How to be a Prepper:
OPSEC 101 for Preppers
Operations Security (OPSEC) and OPSEC Planning should be an important part of learning how to be a prepper for anyone’s life who’s concerned about protecting their family and their livelihood, and that’s just what prepping is all about. But just what is OPSEC anyway? There is a LOT of information out there on the OPSEC Process, OPSEC Plans and everything else as it pertains to Military OPSEC but how does this relate to how to be a prepper? That’s what this series of articles is going to investigate.
The OPSEC Process
OPSEC isn’t just a thing or an end-state; it’s a process. It’s basically a process that helps you protect information about who you are, what you’re doing, what you have, and what your plans are, among other things. It’s a plan to protect information, not to protect infrastructure. According to Army OPSEC training and reference manual AR 530-1 Operations Security OPSEC, the OPSEC process consists of five steps which can apply to any plan, operation, program, project or activity. You’ll need a CAC card to read the details. Marine Corp Order 3070.2 (UNCLASS) states these as:
(a) Identification of Critical Information
(b) Analysis of Threats
(c) Analysis of Vulnerabilities
(d) Assessment of Risk
(e) Application of OPSEC Measures
All that sounds all mumbo-jumbo, and it kind of is. Learning how to be a prepper shouldn’t be so complicated. I’ve gone through the military training, used this stuff on real operations, and even taught the theory at the courses, and that stuff still makes my eyes bleed. Let’s see if we can break it down a little further so it reads more like something other than an encyclopedia.
The Laws of OPSEC
The first rule of OPSEC is that you don’t talk about OPSEC. Ok, that made me giggle when I thought about it so I wrote it. It’s not actually true, but close. A guy named Kurt Haase, who was part of the OPSEC Program at the Department of Energy at the Nevada Operations Office didn’t like the dry explanations of the process the government had so he wrote his own; it is titled the “Laws of 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?” and
- Third Law of OPSEC: “If you are not PROTECTING it . . . THE DRAGON WINS!” (From Operation Purple Dragon, to denote an adversary.)
I don’t know what all that dragon talk is about. All right, I do know, but it’s a little strange. Admiral Ulysses Sharp, the Commander-in-chief of the Pacific Theater during the Viet Nam war coined the term referring to the enemy. One thing I always liked about Sharp’s methods is that he talked about ‘thinking like the wolf.’ Go figure. Essentially, it’s about putting yourself in the shoes of your opponent.
In the case of preppers, this usually means others after a natural disaster when SHTF or even as far as TEOTWAWKI. It’s a much better way to look at the process to understand it but I think it’s just a little too simplistic to really help a prepper to protect their family and their preps before and after SHTF. After years of doing this, here’s what I came up with as an understandable process for Operations Security pertaining to how to be a prepper, which is only a slight variation from these two above and others I’ve seen.
My OPSEC 101 for Preppers Process
So now that we have an understandable process, let’s break these down further into something useful as my own OPSEC Plan for Preppers. Here are the next six sections of this post:
- Step 1: What do you have?
- Step 2: What do you need to protect?
- Step 3: Who do you have to protect it from?
- Step 4: What information would an adversary want to know?
- Step 5: What can they find out that they could use to piece it together?
- Step 6: What could you do to protect those pieces of information from your adversary?