OPSEC Basics – Protecting Your Plans Means Protecting Your Family
Tango here. One of the first things you need to learn in a world that is going to hell in a hand basket is OPSEC. What is OPSEC? The technical definition is: a term originating in U.S. military jargon, as a process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by adversary intelligence systems, determines if information obtained by adversaries could be interpreted to be useful to them, and then executes selected measures that eliminate or reduce adversary exploitation of friendly critical information. I know what you are thinking, “Yeah Tango, that’s great, but what does it mean to me and my family? How can I use it, and what does it do for me?” Glad you asked! In a nutshell, for the lay person, OPSEC is the process of protecting little pieces of data that could be grouped together to give the bigger picture to your enemy. So the next few questions that you should be asking yourself are ones like;
- What do I have to protect?
- Is it information, or something physical I need to protect?
- Who or what are the threats I may face?
Now that we know what OPSEC is there is one thing we need to address if you are going to get serious about survival of your family should something catastrophic happen. The decisions that you make will be the very bedrock decision that you will make, and will affect everything you do from that point forward. You are going to have to do an honest inventory of the people in your life, friends and family included. Everyone uses what I like to call the atom model when it comes to their daily lives, whether they know they are or not. If you look at an atom it has a nucleus made up of protons and neutrons, think of these as your very close family. There are electrons moving all around the nucleus, think of these as close friends, regular friends, acquaintances, and people you do not know. Some of these electrons are close to the nucleus and some are not. Also, notice that they move in proximity to the nucleus at different times. They are not always close to the center. Think of this as people revolving in and out of your life. Friends that come and go, new people you meet, and sometimes people from within the nucleus itself drift out towards the edges.
The point I am trying to make is this; you are going to have to take a hard look at who you let within your inner circle, who rotates right around the outside of the nucleus, and who is way on the outer edges. Everyone cannot be in your inner circle. Who has your families best interests at heart are NOT always the ones that are the best choices. The ones that have proven that they can be trusted, and are actually going down the same path are the ones that you want in your inner circle. I am by no means saying that you should abandon your family and friends, but there is going to come a time when the protection of your family will become paramount, and you will want the ones around you that have prepared like you have and have proven themselves to be trustworthy. I know that these decisions will be difficult ones, my wife and I had to do the same thing, but in the end you will be glad that you did it. This is a very important step, so don’t skip it!
So, when I say are you putting the right people around you, what do I mean? If you are preparing your family by storing water, food, ammo, guns, etc. and you have a friend that has been your neighbor for 10 years, but you don’t know them other than the occasional talk while mowing the yard or the friendly wave, would they be someone that would be there for you in a catastrophic event? What if they do not prepare at all? What if one day they saw a bunch of your food and water in the garage and struck up a conversation about it? What if you told them you were preparing your family for any number of situations, and then when that catastrophic event happens, who do you think your neighbor will be coming to see? An even better question is what will your neighbor who did nothing to prepare be willing to do for his family if things got really tough? Would they be willing to rob you, or worse, kill you for what you have. Now rewind back and think how OPSEC could have helped you in this situation. Even though your neighbor is nice, and you want to maintain a good relationship, there is no need for you to tip all your cards for them to see. Contrary to what society tells you today, it is still okay to be private about alot of things in your life. Your neighbor has no business knowing what goes on inside your life or your garage unless you want them to know. OPSEC starts with you. If you leave the garage open all the time your neighbor is inevitably going to see what you have in there. If you don’t want them to, then you need to be more disciplined about your OPSEC!
Graywolf is an excellent blogger on all things survival, and in one of his articles he said the following about OPSEC:
- First Law of OPSEC: “If you don’t know the THREAT, how do you know WHAT to protect?”
- Second Law of OPSEC: “If you don’t know WHAT to protect, how do you know you are PROTECTING it?”
- Third Law of OPSEC: “If you are not protecting it . . . THE ENEMY WINS!”
You can find Graywolf’s blog here.
So, you need to know your threats. Who is a threat where you live? Why are they a threat? You need to know what you are going to protect, whether it is information or something physical (such as the location of a safe with silver in it, or actual food and water storage). OPSEC is a very large subject to cover in one article, as there are many facets to a successful OPSEC plan. The main thing you need to take away from this article is that you need to start being discreet about what you are doing for your family as far as emergency plans are. Not just how much food and water you have, but also about things like communications plans/channels, times and routes that you may use to escape the area, etc. The main thing is you need to start making a plan if you do not have one, because the last thing you want to do is be the other guy when the SHTF. Please respond with any questions you have at the bottom of this article, or you can reach me via PM for more in depth discussions about OPSEC on our Facebook page Its a tea party yall. Until next time – Tango out