OPSEC - Operations Security

OPSEC And Your Circle Of Friends, Family, Acquaintances

OPSEC is an abbreviation for Operations Security.

It can be very important to maintain it. Especially during times like we’re experiencing today.

What is OPSEC? In short, it’s keeping your mouth shut. Keeping certain things, plans, topics, (or whatever) — out of plain sight, or conversation with others. In other words, it’s sort of keeping a secret (about whatever ‘it’ is).

It might be your prepping, preparedness, or security. And potentially MANY other things. Maintaining good OPSEC may be more important than some realize. Especially when it comes to one’s immediate circle of friends (and others) – even those whom you may trust to varying extents.

Read that last line again.

The term “operations security” was coined by the United States military during the Vietnam War.

Identification of Critical information: Critical information is information about friendly intentions, capabilities and activities that allow an adversary to plan effectively to disrupt their operations.

Analysis of Threats: A Threat comes from an adversary – any individual or group that may attempt to disrupt or compromise a friendly activity.

Analysis of Vulnerabilities: Examining each aspect of the planned operation to identify OPSEC indicators that could reveal critical information and then comparing those indicators with the adversary’s intelligence collection capabilities identified in the previous action.

Assessment of Risk: First, planners analyze the vulnerabilities identified in the previous action and identify possible OPSEC measures for each vulnerability. Second, specific OPSEC measures are selected for execution based upon a risk assessment done by the commander and staff.

Application of Appropriate OPSEC Measures: The command implements the OPSEC measures selected in the assessment of risk action or, in the case of planned future operations and activities, includes the measures in specific OPSEC plans.

(more)

Although in the context of this post, I’m simply talking about:

OPSEC – Loose Lips Sink Ships

Your immediate circle of friends, family, or acquaintances whom you may trust. Here’s how it could happen…

You mention something to someone in your inner circle. It seemed harmless enough to mention. After all, you trust that person not to blab to the whole world about it, right?.

Well here’s the thing… That other person might not have the same level of OPSEC or concern about that particular nugget of information as you do. That info might inadvertently come out during another ‘harmless’ secondary conversation with someone else from THEIR OWN circle of friends.

So now that information has been revealed – outside your immediate circle. Even if that person who is within the second ring of people is not a blabbermouth, – that person might not realize the OPSEC value of the nugget of information that was casually revealed to them. And then that person might inadvertently (or on purpose?) reveal that information within THEIR OWN own circle (which would now make it three levels away from you).

All it takes is one person to potentially take advantage of that information to ‘ruin your day’ so to speak.

Loose lips sink ships. Ever had that one before?

A Need-To-Know Basis

I am speaking very broadly and generically. But I’m trying to explain how information can spread beyond your circle of trust, even inadvertently.

So how do you maintain good OPSEC? When it comes to certain things that may be better off ‘secret’, then maybe it’s best that you be very careful who you say ‘anything’ to.. if at all.

“Need to know basis”. Who needs to know, if at all.

I’m not presenting a ‘paranoid’ type of suggested behavior. Rather, I am suggesting that some things should be on a ‘need to know’ basis. Only YOU know what those things are.

So not only ‘think’ about what you say before you say it, but ‘think’ about WHO you say it to…

A Changing World

Unfortunately, today’s changing world is flipping some things (views, ideals) what used to be “okay” or acceptable (like patriotism and love-of-country, certain political views, ideals, and/or being preparedness-minded and self-reliant) — to something that’s now considered “bad”, or even criminal! We see it happening all around us. Right now. Very sad.

So, for example, it may not be such a good idea for others to know that you’re “prepared” (to whatever extent). Or to have your extra food storage inventory in plain view. Or having your vehicle plastered with stickers indicating your ideology. I could go on. But you get the idea.

Food for thought.

[ Read: Being Prepared For Unprepared People ]

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28 Comments

  1. Pride versus Ego….

    Pride is inner satisfaction for your own accomplishments….Ego is the desire for accolades for those accomplishments…

    Inner satisfaction, or pride, should be enough…..but….the desire for recognition from others can bring with it jealousy and resentment…

    Keeping ego in check goes a long ways if survival is the goal….

  2. Ya have a Garden and Can?
    Ever give away some of those Veggies or a few Jars of Home Canned ‘stuff’?
    Your OPSEC is gone. and those that you were so generous to, they know you got ‘stuff’.
    Just a fact of today’s world.

    1. NRP & Blue,
      everyone in my area has gardens of some kind. its a trade off for veggies for meat or something. if they show up with nothing but wanting a hand out and have done nothing to get prepared, then just tell them no, and be ready to back it up.
      it’s like a stray dog or cat, if you feed it one time it will never leave.

    2. Agreed! My SIL is constantly on sm talking about all she has canned, and meat grown, butchered and frozen. Meals she has prepared completely ‘free’. Doesn’t realize this makes her an eventual target.

    1. Yes. Agree. Seems the ones who appear kind and trusting on the outside always have an ulterior motive within. I rarely if ever take someone into my confidence but if I do I make sure they’ve put down collateral.

  3. When I had knee replacement surgery 2 years ago one of my neighbors helped out a lot. Last week I said something about painting the spare junk room (pantry) and the first thing she mentioned was “what about all that food” I had in there. Keep in mind that she was in the room 2 years ago and it was the first thing that she thought of.

  4. Difficult topic to address. My farmer relatives tilled land and raised crops close to a busy public highway in Cali before I relocated. I kept a shotgun in my truck and had to chase tourists out of the berry fields almost every day I lived down there. With the cell phone, I had the Sheriff’s Dept on speed dial. Word got around real fast: Stay out of the fields or catch a load of shot on your person or replace your windshield. The bigger the field or larger the animals, the tougher it is to keep it a secret.
    When I was baking in a commercial kitchen, same thing: Baking is a noc shift job and the smell of fresh baked pies, cakes, pastries and breads on the cooling racks wafts down the street in the early morning bringing in all kinds of people. Good for business during normal times.
    Much of the business of selling produce or livestock is done by word of mouth and a handshake. Much of it is handed down from father to son. This was the old way of networking. From what I see, it is still done that way among people that produce. The big successful ones may seem unfriendly at first because they do not know you. ( do you have a big mouth? Do you do or do you just talk? )

  5. These days you also have to consider that your or your trusted person’s electronics are listening in (TV, phone, Nest device).

  6. We are so screwed, had a friend of my wife’s came over one time and saw some of what we have, then, went and told a friend of hers that our house looks like a grocery story.
    Told the wife she is not allowed in the house anymore but, the damage is done.

  7. Consider what you all discuss within earshot of your children/grandchildren. They repeat things to “woke” school teachers and “woke” parents of their little friends. Plan accordingly.

  8. I remember a quite a few years ago, a woman approached us wanting to know we were doing with all that garden produce that we had ( our garden was visible from the road ), and if we were going to give it away, she would like to have some of it. My answer was sure, you can have some of the garden produce, but you have to come out and help with weeding and things. She never came back . I don’t have any gardens now, except two big weed patches that I keep mowed.

  9. I remember a quite a few years ago, a woman approached us wanting to know we were doing with all that garden produce that we had ( our garden was visible from the road ), and if we were going to give it away, she would like to have some of it. My answer was sure, you can have some of the garden produce, but you have to come out and help with weeding and things. She never came back . I don’t have any gardens now, except two big weed patches that I keep mowed.

  10. I have a slight different take on this stuff. I don’t consider myself a prepper. I’m a man who has a regular job that also has a small family farm. I garden, raise animals, hunt, and fish. I live in an area where most of the people are just like me and mine. I was raised where neighbors have been neighbors for generations, some are even family. We help each other. We lean on each other. I feed neighbors cows when they are out of town, and I check their place over for methheads that occasionally pop up out here. That’s a whole other story by the way. My neighbor knows where I keep the chicken feed. He knows how to crank and run my equipment. Another neighbor had a heart attack. We kept his place running while his wife was in Beaumont with him for treatment. When they got home the wives in the neighborhood kept them well-fed and their home clean. Me and another neighbor cut their grass and finished a plumbing job for him. The point is we are stronger together. I understand where you are might not be the same. My hope for each of you is that you find that kind of community or neighborhood where you can have those relationships with people.

    1. BG in TX,
      its all about community. it’s the same way here. everyone has lived on these same roads for all of our lives.
      very small and very tight and all on the same page. we have many family here and those that are not are considered family.
      we are just that close. no one has to ask for help. everyone knows and everyone is there for them when something comes up.
      if you stop on the side of the road just to look at something, others will stop and see that you’re not broken down or that you are alright. i have seen mass meetings over a flat tire.

      how long does it take a group of rednecks to change a flat tire—
      until the beer runs out : )

      1. “how long does it take a group of rednecks to change a flat tire—
        until the beer runs out : )”

        Sir, that’s the truest statement I’ve read on the internet in a long, long time!!!!

        And guilty as charged. We women say they think we make up something being broke down so we can all meet up and have a few.

        But, I remind them the only tractor that doesn’t break is the one that sits in the barn and never moves.

        1. Welp, that was meant to say, When the women say… Not we women. I’m definitely an old man and know which restroom to use at the Tractor Supply.

  11. BG in TX,
    Wonderful! Sounds like my family back when my Grandparents were alive. It’s not like that now. Small farms have been taken over by city folks who just wanted more land for a large house and swimming pool. We might get a wave from the neighbors now. I know, you know, how lucky you are…but, it takes a lot of work to be that lucky!
    Your community sounds so nice. I don’t live there now. Had to move for a job a long time ago. But, I do visit family on Grandpa’s land occasionally. Stay well and blessed.
    Beach’n

    1. Beach’n, funny you should mention that. We’ve had an influx of people moving back to this area. Some who went off to Houston and Beaumont to make a career have been returning to their family lands. It seems to take them a little while to “get back to normal”. They quickly remember how people treat each other here and have been absorbed right back in the community. They are welcome. We do have a big deer lease down the road from our community where we were getting a lot of the Houston types that weren’t raised here. Most were decent people but they tend to look down on us “poor country hicks”. So we just kinda started taking over their deer lease. It’s about 3/4 local folks now and a few of the Houston area people we like and they get along with us well. I’ve actually become good friends with a couple of them. Again, its about the community where you live. I hope you can find that community one day again. I’ll leave the world and this little farm will be given to my kids. They can divide the land up however they choose. I’ve raised all of mine to know this is home. They might live and work across the state of TX right now, but this is always home where the community will take care of them.

  12. To BG in TX: As an Asian dude driving a Toyota into hunting camp, I get quite a few weird looks until I go to the sight in bench with a hunter and break out the spotting scope, gunsmithing screwdriver set, star and allen wrenches on the portable gun vise. Dialing in a rifle and fixing loose scope mounts for the price of one of your domestic beers is a good way to break the ice between people in hunting camps. (even if I have the smallest truck in camp.)

    1. Calirefugee, a Daewoo Labo is our smallest vehicle and you wouldn’t be the only Asian in camp. This is southeast Texas man! We call it the Redneck UN. But by all means bring your rifle and tools. You will find our rifles and tools already out. Oh, bring a shotgun too. We love to shoot clays!

  13. I make jokes about the size of my truck equating with the size of my unit within Hunting Camp. When I point out that the ladies are driving bigger trucks than me I feel very inferior, bow my head and walk away. Some of the ladies driving the big trucks look like they can kick my butt while holding their infant in one arm too. Most people laugh about it pretty good.

    I shot trap last Sunday and scored 23 with the 20 gauge and 22 with the 12 gauge. I used another box of shells to work on side angles on stations 1 and 5. I still cannot find ammo every day so the days of league trap are still not happening. Nice to know I can still swing smooth on a moving target. What can I say, I hate golf.

  14. Calirefugee,
    i shot trap a lot in my youth at a place called Bob Taylors. 23 with a 20ga is very good from the 16 yard station.
    i haven’t shot trap 40 in years.
    yea, 1 and 5 are the hardest unless all station are full and you can get a good rotation going. everything in my area has gone to sporting clay’s. it’s OK, but i have always loved trap.

  15. I acquire my local intelligence from a little second hand store in my neighborhood also known for religious meetings. Because of everbodys need to fit in or be friendly ,a lot of information is gleaned just from loose lips. I personally don’t trust any of them because of their welfare/ disability collecting lifestyles. Most don’t know any better. I just browse and keep my ears open and occcasionaly ask General questions about local persons or events. When asked about my situation , I just state that I am retired. I don’t mention capabilities, resources, or timetables( I am still actively working) but nobody needs to know where I live, where or when I work, or what resources I have ( money,tangibles,guns etc.) Mostly because of the aforementioned distrust of the community populace as junkies, whores, lazy shits and modern dependents of social programs.
    This nonopsec on their part has my ruling them out as part of my tribe. They just didn’t pass the sniff test. Sad.

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