Journal of Non-lethal Combatives,
The First Earth Battalion:
Dare to Think the Unthinkable,
Ideas and Ideals for Soldiers Everywhere
By Jim Channon
Copyright © 1979 Jim Channon, all rights
reserved. Reprinted by permission of Jim Channon. Introduction and
annotation by Joseph R. Svinth. Copyright © 2000, all rights reserved.
In 1979, the Peoples’ Republic of China publicly reported that
several thousand of its children aged 8-14 were capable of telepathy,
clairvoyance, X-ray vision, or psychokinesis. [EN1]
Having already heard about this program, the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA),
Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, and the US Army were simultaneously
pouring billions of dollars into their own similar research.
The Army program was headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, and was
part of the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). Leaders included
Generals Edmund Thompson and Albert Stubblebine, and Colonel John
Officers assigned to the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks,
contributed research to the project, and "The First Earth
Battalion" is essentially a textual copy of one group's unclassified
Although decidedly New Age, the War College project was not entirely
theoretical. Colonel Alexander, for example, went on to become a leader in
the Los Alamos National Lab's non-lethal weapons program. [EN3]
Likewise, during the early 1980s Special Forces hired Richard Strozzi
Heckler and other outside contractors to provide two A-teams, a total of
25 men, with training in biofeedback, aikido, and "mind-body
psychology." In the latter program, a typical training day included
running, swimming, "industrial-strength" calisthenics, and 1-1/2
hours of aikido practice. After six months, the soldiers were not aikido
masters but they were quantifiably 75% more physically fit than when they
During correspondence with the editor in January 2000, author Channon
had this to say:
The ideas circulated
by this mythical force [First Earth Battalion] began with combat of the
collective conscience… the principal that if any contest is viewed by
the television audience, it will be judged in the end on ethical
superiority. Thus cameras mounted on dune buggies. The Army War College
has the most exhaustive instructional materials on peacekeeping. All these
ideas were first represented by Earth Battalion thinkers and the manual
Channon's statement may sound hyperbolic, but if you substitute
"CNN" for "EARTH BATTALION satellite" in the following
document, then you have a good description of the United States military's
foreign policy of the 1990s. Likewise, if you think of the global
communication system Channon envisioned as the Internet, then it appears
that he had a pretty good idea of where ARPANET (the acronym for the
Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency's computer
network) was headed. Therefore, despite the hyperbole and New Age jargon,
Channon's crystal ball proved clearer than cynics probably expected.
And if nothing else, the following paper does suggest why drug testing
became common for all ranks during the mid-1980s.
TASK FORCE DELTA -- CONCEPT PAPER
Problem statement. Understanding that we must work through
people, how can our Army establish and maintain control of changing,
interdependent systems to maximize force readiness?
- Process of Influencing People.
- The Process of Control.
- The Dynamics of Change.
- The Nature of Interdependence.
- The Science of Systems.
- The Dynamics of Force Readiness.
Concept Paper Title: The First Earth Battalion.
Concept: Task Force Delta's effort needs the track of time. Just
as we maintain our perspective of the past and contact with the
complexities of the present, our "First Earth Battalion" is the
prime place to put thoughts of the future through a basic Army
Author: LTC James B. Channon
Sponsors: MAJ (P) [Promotable] M.M. Ischinger/COL D.M. Malone
The views expressed in this concept paper are those of the author(s)
and do not purport to reflect the positions or policies of the Department
of the Army or of the Department of Defense. Requests for additional
information or clarification regarding this concept paper should be
addressed to HQ TRADOC, ATTN: ATCG-SD, Ft. Monroe, VA 23651.
The track of time comes hurtling up out of the past, from somewhere
billions of years ago back in history. It flicks by us as we stand here
now in the present and then thrusts on for billions of years out ahead of
us, out into the future, bound for some place called infinity.
Two things we know about time:
its march is inexorable, inevitable, and pervasive
it always gives rise to change.
Change, then, is like time, inexorable, inevitable and pervasive -- and
so powerful and complex a thing that in just five billion years, change
has produced, from inorganic matter and countless millions of experiments,
complex living things such as social insects and mankind.
Any concept of change is a concept of time. Thus any concept of
change must involve past, present, and future. Task Force Delta's effort,
as a concept of change, needs the track of time… the lessons of history,
the realities of the present, and the dreams and visions of the future.
Our "First Earth Battalion" is a place to dream. A place to
think the unthinkable. It's the prime place to put our thoughts of the
future just as we must maintain our perspective of the past and contact
with the complexities of the present. It's an "Earth" battalion
because of what we know about a shrinking world, and about
interdependencies among people, and nations, and natural resources…
interdependencies which everyday are becoming more evident to us all. It's
a battalion because our study effort is directed to our Army, and the
battalion is an entity which all of us soldiers from top to bottom, can
Signed: D.M. Malone, COL, US Army
Making this planet whole… requires the ethical use of force. But even
subcultures of force must evolve into a master culture. The Army is no
Soldiers can be the principal moral ethical basis on which things
political can harmonize in the name of the Earth.
[Editor's note: The following are the headings and textual portions of
illustrated briefing slides compiled into a booklet and self-published as
"The First Earth Battalion" by Channon in 1979. Spelling errors
have been corrected, but all ellipses (…) were the author's rather than
Earthkind has grown from pack to village… and then from village to
tribe, then from tribe to territory… and from territory to nation.
It is time to go from nation to planet.
The First Earth Battalion hereby declares its primary allegiance to the
THE WARRIOR MONK
Chinese monks were often attacked by robbers. They developed a new
fighting system based on using the force of the attacker against him.
Likewise the soldiers of the First Earth will learn martial arts with the
same ethical basis. No Earth soldier shall be denied the kingdom of heaven
because he or she is used as an instrument of indiscriminate war. The
conscience will be developed together with the ability to neutralize the
THE EARTH BATTALION IS AND IS BECOMING
The Earth Battalion is potential oriented, not mission oriented, so any
definition of what it is or does tends to limit what it can become… At
the moment it is a spirit among other things.
By 1990 it may be a pilot community of warrior-monks who completely
recycle all resources, live amidst new nuclear reactors and waiting
deployment to tension spots.
A think tank methodology for the U.S. Army -- a banner for the closet
greathearts wherever they are -- a bonding agent for the idealist
activists in the service and out -- a home for the ethical evolution of
force -- an alternate form of service to the planet.
The pioneering spirit is not dead in America! Many of the Earth
Battalion ideas are taken from the New Age. This small sample of New Age
groups shows there is plenty of gold left in the hills of the mind, body
and spirit. The rush is on!
[Logos and advertisements posted include:]
STRUCTURE WITHOUT STATUS
|New Dimensions Foundation
|In the Flow
|Berkeley Institute for Training in Psychodrama
|Dimensional Mind Approach
|New Age Awareness Fair
|Aikido with Ki
|Briarpatch Review: A Journal of Right Livelihood & Simple Living
|The Center of Release and Integration
|The Owner Builder Center
|Postural Integration Reichian Rebirthing
|The Biofeedback Center of Berkeley
|Integral Chuan Institute
|The Brosnan Tortoise. (The latter was "a small group who seek
to advance the comprehension, experience, and worship of God. Our
activities center around the study of The Urania Book.")|
Everyone in the First Earth is equally important in the eyes of the
organization and will be provided for accordingly. Status is achieved by
the skill with which you do your chosen task. It's not important that you
move up in the organization… only that your skill level moves up.
Leaders will be those [soldiers] whose chosen skills are group
interworking and spiritual development.
UNIFORMS WITHOUT UNIFORMITY
Always allowing for diversity… we can share the ways that humans are all
wonderfully unique. The uniform must serve the soldier's given task but
must equally serve to share the most precious gift we each have to share
… our personality.
Common banners will serve to share the corporate Earth Battalion
[The picture shows a "Battalion Samurai Battle Mantle"]
UNITY POWERED BY DIVERSITY
Synergy is possible when every soldier brings his or her individual best
to the group task. It is multiplied in strength again if that soldier
truly loves the other members of the unit. Then we shall have the
maximum combat power available.
Things like Fuller's tensegivity illustrate how the maximum in
individual tension can be held delicately in check by group unity --
thereby generating the maximum potential energy.
The vector equilibrium, the visible structure, plus LOVE = the
The First Earth is not mission oriented it is potential oriented. That
means we shall continue to look everywhere to find non-destructive methods
J.F.C. Fuller, the father of mechanized warfare, was an
omni-directional thinker and a member of the world of the occult. [EN5]
Be a guerrilla guru: [explore] the occult, the new age, the
traditional, eastern philosophy, [and] space age technology.
Jobs in the First Earth are based on capabilities. Sex, age, color, or
religious preferences are not considerations. Culture has, however,
programmed men and women so that they feel pressure to relate to each
other sexually. This sexual protocol can be overcome by a series of
extended exercises requiring the absolute interdependence of all
participants until a level is trust is developed that supercedes and rises
above any kind of sexual relationship. Fortunately love is still the
The President just needs a wider range of options to respond to the 1980s.
Force as a concept has lost much of its legitimacy. The time has come to
take the lead in solving the problems of tomorrow.
The First Earth Battalion [Missions]
The Star [Headquarters]
|Force of heart
|Force of will
|Force of arms
|Force of spirit
|Human disaster rescue group
|Eco disaster rescue group
|Natural disaster rescue group|
|Sensing [Intelligence -- S-2]
|People [Personnel -- S-1]
|Design [Operations and Training -- S-3]
|Signals [Communications and Public Affairs]
|Support [Logistics -- S-4]|
Headquarters = Star
Counter-force company: Arms, Heart, Will, Spirit
Pioneer company: Space pioneer, Eco pioneers, Urban pioneers
Rescue company: Natural disaster, Eco disaster, Human disaster
REASONS TO BE
Soldiers are in the business of life and death. As a leader during war,
I must know that if my soldiers are to die… that it's for the right
reasons. When at peace they deserve nothing less than a chance of personal
Soldiers can be a real part of the evolution of this Earth. Anything
less… is just something less.
In the martial arts, one learns a number of possible countermoves
against different types of possible enemies. These practice battles are
done over and over until they become instinct. Likewise in the Earth
Battalion all plausible engagements are war-gamed until each soldier has
the routine cold. In this way the battalion can operate in the absence of
commands from its leaders, who may be out of touch, because of the new
realities of modern warfare.
[A chart compares "martial art stances" (e.g., prepare left,
block left, en garde, prepare right) to a flowchart reading:]
If you are overrun -- move to the nearest road junction, take control
of the buildings, wait for his towed artillery, destroy all you can…
till you have lost an offensive punch, then exfiltrate [sneak out] or
surrender to save life.
All warrior monks, but an interdependence of New Age skills as well.
[The graphic shows the following skills, all emanating from a central
|Martial arts wizard
|Vexillographer (flags and banners)
|General systems theorist
|Indian tracker [sic]|
Using traditional and New Age ideas:
|Yogic cat stretch
|Primal scream and leap
|Ginseng tab regulator
|Speed [ amphetamines] or morning thunder tea [EN6]
|Primal low frequency lights
|Paced primal rock [music] in our ears
|Discordant sounds for them [the enemy]
Just like many systems… when a nation or government becomes old, it
is so full of its ideas [that] it has no room for new ones. Well, there
are New Age ideas with great power for the first body that decides to
systematically use them.
THE EARTH BATTALION WILL HEAR THEM ALL.
[The accompanying illustration shows a rucksack containing body vest
music (e.g., a Walkman®), night vision foodstuffs, natural foods, dried
munchie packs, divining tools (divining rods had been used in Vietnam to
find Viet Cong tunnels with at least as much success as CIA sonar
systems), and ginseng regulators.]
MARKING THE TRAIL
The American Indian revealed himself as an individual by his
distinctive ornamentation. His shield in some cases was more complete as a
representation of his skills and predisposition than the modern soldier's
Earth Battalion soldiers will be encouraged to represent themselves
well in their dress, and wear a twelve-pointed star with each axis clipped
to reveal a dimension on a standard personality inventory test. [EN7]
FIT TO FIGHT
Recently a world class health expert revealed his formula for being
perfectly fit. At the heart of good health, he chose a positive mental
attitude. Next in importance was aerobic exercise to get oxygen
spread throughout the body. Finally he broke down foods into the following
Then the others -- way down the list.
- Vegetables (raw)
THE DELIVERY OF FIRES
Precision delivery [of artillery fires] is a function of clear and calm
calculations. The battalion Tactical Operations Center will employ every
New Age centering tool to ensure our fire coordinators do their job of
[Equipment shown for this New Age Tactical Operations Center included:]
[While working, the staff updated their map display while taking a] Trip
through bamboo sounds.
|Samadi tank for command decisions. [Samadi tanks are isolation tanks
said to provide "an ideal environment for relaxation and stress
reduction, meditation, and the exploration of consciousness."
Above the door is a sign reading: "Centering with mentations
prior to entering."]
|Neutralization oriented electronic map display. [This was similar to
what was already becoming standard in naval Combat Information
|Ergonomic settings [as opposed to the traditional field table, tent
or tracked vehicle, and plywood map board].|
With the advent of electronic display many variations of maps are
possible on the same surface. Some ideas for the modern battlefield are:
- Relief for direct-fire weapons.
- Patterns to show gas or smoke coverage.
- Building relief for MOUT (military operations in urbanized terrain).
- Strip maps for road movement.
See how abstract our current symbols are. They clutter the map with Order
of Battle [3rd Battalion, 37th Infantry (Mechanized)] and lack a great
deal of important targeting data [such as effective strength].
[On a First Earth Battalion map display:]
YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED -- NO MORE.
- Tank units look like tanks.
- Larger units mean larger symbols.
- If they [tank units] are moving, the road wheels ***pulse***.
- If you need their state of vulnerability press the top of the
symbol. (These two units are under the cover of smoke.)
- If you need their projected power, press the front of the weapon
(the mobility and range of this weapons system).
- If you need their potential [power], press the back of the symbol
(unit strength, POL [petroleum, oil, and lubricants], ammo, morale,
etc. are presented in a series of scalar dimensions).
- If you must have the Order of Battle [3rd Battalion, 37th Infantry
(Mechanized)], then press the bottom of the symbol.
NEW AGE SYNTHESIS FOR A SAMURAI
Seek your own personal path to God
Actively improve your physical condition.
Master mental self control for combat.
Reinforce team interdependence.
Actively serve people and planet.
Indulge in happiness and humor.
TYPICAL BATTLE SCENARIO FIRST EARTH
They parachuted in that morning and stood in a long line facing each
opposing army. The Earth Battalion satellite above beamed this image to
the globe. The Earth watched as this potential catastrophe awaited the
conscience of one of the two [rival] army leaders to set. For they would
have to bloody the Earth Battalion people in their path before they could
attack -- and the world would know.
The Universe yields wonderful energies for those who rise above
physical mechanics. The Earth Battalion will practice non-denominational
techniques for spiritual bonding. It is our right and they
[non-denominational meditation techniques] shall make us stronger.
When our Earth Battalion people become families and we hope they will,
they will then leave the attack battalions and go to the nuclear release
sites of each nation with a nuclear strike capability. In this way they
will be a clear and present reminder of what exists at the other end of a
button. [The accompanying illustration shows families living in tents in
the middle of a desert.]
Mother Earth… my life support system… as a soldier… I must drink
your blue water… live inside your red clay and eat your green skin.
I pray… my boots will always kiss your face and my footsteps match
Carry my body through space and time… you are my connection to the
Universe… and all that comes after.
I am yours and you are mine.
I salute you.
THE WARRIOR NET
A primary function of the First Earth is to communicate ideas. Set up a
network of information within your army and with friends in any army. Soon
continental coordination will emerge and then we will consider
communications media other than the mail and telephone.
Let this battalion grow wherever there is interest.
HUMAN DIMENSIONS: TECHNOLOGY AND STUDY AREAS -- THE NATURAL GUARD
Natural technologies for the soldier
EDITOR'S NOTES (hit your back button to return
to the text)
EN1. Marcello Truzzi, "China's Psychic Savants," Omni,
EN2. Jim Schnabel, Remote Viewers: The Secret
History of America's Psychic Spies (New York: Dell, 1997).
EN3. See, for example, John Alexander, Future War:
Non-Lethal Weapons in Twenty-first Century Warfare(New York: St.
Martin's Press, 1999). Alexander's other publications include "The
New Mental Battlefield" in Military Review (December 1980).
EN4. Richard Strozzi Heckler, In Search of Warrior
Spirit (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Press, 2nd edition, 1992).
EN5. Maj.-Gen. J.F.C. Fuller, one of the pioneers of
mechanized warfare and a noted military historian, was also interested in
astrology and the writings of the occultist Aleister Crowley.
EN6. As early as 1883 the Bavarian Army experimented
with issuing cocaine to its soldiers during their annual maneuvers.
Subsequent researches into chemically-enhanced militaries resulted in the
introduction of amphetamine powders in 1927 (the mostly African American
drivers of the Red Ball Express were the best-known US users of World War
II), the creation of anabolic steroids in 1958, and the integration of
psychotropic drug research with virtual reality computer research in 1991.
EN7. As a counterpoint, some recent evidence suggests
that standard personality inventory tests tend to favor white,
middle-class values, frequently discriminate against minorities, and
reveal little more than the test-taker's skill at taking standard
personality inventory tests.
EN8. The well-known martial arts writer Robert W.
Smith was approached regarding this project, and in a letter to the
editor, he said, "I said this is BS, include me out. Really. This was
a time of big military budgets and when they were trying to replace guns
with ESP, etc. CIA at same time were trying to get Uri Geller, et al., to
visualize Soviet missile sites." For details of CIA involvement with
Geller, see Schnabel, 1997, 129-140, 278-280.
EN9. Indeed, in a field environment US soldiers are issued
food loaded with fats, sugar, and various chemical additives.
JNC Feb 2000