic training is done within a cell. all codes, passwords and telephone networks are determined by and held in confidence within the cell. All fortified positions are determined, prepared and concealed by the cell. All combat orders are executed by the cell as the cell sees fit within its own context. So the Free Militia is its cells.

Why the cell structure?

Military operations must depend on teamwork. But the teams that comprise the larger organization must be small for several reasons:

  • The small size facilitates camaraderie. For the most part, the men who train, work and fight together in a cell will stick together and the cell will remain intact, even though the cell as a whole may be transferred from unit to unit. This will develop personal closeness, trust and loyalty among its members that is critical to effectiveness.
  • The small size allows for personalized training. By knowing and having frequent personal contact with each member, a cell leader can train each man at his level and pace simultaneously with developing a strong cohesiveness among the team.
  • The small size is conducive to secrecy. Since each man knows and trusts everyone else in his group, they can communicate freely and openly while shrouding the particulars of their tactics, positions and signals to everyone outside the group.
  • The small size means manageable communication and coordination. The cell leader easily conveys clear orders to a small group of men. The higher command elements can give orders to the whole Militia through the chain of command without direct contact with the individual soldier.

Why eight men?

Cells ideally consist of eight men (plus or including their leader), because eight men can effectively and independently accomplish a wide range of military tasks, whether defensive or offensive, rural or urban.

  • Rural defense. Eight men can occupy four two-man foxholes. With four foxholes, all four directions to a position can be covered. With two men in each foxhole, morale is increased in combat due to a buddy system and each approach remains covered even when some casualties are sustained.
  • Urban defense. Eight men can occupy a house or small building. Again, all four sides of the house can be covered by two men, allowing for good morale under stress and the integrity of defenses when a casualty is sustained.
  • Rural offense. Eight men can form an eight-man patrol. A very effective combat or reconnaissance patrol formation is the diamond- shaped patrol. Two men take the point, two are at each flank and two are in the rear. At each corner, one observes the ground and the other for tree snipers. This maintains all-around security as the patrol moves in formation.
  • Urban offense. Eight men make an effective house assault team. While four men give suppression fire, the other four can advance on and enter a house or small building. Once inside, two men may enter and clear rooms while the other two provide security in the hallway or open areas.

2.3.2 Diversification of cells

While the cell is the basic building block of the Free Militia, there is, of necessity, diversity among the cells just as there is in the human body. One kind of diversity is found in a cell's specialty. For instance, although each combat cell receives basic training for general tasks, each one emphasizes and perfects particular skills needed for different scenarios. (The range of these specialties must remain confidential until you formally join the Free Militia.)

A second kind of diversity is found in the function for which the particular cell is designed. There are four types or functions of cells in the Free Militia: (1) command, (2) combat, (3) support, and (4) communique.

Putting it in human terms, some cells in the human body serve the function of a muscle while others form bones, skin and organs. But among those cells dedicated to making muscles, some are specialized as arm muscles, some as leg muscles and others as chest muscles. They do basically the same thing but in somewhat different ways and different places. So, also, Free Militia cells may function in four different ways and specialize in several ways within their function.

Again, there are four types or functions of cells in the Free Militia: (1) command, (2) combat, (3) support, and (4) communique.

  • Command cells. Command cells consist of the leadership of the Free Militia and provide the plans and orders to be implemented or carried out by all other elements. As a headquarters unit, they include their own minimal combat element for self-defense and move frequently to undisclosed locations, often secret even to other command cells. They provide training for future cell and platoon leaders. They are the "mind" of the Free Militia.
  • Combat cells. Combat cells provide the patrolling and fighting capability of the Free Militia. Each cell consists of about eight able-bodied "minutemen" with its own leader, communications, rendezvous points, staging areas, and standing orders. They execute the orders of their command cells and do all their own training within the combat cell itself. They are the "arms" of the Free Militia.
  • Support cells. Support cells consist of sympathetic men and/or women who are unable, unwilling, or ill-equipped for combat. Their task is to provide whatever non-combatant support is needed by the combat cells. Supply cells acquire ammunition and provisions for other cells. Medical cells set up aid stations for companies and/or battalions. Vehicle maintenance, messengers, construction, etc. are provided by support cells. They are the "arteries" of the Free Militia.
  • Communique cells. Communique cells consist of bright, capable, and convincing men and women who communicate with and influence the public. Their duties include rhetoric to and fostering resistance, reconnaissance and recruiting among the community. They are the "mouth" of the Free Militia.

2.3.3 Companies organized by cells

The cell is the smallest unit of organization within the Free Militia. All larger units consist of cells organized together under the same command. For instance, four cells comprise a platoon and are led by a lieutenant. Four platoons comprise a company and are led by a captain. This system is illustrated in the following organizational chart.

This chart shows the ideal strengths and organization of units. While all units must be organized into cells, the number of men in any particular cell or platoon may be more or less than the ideal, depending on how many men have joined the Free Militia at any point in time. Indeed, whenever a new militia is established, it is very unlikely that it will have the strength of a company or even of a platoon. Perhaps only one cell will exist at first. As new recruits join up, seasoned men will be promoted and new cells formed. Eventually platoons, companies, or even battalions (four companies), will form.

Assuming that a full company has developed, the manpower and ranks within the company would break down as follows:

Description of personnel


Number of men

Company leader




Company cell leaders




Company cell personnel


28 (7/cell*)

32 (8/cell)

Combat platoon leaders




Combat cell leaders




Combat cell minutemen


112 (7/cell*)

128 (8/cell)

Total company personnel



* This assumes that the cell sergeant makes the 8th man of the cell.

Explanation of company organization

Combat elements

  • The command cell is the "mind" of the company. Its responsibilities include:
    • Dissemination of constitutional principles and the ideology of the Free Militia to its rank and file members within the combat cells.
    • Development and dissemination of training materials and methods to be used within the individual combat cells.
    • Development and security of tactical (as well as strategic if this is the highest level of command)contingency plans for implementation by the combat cells when the need arises.
    • Coordination of the various combat, supply and medical cells during actual combat.
    • If this is the highest level of command, guide the development and operation of communique cells within the community.
  • Within the command cell (company headquarters) the company's second in command oversees the radio and intelligence unit. The radio team maintains contact with the platoon leaders. The mapping team registers the positions and movements of friendly and enemy forces. The intelligence team gathers and distributes information received from civilian spotters, observers and so on.
  • The company's third in command oversees the security cell for company headquarters. This unit provides the mobile self-defense capability for the company command post. It is also a pool of promising men who are trained and groomed to lead their own combat cells or platoons whenever there is a large influx of fresh recruits that the existing combat cells cannot absorb.
  • All basic training is done within and by the combat cells with oversight from their platoon lieutenant. This includes training in ideology, individual combat skills and team combat skills. Particular orders or instructions are conveyed through the chain of command and are carried out by the combat cells. In the event the combat cell is isolated from the main group, it is designed to continue to fight on its own, using guerilla tactics.

Non-combatant elements

  • The supply cell supports the company by procuring and delivering needed equipment and supplies. They may also be used as messengers between the command and combat units in certain circumstances.
  • The medical cell supports combat operations by setting up a combat aid station to receive and care for wounded in the event of combat.
  • Communique cells will be isolated and independent of combat companies. It will be the responsibility of the "high command" to develop and control these units. They will serve as the liaison with the civilian population of our community.

2.3.4 Lines and limits of authority

The chain of command

To avoid complication, the Free Militia does away with "sub-ranks" or ranks within ranks. Thus, there are not privates and privates first class, just privates. There are no first and second lieutenants, just lieutenants. There are no lieutenant colonels and colonels, just colonels.

Militia Rank

Militia Role

Unit Commanded

Men Commanded


















Platoon leader




Cell Leader











* A corporal does not lead a particular group. Instead, he is from time to time assigned a part of
the cell by the cell leader when it is necessary to split up the cell's assigned duties or location.

Promotions are made by superior officers. Any officer may promote men in his unit from two levels to one level of rank below him, provided there is a genuine leadership need for the promotion. Thus a sergeant may select one of his privates to be his corporal and a new captain may promote as many sergeants to lieutenants as he needs to command platoons.

Who do you know?

On one hand, there must be the ability to communicate and coordinate within the Free Militia. This capability must be maintained even when individual leaders are arrested or become casualties. On the other hand, there must be some insulation and isolation among elements of the Free Militia so that one part being compromised will not compromise the whole. Both needs are maintained with one relatively simple principle:

In the Free Militia, your contact and exposure to other members will be limited to direct lines of command and two levels of rank above and below.

You do not need to know your superior's peers since they have no authority over you. Nor do you need to know your own peers in other cells. You do, however, need to know your superior's superior for the following reasons:

  • If your superior is somehow eliminated, your contact with the rest of the Free Militia is preserved through your acquaintance with his superior.
  • If your superior requires discipline, you must know his superior so you can see to it that higher command will address the problem.
  • If your superior must be demoted or discharged, your superior's superior will know who will need to be reassigned to other elements.

Thus you must only have contact with those in two levels of direct authority above and below you.

  • Example #1: A cell member will know his cell, his sergeant and his sergeant's lieutenant.
  • Example #2: A cell sergeant will know his cell, his lieutenant and his captain.
  • Example #3: A platoon lieutenant will know all his cells, his four sergeants, his captain and his major.
  • Example #4: A company captain will know his cell sergeants, his lieutenants, his major and his colonel.

This does not mean that you will never have contact with others in the Free Militia. Perhaps you have served with some of them in the same cell before advancing in rank. Or perhaps you will perform joint maneuvers with them. But you will not normally have regular exposure to them.

With this structure, two entire echelons of officers would have to be wiped out to sever ties between cells and the high command. At the same time, an entire echelon of officers (for instance, all lieutenants) would have to be captured and "spill their guts" in order to compromise the entire organization. If we keep a low profile and keep ourselves spread out, this will be virtually impossible for the potential enemy to do.

Who do you answer to?

Related to who you know is who you must answer to. Clearly, you must obey superior officers. Obviously, you can only obey superior officers you know. However, it is possible that you will know several superior officers through previous service in the same cell or joint maneuvers. What do you do when two lieutenants tell you to do two different things?

In the Free Militia, you are only responsible to obey those of superior rank who are in direct line of authority over you in the chain of command.

For instance, you are only answerable to your particular cell leader and no other cell leader; to your lieutenant and no other; to your captain and no other. If two superiors tell you two different things, respectfully ignore the one that has no direct authority, even if he has a higher rank. If both have direct authority over you, obey the one higher in rank.

The limits of authority

Assuming that orders come from a superior officer who is in the direct line of command above you, you are expected and required to obey them in all matters pertaining to:

  • Organization. You may request a transfer to a different cell or unit,but it is the final decision of your leaders where you will serve.
  • Secrecy. You are never allowed to violate printed or verbal orders concerning secrecy and security within the Free Militia.
  • Training. It is up to your leaders to determine what methods of training will be done, when, how, where and what you will train for.
  • Combat. In the heat of combat, you must obey your leaders immediately when they issue a directive to move, shoot, or attack certain targets.
  • Tactics. You cannot change or reinterpret general tactics or specific field orders in the Free Militia. You are on a team, not a loner.

Basically, you are obliged to obey any order pertaining to preparations for or conduct in actual combat regardless of how you like or "feel" about it.

You are not expected to obey your superiors concerning how you lead your private life, except as it affects your ability to serve in the Militia. Nor are you expected to obey your superiors when they order you to do something immoral (like shooting unarmed women and children) or unconstitutional (like shooting a criminal without a civil trial). And, of course, you may freely make recommendations to your leader when time permits. But when an order is issued, your own personal preferences and desires are immaterial. You must simply obey.

Discipline in the Free Militia

You will never be punished for failure in the Free Militia. You may have to endure further instruction or more training. But you will not be belittled or humiliated for failures assuming you gave it your best effort.

You will, however, be disciplined for defiance or disobedience. We do not, as a private Militia, have the right or authority to imprison or physically harm you (that is reserved for the civil court system). We do, however, have the authority to undo what we have the authority to do. We also have the authority to do what any citizen can do. Therefore, your superior officers have a range of possibilities at their disposal for disciplining your behavior as they see fit:

  • Reprimand either privately or openly in front of your whole unit.
  • Demotion in rank and removal from command over some or all troops.
  • Fines imposed to make restitution for material (not punitive) damages.
  • Discharge entirely from the Free Militia with no further support.
  • Arrest by the local police if you commit a crime and we turn you over.

2.3.5 Discussion questions

Have you had any previous military or law enforcement training or experience? If so, please describe.

Have you ever had any leadership training or experience like starting you own business, supervising a group of workers, holding a political office or church leadership? If so, please describe.

What types of occupational or job experience have you had? Which type(s) of work do you like doing the most? Are you most proficient at?

In your own words, please describe what a cell is. Why is it so important that we be organized into semi-independent cells?

Do you have any questions about the general organization of the Free Militia?

The Romans often advanced on their enemy with their rectangular shields side-by-side, forming a moving, protective wall. With swords or javelins protruding this wall of shields, the Romans were virtually invincible as long as they stayed together. But if they would break ranks, they would expose themselves to attack, death and defeat. If you were a Roman soldier, would you be more likely to survive if you obeyed a "stupid" order along with everyone else, sowed discord and division among the other troops, or individually followed a "wiser" course of action like attacking a flank? Why?

Why is it better for you today to obey less than ideal orders as a group instead of doing the ideal thing individually?

In your own words describe when you must obey your immediate superior. Describe when you must not obey your immediate superior. In your own words, describe which leaders in the Free Militia you must obey and which leaders you should not obey.

Personal questions Do you have either amateur or trained skills in any of the following areas?




Martial arts/fencing/boxing


Physical education/coaching


First aid/CPR/medic/nursing


Automobile mechanics






Radio operation/repairs


Telephone operation/repairs


Private investigation


Mail or package delivery




Commercial art/graphics




Public office or law


Main ideas of this section

The fundamental rule guiding the organization of the Free Militia is centralized principles and planning but decentralized tactics and action.

A cell is a group of eight men who train and work together to accomplish a particular goal or task important to the broader purposes of the Militia.

In the Free Militia, your contact and exposure to other members will be limited to direct lines of command and two levels of rank above and below.

In the Free Militia, you are only responsible to obey those of superior rank who are in direct line of authority over you in the chain of command.

Basically, you are obliged to obey any order pertaining to preparations for or conduct in actual combat regardless of how you like or "feel" about it.


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