OPSEC: It Begins With You

I’ve been hammering OPSEC during the Blog so far and these next few entries aren’t going to be any different.  I believe OPSEC is the key to many things – but first and foremost it’s a basic key element of security and Rural Security is what this blogs all about.  Plus it’s just than damn important.

So for SnG let’s define OPSEC again in simple terms:  OPSEC is the process by which you keep  information about you and yours from those that don’t have a clear need to know from finding out.  Why not just the threat?  I’ll illustrate that in this entry.

If you read the entry about OPSEC and EEFI then you should have a basic understanding of what EEFI is.  That EEFI has different levels as I illustrated.  Inter-family (within the family only knowledge) Inter-Tribal (ditto at the Tribal level), and possibly even among your Tribe and other entities.  For this entry I’m going to focus on the lowest common element the Family.

Ya know I have an observation here and I may be wrong but I don’t think I am.  People like to brag and show their toys off.  Kinda basic human nature to prove “I’m better than you” at some core psychological level.  But whatever.  I’ll avoid the whole Freudian stchik for now.     So what do I mean showing their toys off?  How many preppers have you seen post pics of their preps?  Firearms out the wazzoo, ammo stacked in safes and closets, pantries with bulging shelves, bug out vehicles that look like something out of Mad Max.  I see it all the time.  On one hand it’s good that this kind of stuff is out there – some folks will see that as an example and if it’s a good one then bravo.  On the other hand it’s pretty fricking dangerous.  Let’s say you post on some forums or some kind of social media and post pics of your guns, lists of your preps and loadouts and then go shooting with a couple of local guys on that forum or have a BBQ, or let your relatives see it, whatever.  They now know what you have and probably your real name.  Take that name and if they know what city you live in they can get your address – it’s pretty damn elementary.  Folks please don’t post this kind of info without taking some serious safeguards.   Better yet don’t post it at all.  OPSEC.

One of the great things about living in a rural setting is in most cases no one can see you unload those sacks of rice or that case of ammo.  But the folks that do see it are the clerk and your friends at the store you bought it at.  Think about that and consider it might be a good idea to hit the Sams up in another city instead of the Wally world in your town for the 50 lb. sack or two dozen of rice.  I use a general rule of thumb – I don’t shop for any preps in my closest town.  Same thing with firearms –  I don’t buy anything no matter how good the deal from anyone that lives close by (most of the face to face deals I do involve at least an hour or two drive).  try thinking twice about that guy that’s coming over to buy that Mav88 from you.  Maybe it’s more prudent to do that deal at his house or a neutral location.  But what about his OPSEC?  Screw his OPSEC you’re worried about yours.  If he’s keen then he’ll avoid doing that deal at his house as well.

Another thing you need to realize is that some resources are finite.  Things like medical supplies, fuel, equipment, batteries, etc are going to be hard to replace until you develop or implement a way to make them, find an alternative means, or do without.

What about family and friends?  I use Ruleset #1:  Friend is an association that is dictated by the current state of affairs in our environment.  Family is only slightly better.  Neighbor is a geographic term that may or may not be associated with either.  Huh?  Here, let me explain.  Say you are really proud of your preps – you’ve invested hundreds if not thousands of bucks in guns, ammo, food, etc.  You show it off to your Cousin, friend, or neighbor Dave.  Dave doesn’t prep and thinks that uncle sugar will bail his ass out in a pinch if SHTF.  Dave may believe and agree with you something is looming on the horizon but be damned if he’s going to let prepping cut into his beer money.  So all hell breaks loose and four days later  no .Gov help has arrived and Dave shows up at your doorstep with his starving kids begging for some food because he knows “You’ve got a huge stash”.  He also wants to borrow a rifle and some ammo and needs some fuel for his truck.

Decision point time:  Do you let him have what he needs or turn him away and tell him he’s SOL?  He could be family after all and those kids look hungry enough that they’d probably eat the backside out of a skunk raw.  Here’s where you need to have a cool head and even lie if necessary.  IMHO you have three options at this point.  So let’s do some Course of Action (CoA) thinking here.

COA 1 is we give Dave what he needs.  Upside:  He’s gone.  Downside:  He’ll probably be back and may have a big mouth.

COA2:  Give him a little and tell him you didn’t really have that much as you’ve been using it all along. Upside: he’s gone.  Downside: He’ll be back, he’ll probably be pissed at you, and he may have a big mouth.

COA3:  Tell him you tried to give him advice to prep to start with and tell him to pound sand.  Upside:  He’ll leave.  Downside:  He’ll probably be really pissed (maybe even to the point of violence), and he’ll surely have a big mouth when it comes to that “stingy bastard or bitch” and “All the food and stuff they’re hoarding”.

So COA 1 or 2 will ultimately result in a return visit by Dave and that process will go on and on until you haven’t got anything left to give him.  At which point he’ll either get belligerent or probably forget he ever knew you when you need help.   COA 3 will return a similar result expect probably go directly to the ending.

Here’s where I’m going to go back into some human nature.  As people get even more hungry they will become even more desperate.  Things like watching your kids starve will make you desperate.  And desperation makes men (and women) take desperate measures.  I’ll bet you money right now that if Dave was watching his kids cry because they are hungry and his wife is giving him hell to get out and find them some food and he knew you had a stash within a day or two any positive relationship you would have with Dave (including familial) will go out the window.  If he gets desperate enough he will eventually develop the mindset “Screw you and your family”  and try to take what he needs by force.

Now we have to deal with another possibility common to all the COAs.  Dave might have a big mouth.  And let’s say Dave’s neighbors are at his place and notice he has food and question him about it.  Is he going to keep his big mouth shut and protect you?  Possibly in the face of violence?  I ain’t willing to bet on it cousins or not.  So maybe he tells his neighbors and they skip his place and come knocking on your door.  Our leech web has just gotten larger and probably a bit more dangerous.

Bad situation, eh?  So what’s the best way to handle it?  Honestly by not getting into it in the first place.  Keep your preps to yourself and tell your family to do likewise.  Go ahead and advise your cousin/friend/neighbor Dave.  But for God’s sake and the security of your family don’t show it to them, don’t tell them what or how much you have, or where it’s located if it’s cached.  You’ve got to focus on you and yours survival first.  This is why I advocate having some kind of Tribal council to handle issues like this.  Keep the knowledge of needs within a tightly controlled group and fill those needs as anonymously as possible preferably spread amongst the tribe with a plan to avoid it happening in the future.  After all you don’t want a continuous bailout case in the tribe.

So what if you prep for others?  That’s a noble thing.  I really don’t do it.  Sure I have extra but it’s going to take some damn serious need to get me to help and then I ain’t going to just hand it out like candy.  If you do prep for others then please take the time to think out any possible scenario that would require you handing out those preps.

Folks this is a mentality that the entire tribe should adopt.  If you have a relationship with a friend/neighbor/relative that provides for you and them to mutually support each other and you feel it can continue without any issues then by all means do so.  But that relationship should be kept quiet.  Remember, this is a tribe and not a commune.  If a family in the tribe isn’t self sufficient then the council should look at ways they can get them to self sufficiency.  But a constant stream of handouts is to be avoided.

The “keep it in the family” secret is paramount to your family’s survival.  Think about that next time you go to post pics, blab about your huge food stash, talk about how much fuel you have on hand, or whatever.  You have to realize that some sources are going to be finite – especially things like medical supplies.   And if you hand those resources out like pez then you may not have them when you need them.

Another topic you need to keep in the family is any defensive measures you’ve taken to harden your homestead.  I’m not going to get in the weeds about that as there’s an entire series about it but things like where you emplace wire, your bug out route when the Goths breach your doorstep, exterior emergency lighting, alarms, etc.  all need to be kept at your level.  Now this is assuming you haven’t gone and put something on someone elses land – frankly I’m against that without some careful planning and coordination but it might be so.  That probably needs to be shared with whomever is going to be on that plot (that’s an example of Tribal OPSEC).

As I’ve stated before:

FAILURE TO CONTROL EEFI SPILLAGE BY FAILING TO IMPLEMENT OPSEC PUTS YOUR TRIBE  (AND FAMILY) AT RISK.

A little forethought with the mentality “How can this endanger me, my family, or my tribe?” before you put info out there can go a long way amigos.

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About Treaded

Semi-retired career and contract troop. I own and maintain my own small ranch out here in beautiful rural America.
This entry was posted in Security Planning. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to OPSEC: It Begins With You

  1. Danne says:

    Carrying this a step further, lets say SHTF……..how does One thats adequately prepped hide the disproportionate “comfort” standards from prying eyes? In essence you’re saying keep it all secret ALL the time…follow thru. Following SHTF, certainly, “those” in proximity to an adequately prepped individual/family are going to come snooping/asking as soon as they realize you “have”.
    Thoughts on how to follow-thru???

    • Treaded says:

      Danne, that is one of the beauties about living in a rural area – those prying eyes aren’t twenty feet away in the next driveway they are normally at least a few good couple of hundred meters away and probably have a treeline in between you and them(anything closer and you’re not really living in a rural setting). I don’t know if you live in a rural area or not but it’s generally a given in all of the rural settings I’ve lived in people just don’t come and “snoop” – that’s an invitation to get shot (even nowadays).

      When I get into hardening the homestead I’ll be hitting on measures that can be taken to reduce what I’m going to refer to as your “signature”. But remember: This blog is focused on Rural areas. For anything remotely urban I always refer folks to Selcos Blog @ SHTF School.

      • Danne says:

        Agreed. “Snooping” was probably a poor choice of words on my part…it’s indeed a fast track to being shot on the spot in alot of situations. Still, even in rural areas there remains a need after SHTF to keep a low profile. Look forward to future insights/thoughts RE: rural strategy/tactics.

      • Redleg says:

        REALLY looking forward to the home hardening stuff!!!

    • Battlefield USA says:

      Don’t give anyone the impression that you are living the good life Danne. Be scruffy. Maybe wear clothes a size or two big. Don’t keep up you yard… in fact, sling a few unwanted items about. Don’t be “happy.” Absorb your surroundings.

  2. Pingback: LF: OPSEC – It Begins With You | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  3. RegT says:

    Read “A Distant Eden”, available for $0.99 at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/A-Distant-Eden-ebook/dp/B007ODDGUC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1337215597&sr=1-1)

    He covers the significance of Opsec and others knowing your state of preparation. You may not like the answers he comes up with, but he gives excellent reasons for how his protagonists deal with the issue. A quick and easy read that should give you some good ideas for handling opsec and for getting your family through a SHTF scenario alive and healthy.

    • Treaded says:

      I read it and generally wasn’t too impressed. The author is upfront he’s not into character development but rather presents this as a piece of “Survival Fiction” intended to serve as sort of a manual. It’s a good light fiction read for .99 but overall it reeks of urban survival methodology. Probably a better read for folks that plan on bugging out of the city than for rural folks defending their homesteads. OPSEC wise it’s light and it presents some issues that more than likely would get the group killed through their actions in the book.

  4. E says:

    I have to admit I have failed at some of this in small ways before, but over all, I think my OpSec is ok.

  5. Red Dog says:

    For home hardening, how about Hesco Barriers made out of Woven Fence Wire and Landscaping cloth or plastic tarps. You can make more of a courtyard with razor wire on top if needed. It will stop an RPG.

  6. Sam says:

    Excellent points. Sadly, I currently find myself running a damage control/misinformation campaign after a serious breach of trust by someone I truly thought was a good friend, neighbor, and fellow prepper……….someone I’ve known for years. Three can keep a secret if two are dead – Ben Franklin-

  7. Stan Wilston says:

    I have always told my inner circle that you tell No One about any food storage unless you are either prepared to:
    1) feed them(and their circle) when shtf; or
    2) kill them (and their circle) when the shtf.

    There really arent any other choices when nutcuttin time comes and I desperately want to harm no one.

  8. Pingback: Defense: Farm and Ranch Concealment Theory 101 | The Lizard Farmer

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