OPSEC For The Preparedness-Minded

loose lips sink ships

OPSEC, (operational security) is a process of protecting and safeguarding something – typically information, or things, plans, actions, or accomplishments – from adversaries. In simple terms, it’s keeping ‘it’ secret…

Keeping it Secret

Now more than ever, this has become quite important.

The notion of OPSEC is often used in context with various aspects of preparedness – for someone who is preparedness-minded.

Why? Because most people (unfortunately) do not understand the rationale of being preparedness-minded. They may negatively label you.

For example, lets say you have (6 months) of stored food at home. It’s good OPSEC to keep it quiet. Why? Because that’s quite a bit more (stored food) than what most people would consider to be ‘normal’ (normal for them). Who knows what they would think… (actually, I do know).

What good will it do if others know?

While it is sad to consider that this is the way it is today, it’s probably best to keep these things to yourself. Always ask yourself “What good will it do if others know (this) or (that)? You will discover that in many or most cases the answer will be that there’s no benefit at all.

“Sharing” information with others focuses attention on YOU and WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
Remember the old saying “Loose lips sink ships”?

Above, I used the example of food storage with regards to OPSEC. But it should also apply to anything else that may be considered to be outside the ‘normal’ in today’s mainstream.

What about your political ideals? Oh my goodness! Just look at what’s going on out there right now as of this post!!! If you are a conservative, you are being CRUSHED by the mainstream and Big Tech!!! And God forbid if anyone finds out you’re a Trump supporter, Cancel Culture could get you fired on the spot!

We’re in a civil war about this right now! It’s going to get much worse. There is NO DOUBT. So just in this example alone, OPSEC is very important.

Human Observation

Humans consciously and subconsciously observe other humans and their actions. Many of the observations are simply casual and inconsequential. We are pretty good at detecting things that are out of ‘normal’. When you say or do something that is outside of someone else’s ‘normal’, then you stand out – and they notice it. Some disregard it, while others will remember it and take note for future reference…

Unfortunately, being preparedness-minded is still considered outside the “norm” for most people today. While there have been gains in this area, especially given today’s uncertain times (as more people recognize them), unfortunately most people still just don’t see it. Therefore, most preppers should implement OPSEC in order to maintain a low profile and not attract undue attention or notation.

Just remember this: If others choose to disregard the notion of preparedness as an insurance policy for life and survival, their rejection is not your issue.

what-is-opsec

Control the flow of verbal diarrhea

By far the primary component of OPSEC is control of potential flow of verbal information.

Most people simply NEED to talk.

Given it serves so many natural and programmed psychological needs, it is the primary driver of modern evolution and has become the cornerstone of social survival. It is essential OPSEC to STFU. You cannot control other people running their mouth, but you absolutely can control the content. Choose very wisely if at all.

Whether we realize it or not, living through every day requires substantial survival skill. To what degree we survive requires in-depth understanding of the calculus of human interaction. Being such a highly complex subject, a quick summary of this dynamic is probably best.

By not talking about yourself you are in control and invariably strengthens your carefully crafted position. Talking makes your own thoughts and actions the objective of others in numerous respects. If there is nothing to focus on, no substantive objective can be formed.

Choose what you want others to think in regard to yourself very carefully. Mastering controlled perception is one of the most valuable of skills a person can possess.

~ Commenter on MSB

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56 Comments

  1. Excellent write up! I try to nudge people to take up a more preparedness mindset without showing my cards. It’s a very fine line.

  2. There are some connections you cannot control, but do your best.

    For instance, we still have a mortgage.

    Being a GA resident, we are in the heart of termite country such that lenders require that their customers maintain paid, third party termite inspection/remediation/certification on an annual and on-going basis.

    This puts a stranger (never been the same person two years in a row) in my basement once per year where he walks through the entire area looking for termite evidence, but at the same time, easily observing everything else.

    I don’t know what kind of written records the company might keep (he takes no pictures as I accompany him,) nor who, at the proper time, they might share this info with.

    But we know there is at least one or more individuals who know certain things about our level of preparedness since covering everything is neither practical or even workable since he needs access to some area I might cover.

    OPSEC as best you can

    <bb

    1. put all your stuff in xmas boxes mislabel everything,,,,put cover or quilt over gun safes…operational security very important, Years ago when my office in 3 car garage we let all service providers in, ATT,Lawnguys etc, Well 1 nite 2am somebody tried to electronically open garage doors. Learned a big lesson, nobody inside, pay all people outside. I was lucky that time

      1. jim s,

        I have some clear boxes, lined in plain view with feminine pads and tampons, I am not kidding. However, the inside has other stuff.

    2. BB in GA

      You need to put all your preps in some location or container that the inspector has no reason to look at. Probably can’t all go in X-Mas boxes. But maybe you could build a hidden room or closet. Do they inspect your garage? On an episode of Alaska, the Last Frontier they had a door to a hidden storage room disguised as a book case. But you pull on the bookcase and discover it is actually a door. The part of my basement farthest from the door could easily be converted to a hidden closet if I could afford it. It has no windows and you couldn’t tell without a tape measure that the back wall was not even with the front of the house.

      1. Daisy K & BB in GA
        A used camping tailor in good condition to store items in if you have a secure place to keep it. No one (termite inspectors) will have any reason to go inside. If you remove the bed and furniture your storage area will increase greatly, use folding chares and cots. This will also serve as a GOOD vehicle.

        1. Left Coast, That is a good idea, especially if you have a climate controlled garage (I don’t.) If you have heat and A/C in your garage, you can store food preps there in your camper and keep the camper in the garage.

  3. Nothing better than an admonishment to keep your mouth shut….then asking for comments???

    Kidding aside…..good article….

    Might add that when you keep your own mouth shut….others feel the need to fill the void….let them talk…you listen and learn and glean information that might prove useful at some point in time…..

    ….be careful though that you are not being fed false information intended to get a reaction on your part…… to elicit a response….

    An example would be the “bulletin” being disseminated by federal law enforcement and being clarion-ed by media warning that “armed right wing extremists” are planning a “four day siege” of D.C. and all 50 state capitols starting 16January. I smell a set-up….

    1. Unfortunately, you know who will be showing up and causing problems…dressed like MAGA people.

      There will be no investigation as to who the people are, .gov/media will just automatically say they are MAGA and then the torching/burning of conservatives will really begin.

    2. “…be careful though that you are not being fed false information intended to get a reaction on your part….”

      Excellent. I work with a snake that does just that. That advice has many applications, not just OPSEC; again, excellent.

  4. OPSEC is easy, it’s the family that concerns me, couple grandsons like to boast even though I’ve stressed loose lips sink ships. They just don’t get it, just crazy grandma getting old person disease. Beginning to believe I could hold their critical thinking in a thimble. Their not libs but Their little bubble looks just fine, dumb & dummer, nothing I can do but control my own life. What will be will be.

  5. Time to go 100% GREY Besides not talking…move stuff alternative locations. No gun talk, no location talk…even at range, you don’t know who is listening. Also remember, you tell 1 friend, he tells 2, then those people tell 2 more people…it sucks, but with whats happening in corp America with jobs and social media your life,your job is in jeopardy. For all those people that didn’t vote for Trump and thought we would hold the Senate…WELL WE ARE SCREWED AND SO ARE YOU

    Just my pissed off thoughts….God Bless America we need it

  6. I have to wonder the way 1984 … I mean 2021 is shaping up, I have to think even close family members that know you may have a “dislike” for .gov may be informing on you to the authorities…

    Media will tell your family members to report any known “unsettling speech” of .gov to your local FBI HQ.

    Your children will be instructed in school to tell the teacher if Dad seems angry while watching the news. Does dad like to go hunting? Dad have any camo clothing? Dad caries a pocket knife and flashlight on his jeans?

    Pretty simple probing questions can be used to build profiles.

    Get ready for infiltration regardless of OPSEC we are all marked.

    1. (not-so-)Funny that you mentioned this. Given the attitude of one of my nephews (confident/arrogant, and quickly brainwashed by college within 2 years), I had just been thinking about him.

      We had a conversation at Christmas, and I was appalled that he had become so liberal after years of being home-schooled. I was wondering what his reaction would be if the future U.S. version of the Gestapo asked for information regarding unidentified conservative families.

      I will probably will point-blank ask him if he pisses me off again…”So, if the U.S. Gestapo asks you if you know any conservatives, are you going to give up your parents, your siblings, grandparents and aunts/uncles?”

      1. MEEP,
        Just wait. The time will come when he will be cold, hungry and may come begging for crumbs and shelter. Then you will get the chance to smile, remind him of the conversation and laugh as you close the door in his face.

        1. RC ever hear of Proverbs 25: 21If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. 22For in so doing, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you. 23As the north wind brings forth rain, so a backbiting tongue brings angry looks.… (Some translations say angry vengeance)

          THIS was during the Eye for an Eye Old Testament.

          Happily Meep is too smart to rub manure on her wayward children’s faces AS to Guarantee they will TURN HER IN along with all they think might profit them to the New Overlords. Betrayal is a real problem. You know “See something, SAY something”?

          As in every other Socialist Government their overreach and lack of real money to PAY for all their dreams will create chaos and the downfall.

          Sometimes you have to just wait and survive the troubles that will cause those Piranhas to EAT Each other.

          Meanwhile all we do will be judged by God. He doesn’t grade on a curve.

          Pray for wisdom and our Republic

  7. OPSEC
    Keeping your mouth shut..

    What about words of action?

    Do the neighbors see your bountiful garden every spring/summer/fall? Is it hidden?

    How about those chickens/rabbits/
    goats? Are they hidden?

    Do the neighbors see you hauling bundles of TP/cases of can goods out of the hatchback, once/twice a week?

    Shoot a couple hundred rounds every other weekend?

    OPSEC…
    More than just words

    1. Joe c,

      Fortunately, I have a 6 foot privacy fence around my property (except across the front where code is 42″ chain link. But there are also 6′ privacy fences with a gate dividing the front yard from the back yard, so no one sees my garden except my lawn boy and sprinkler repair man.

      Most people in this town have some sort of garden….

      My garage is detached, but to get groceries and other things from the garage to the house, means I go through that back yard with the 6′ privacy fence.

      1. DaisyK,
        Yep, same here.
        6′ privacy fence around the garden and hutches.
        Lots of pines along the road side.
        In fact, when the wind took down a section of fence, I felt exposed….

  8. OPSEC is an impossible task now a days. Unless you pay cash for everything. Ordering boomstick parts or ammo online with a credit card. Pay for groceries with an ATM card. Purchase fuel with a credit card. To name a few.

    Then we have the human element. Grocery store workers that see what you purchase ECT.

    Then there are computers, security cameras and even your own cellphone that listens,sees and even tracks your location in real time. Some vehicles do this as well. OnStar systems.

    Then government equipment like satellites that can actually see through buildings and the NSA that records every text, word spoken and stroke of the keyboard on your computer.

    Welcome to 1984…..

    Or was that 1998 ÷3 = ???

    1. Thor1 – We are well and truly screwed. Have you tried to get cash recently? Around here ATM’s are capped at $500 per day. Affiliate branch tellers are limited to $1,000 a day. And if you want to drive all the way to the main branch, the cap is $3,000.

      And if you try to get cute and structure withdrawals over a period of time… or otherwise bend your historical pattern, an automatic “Suspicious Activity Report” is filed on you with FBI and IRS.

      1. Best way to get around this is to choose the cash back option when you pay for groceries and such.

        1. Pecora – I do that already. Groceries are the highest yielding cash back, at 3%, on my card. So to purchase one ounce of gold, I would only need to pay for about $70,000 worth of groceries to have enough cash back. … but then that ‘cash’ still exists on a swipe card, right?

          1. Tmac, I think you misunderstood what Pecora meant about “cash back.” Not a credit card rewards plan, but the practice of asking to write the check for $20 more than the amount of purchase.

            Where I live, they ask you with every purchase whether you want to make the check for more than the purchase. Usually, there is a $20 limit, but you can write checks for more than the purchase every place you shop. Usually no limit to how many times you can visit each store per day, either.

          2. Hi Daisy K:

            Checks? Paper checks? The things that say: “Pay to the order of”? I didn’t think anyone still took those; especially at a grocery store. But you are right! My mother used to do that often, during the Carter years. Even if I could do that, lets do the math.

            To purchase an ounce of gold, and assuming I do grocery shopping each Saturday, as I normally do… and assuming the customer behind me didn’t shoot me for holding up the line… it would STILL take me 2 full years to be able to afford one coin; IF the prices never went up.

            But yes I did misunderstand. Never even thought of that angle.

          3. TMAC,

            I didn’t realize we live in different worlds. Where I live, paper checks are common, and cash back is the norm. Also I don’t buy gold with my cash but save it (in cash) or use it for things I would rather not have the government know about. Also, I am retired so can go to the store every day if I want, and go to more than one store each day, buying 10 or 15 dollars worth of whatever and getting $20 cash back.

          4. Daisy, thanks for explaining that better :)
            I use my debit card card and most always use self-checkout at the store (more privacy that way). Every time I pay with plastic, the machine asks if I want cash. It defaults to $20, but I believe you can request specific amount.

      2. Tmac

        Yes you are correct, and I just bought $500 worth of groceries and got back $50 in cash back. The cashier and bagger had some strange looks at all the food I bought.

    2. I used to work as a cashier in BigBox Grocery. Five seconds after the customer walks away, the cashier is not going to remember your purchases unless a bag was left behind.

  9. Another way to get around tracking retail purchases is to purchase gift cards. Then use the gift cards to make your planned purchases.

  10. You may want to be silent about yourself but Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.” –George Washington.

  11. – OPSEC is always one of the hardest things to do, even for military units. People lo-o-ove to tell any and everyone about what they know, anything at all out of the ordinary.

    Having dealt with this problem many times through the years, this is the voice of experience. The current situation with social media and everything else makes it even worse, especially for a larger group or a non-military organization.

    The larger the group, or the amount of money, or the volume of goods, and the less experienced the particular individual, the worse it is.

    – Papa S.

    1. Good Morning Papa Smurf! To add to your thoughts OPSEC is no more secure than the weakest link in your chain of information.

      For example your hot headed buddy was at Jan 6th event, his cell phone in his pocket (off or on no matter to Stingray) now YOUR on the persons of interest network as a bit player. UNLESS YOUR Phone Number shows up in MANY Hot Headed folks phones. Then you get a UPGRADE.

      Proverbs 22:24

      When my Uncle was working for a 3 letter agency he would track drug dealers through their burner phones by doing a network of calls. Unknown #1 calls known dealer #2 and Known Girlfriend of target Drug Dealer (maybe #1) and so forth. Harder to do using paper printouts from phone companies. MUCH Easier using computers and keyword analysis in REAL TIME if your a person of interest.

      This is not to say we are screwed but you have to go old school F2F with out electronic toys around if you need to discuss things. BEWARE just how far away as in next room plus a TURNED OFF I-Phone can be used to listen to you. Siri and Alexis HAVE been used in the Courts of Law for convictions already, in a Kangaroo Star Chamber well….

      Praying for wisdom and our Republic

  12. I have several plastic bins in my crawl space. Some are labeled as payroll with a year, some are labeled invoices with a year, some are labeled accounts receivables with a year. Needless to say that is not what I have stored in them but any service people that happen to have to go down there wouldn’t be any the wiser.

    1. I don’t give out my valuables location to anyone, only my daughter knows and certainly not here or any website nor email, nor phone call.

  13. I believe that it was John Adams who said, ” Freedom lost is never recovered”. Yes we all need to observe Opsec as we no longer live in a “Free Country”.

    My heart breaks to know this fact, as I always believed that our beloved Republic’s political system, as it was first written, was the Christian Faith poured into political terms. Few know that the “checks and balances” system was similar to that of the Presbyterian church’s laid out in the Westminster Confession of Faith.

    The Divided States of America has become a Communist Dictatorship, prep accordingly. I blame Donald Trump, as he should have had the guts to call on The Insurrection Act last summer when the “boogaloo riots” began. The cold Civil War has been lost, Our Democratic Republic is gone.

    God help us.

    1. Perhaps he doesn’t have the support of the military!

      As far as guts? That man has more cahones than any man I know. What type of person could endure 4+years of crap.

      1. Judd_s:
        You asked;

        “What type of person could endure 4+years of crap”

        The type of person who really loves this Country.

        1. NRP & Blue, amen brother, you said it, I actually voted for him being the lesser of two evils, but after him being in office a while, realized that he’s a blue collar man just fighting for his country

  14. Great article. I always find it difficult walking the line of giving up too much info when trying to educate others. Would like all family and friends to be ready for what’s possibly ahead, but try not to give away too much personal info at the same time.

  15. Years ago when my wife worked at a local clinic, they had a woman come in and in the course of a treatment, she let it slip out that they ( her husband and her ) had a room in their house that wasn’t on the blueprints. All climate controlled, for her furs and other things that she had and for her husband’s toys. And that you could walk right the by the entrance and not know that it was there. Hmm, I wonder if she told her husband about what she told my wife and her co-workers, the doctor working with her said that he had something similar. so much for OPSEC. I’ve had the same thought my self, but with my wife gone now, it doesn’t really matter anymore .

    1. Before we retired & hubby worked in Ohio, we had a hidden room in the basement, behind a swing out bookcase (just like in the old movies!)

      When the carpenter put the bookshelves in, he asked if he could take photos to show other clients. I teased that they would be the last photos he ever took. He wasn’t so sure I was teasing!

      Also, when we wanted to sell the house, we showed our agent the secret room & told her she might not want to mention it til we had a buyer lined up. She sold it the next day to someone she knew for big bucks over the asking price & we always suspected him to be a spook.

  16. Most conspiracies fail because no one can keep their mouth shut.Then there is the communications problem. Telephone-Telegraph-Tell a Woman.
    Just kidding girls. Don’t get your shorts in a knot.

    1. Yeah, be careful what you say Ron. I’ve noticed that they’er more women than men on this site. No offense, just fact. Trekker Out

  17. A good article for the times we live in and for the times to come (which will be in a few months). Aside from learning to “can” vegetables and fruits and some tips on how to fertilize my garden, the most valuable lessons from this site have been about living off-the-grid. Believe me, persecutions of conservative-minded individuals is coming if not already here. Bernie and Kamala do not want you to be self-sustaining, because being so defeats their agenda of control of the masses. They want you dependent on the government so they can tell you what to do, where to go, and when to do it and I don’t mean pee, but I’m sure that’s coming also. I have been taking myself off the web slowly but surely and my final steps will include a VPN and erecting an antenna for TV. Streaming is out for me. I know it’s not perfect and I still can be tracked by other methods but it is a start.

    This website and it’s readers has a bullseye on its back. Prepping will be condemned as a white supremacist activity by the Left and probably vocalized by AOC. If you own firearms there are ways to get them off the “radar/grid”. I’ll fight Californication any way I can.

  18. Been a lurker here for awhile.
    always enjoyed the community.
    don’t post much been busy with family .
    no plans here to change my alias . hello nrp . Always enjoyed your wisdom along with ken.
    hope all is well with everyone and be careful. There is definitely bears on the prowl.
    I would like to think of our small family as a pack of wolfs .
    Maybe time for more wolf packs to join together in my opinion.
    be careful and speak easy .

  19. Farmgirl, “I’d also think about keeping them (livestock) out of sight, as much as possible.”
    . . . . .
    Have built my farrowing pens, last one today, behind the house. Out of sight and smell from the road. Geese will get penned back there today too I hope. And my barnyard chickens penned up this weekend.
    . . . .
    Partly want to take a short trip and want caretakers to have an easy time of taking care of, and counting noses on, the animals. But partly due to security. Neighbors of course have a pretty good idea of what I have. Seems like all animals make noise, smell, mess, maybe except for bunnies and fish. Can’t completely hide them. But with a couple pieces of property for sale on the road, we’re getting looky lous out this way nearly every day. They don’t need to remember my place if the SHTF.

    1. Anony Mee,—Good thinking, and I hope you end up with some good new neighbors.—Roosters are great for ongoing chick production; not so much for OPSEC. I can’t think of a way to quiet them, short of running a covering noise producing piece of equipment at dawn. Neighbors would just love that, I’m sure, lol. What opsec is done will be more of a benefit for drive by traffic, like you’re referencing. A determined agency can find whatever they want to. Are you raising American Guinnea hogs? Trying to remember from a while back.

      1. My roosters crow all day and all night. Hens cackle and scream when they’ve laid an egg. I have geese as noise makers. Cheaper than guard dogs, and ganders nearly as frightening. Yep, raising American Guinea Hogs. DAMedinNY does also IIRC.

    2. Anony Mee just a few thoughts from my Grandmothers experience during the Great Depression back when they were destroying milk and critters to “Keep Up Famers Prices”. They had to move their livestock when the local sheriff let them know the Feds were visiting. Everybody hid each others cows until they left. Back then they used to tether train-feed their cows. So moving them was easy.

      Today Snitches are a problem, make your neighbors your allies. My friend locally has chickens in the middle of town. Built a SOUND PROOF Chicken House with baffled ventilation to mute the noises. Keeps it very clean and a busy compost pile to “Show” where that smell comes from if asked. Gives a couple of eggs to close neighbors so they don’t want to turn them in.

      I would think about a mobile sound proofed coop so when the Sherriff lets you know they are looking in your area you can move it and leave behind in the Fixed Chicken Coop a badly mangled chicken and complaining about those Damn Foxes etc. Not every inspector is a trained chicken farmer, most I hope are diversity hires that KNOW Bears are IN the Woods :-).

      People are people, the weak link in most situations.

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