A new system for security professionals and special forces units that is safer, faster, and extremely lethal!

Paul Bonnici, the innovative mastermind behind the „Confined Area Tactical Solution (CATS)“ and founder of Elite Spartan Tactical Concept (Malta), reveals his take on modern counter-terrorism and tactical training!

Author Thomas Lojek

How I met Paul Bonnici

I met Paul Bonnici at the 2nd International Bodyguard Conference of Wodan Security hosted at the ATAC Anti Terror Academy in Stod, Czech Republic.

After the event we kept in touch.

Paul Bonnici is a highly regarded tactical training instructor and the head of Team Zero in Malta.

He is a brilliant mind and a very deep thinker, who really digs into even the most subtile details of countering dangerous situations and how to understand the dynamics of armed conflicts.

The way he taught me to think about unexpected and sudden violent conflicts and how to understand the role of psychology in a lethal fight (armed or unarmed) shaped crucial moment of my thriller novel.

Paul Bonnici

Who is Paul Bonnici?

Paul Bonnici is a former police officer from the Malta Police Force with twenty-five years of service. 18 years in the Special Assignments Group (SF).

In 2011, he was assigned to the Police Academy as instructor.

Until 2013, when he was reassigned to the RIU as instructor to train and assist the ongoing formation of new units.

During Paul’s service, he acquired knowledge through many years of police work, and trained in a very close cooperation with some of the best special forces in the world.

From 2005 to 2014 Paul Bonnici trained with:

  • FBI Hostage Rescue Team (HRT)
  • NCIS
  • Italy 9th Parachutist Assault Regiment „Col Moschin“
  • Israeli Defense Forces Instructors (IDF)

Including:

  • Inner perimeter security
  • Building entry
  • Suspect apprehension
  • Hostage rescue
  • Concealment
  • Rappelling
  • Delivery of chemical agents
  • Anti-riot
  • Driving
  • Dignitary protection

Also, Paul Bonnici deployed in KNR (Kidnap and Ransom) counter tactics and operations.

Paul‘s own company, Elite Spartan Tactical Concept, is a training school and private security company that has been recently formed to provide a wide range of professional tactical training and security services.

Elite Spartan Tactical Concept’s mission is to provide leading edge tactical training, executive protection, logistic support, consulting to government, military, law enforcement, security and corporate entities worldwide.

The company‘s clients are Police, Military, Forensic, Government Agencies, Entrepreneurs and the community of Malta.

(c) Paul Bonnici

Combat Tactics to confront terrorism in urban conflict

Thomas Lojek: Dear Paul, would you give us a short introduction about your work?

Paul Bonnici: First of all, I would like to thank you, Thomas, for this interview.

Also, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce my tactical system.

A very special tactical system that I was developing for years. 

I call it: Confined Area Tactical Solution, or: „CATS“.

Those of us who have tactical training, or were part of a tactical unit for the past two decades, still remember that we had to adapt to relatively new developments in combat tactics during this time.

We trained and adapted in a way, that we were able to confront a modern and an increasing violent terrorism, mostly in urban environments.

Since then, little changes has been made.

And this was to our advantage to this day.

On the other hand, today, we have to face the fact that many common CQB/CQC tactics are no longer a secret.

Because a lot of CQB/CQC tactics are now available to civilians, terrorist and organized criminals, thanks to new information technologies, social media and platforms like Youtube.

Confined Area Tactical Solution counters this phenomenon.

My tactical system CATS works in a way, that the power of carrying out finer tactics and crucial details in special operations will return back into the hand of SOF and law enforcement units.

And therefore into hand where the advantages of these elite tactics really belong.

Terrorism: Insane individuals or rational acts by criminals?

CQC: What is your personal take on today’s threats of terrorism? Especially in Europe?

Paul Bonnici: There are no geographical boundaries to terrorist and organized criminals anymore.

Terrorism can strike anywhere, anytime.

And strikes are highly organized. 

Getting to the core what modern terrorism really is:

Terrorism, contrary to popular beliefs, is a rational act by criminals.

Terrorist are not „crazy“ or „mental insane“.

There is a popular belief that terrorism is a unpredictable sudden act of insane individuals or that it is carried out by groups of mental instable fanatics. 

That‘s not true.

Being fanatic does not equal mental insanity. 

Following this popular belief you are missing the crucial point of terroristic activities and assaults.

People who take part in terrorist activities should always be categorized as „mentally sane“, because they are conscious of what they are doing.

And they are fully aware of the consequences.

Organizing, planing, and the preparation of the final terroristic attack are a huge part of any modern terroristic behavior. 

Terrorism is very rational.

Terrorists establish clear objectives and then they get up and get out to meet those objectives through careful and calculated steps.

That does not meet any standard of a pathologic loss of reality.

We may don‘t like it, but terrorist are thinkers.

They think about violence and destruction.

And this violent thinking in a terrorist‘s mind is highly organized.

That‘s what it makes so dangerous.

And this is where we should counter terrorism in its first place.

(c) Paul Bonnici

Crucial parameters to counter modern terror effectively

Thomas Lojek: Can police and law enforcement units be trained to counter seemly „unpredictable“ forms of modern violence?

Paul Bonnici: In terrorism there are patterns. Always.

For example, in hostage situations there are well-established patterns.

We made tremendous progress in understanding and countering these kind of assaults. 

But nevertheless, proactive security should be the priority.

This must not be confused with reactive security, that comes into action in moments of urgency, imminent threats, or to counter an assault that has already begun.

From my perspective, if we focus too much or solely on the reactive part of counter-terrorism, we will react mostly when it‘s too late.

If counter-terrorism starts here, the worst part has just happened.

Reactive forces can only respond.

If they are properly trainded, they will respond fast, powerful and highly effective.

But still, they will arrive, after a lot of awful things have happend and a lot of damage has be done. 

Therefore, the best way to counter modern threats, is a sharp focus on proactive security.

Countering terrorism is a multi-dimensional process.

Intelligence, awareness, education, are highly important factors in this process.

Also, ongoing trainings for law enforcement units, and even trainings for civilians and a general education of being more aware of threats and how to act accordingly when they happen. 

An then, finally, when the force of reactive security is needed, special operations forces highly trained in systems like my Confined Area Tactical Solution „CATS“ enter the arena.

To bring it into a short formula:

Gain intelligence.

Train public awareness.

Strike with elite force when needed. 

These elements make a solid counter-terrorism strategy, that will stand the test of time. 

(c) Paul Bonnici

Pushing the limits of what can be done in tactical training

CQC: Can you tell us more about your system „Confined Area Tactical Solution“.

Paul Bonnici: CATS was designed by a fusion of tactics.

And by years of experience in training with some of the world’s most advanced special forces units.

Israel IDF (Shin Bet), FBI Hostage Rescue Team, Italian 9th Parachutist Assault Regiment (Col Moschin), and other units have left their mark in my system. 

I had the opportunity to work and train with these units for years, and that task is still covered by OPSEC.

CQC: Can you tell some details without giving away too much of your tactical secrets?

Paul Bonnici: My CATS system emphasizes on perfect cover, weapon flow, and understanding how the human behavior interacts with tactics. 

The CATS program uses active resistance, latest weapon handling and shooting platforms

I working with mental visualization, brain training.

And as I mentioned before, with a very specific weapon flow combined with an advanced understanding how the human behavior interacts in tactical situations and under stress.

CATS system is providing a strong foundation to efficiently conduct room clearing and domination with more flexibility, safety, and dynamic movements.

That goes up to more advanced details and tactics that you could ever imagine, even with a solid foundation in tactical training.

While developing CATS I was pushing the limits of what we know, the way we look at tactical training, and of course the limits of what we think that can be done or should be done.

CATS is a jump into a highly innovative tactical training that covers the flexibility and the higher understanding how criminals and terrorists act in our modern real world.

And counter it.

Let me share only one phrase with you.

Something that we use a lot in CATS, and with a fundamental understanding in tactical training, you may get an idea of how I try to change perspectives and common grounds of bias in what we do:

„There is no perfect CQB but perfect cover!“ 

(c) Paul Bonnici

Safer, faster, and extremely lethal tactical training

CQC: Is there any cornerstone, any fundamental idea, behind your method?

Paul Bonnici: Well, I can give you an example.

My method of tactical entry is behavioral based.

Making it scientific, and wrapped around what will actually happen to a tactical operator, when he is conducting high-risk entries.

The Confine Area Tactical Solution „CATS“ method is safer, faster, and extremely lethal when done correctly.

I realized that it’s very difficult for operators to let go of years of training that they have gone through.

But sometimes it is necessary. 

Let‘s have a look at what we’re teaching.

I have mentioned tactical room entries, before.

Let‘s look at it this way:

The only thing that enters first in a room is a round.

Traveling towards to the immediate threat at a speed of 1200/2400 FPS.

To make it short: Confine Area Tactical Solution is a hybrid of what works best in all tactical systems and what works in real life, not just on papers. 

Just to give you a small glimpse of what I really mean without giving away too much intel:

Normally, in Close Quarters Battle we call the first man „Point Man“.

In Confine Area Tactical Solution we call him „Pathfinder“. 

If you got some background in Tactical Training or SOF, I am pretty sure that you will understand, that there can be a slight but crucial difference in the meaning of these two words.

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