Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

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Given the increasing pace of change and the uncertainty that is brings around issues of international and defence policy, our blog is designed to bring some clarity to current events. Contact Report is a blog on the platform Medium, a website that allows users to follow people and publications that share original stories that interest them. Short in duration and timely in delivery, the Contact Report presents views and opinions by our fellows, leveraging the diversity of backgrounds and experiences to provide thoughtful and concise analysis.  We are always looking for such analysis and if you want to contribute, please tell us about your ideas using the link below. If you have any questions, please get in touch with Assistant Editors, Anna McAlpine and Bibi Imre-Millei.

*The views contained in these posts are the author's alone and do not represent those of the CIDP


What is a "Contact Report"?

“Zero, Four-one. Contact, wait out.”

These six words, spoken over a radio, bring an acute focus to all who hear them. Everything else stops. Everything else is suddenly less important. Focus now shifts to ‘Four-one’, the call sign representing a small unit of soldiers who are suddenly engaged in a fire fight – firing their weapons in anger and likely fighting for their lives. ‘Contact’ in this sense means that the small unit has begun engaging the proverbial enemy – they are being shot at and are shooting back. More ominously, they will let ‘zero’ – the headquarters – know when they are done. In essence, they are telling the headquarters, "don’t call us – we’ll call you". More importantly, until the contact is resolved, everybody else stays quiet – and waits.

What they are waiting for is called a contact report. This report follows a format that all combat leaders memorize and consists of where the shooting is coming from, who they think is shooting at them, what they are doing about it, and when the shooting started.

The contact report is designed to be a clear, concise, and precise response to an event. It is designed to get the essential information to those who need to know and, more importantly, may be able to offer support in a timely fashion. In short, what is happening to Four-one may be of importance to other organizations on the same team.

It is in this spirit of precision, concision, and clarity that the CIDP launched "the Contact Report". This series is designed to be a venue for our Fellows to provide their learned opinions on the contacts of the day, in this case international and defence policy-related events. It is designed to do so in a timely but accurate and thoughtful manner that enables us to leverage the knowledge of our researchers to inform the debates that ensue.