Author Topic: Lets talk OPSEC...  (Read 4786 times)

Offline Amerigo

  • Survivor
  • ***
  • Posts: 126
  • Karma: 14
Lets talk OPSEC...
« on: January 23, 2011, 01:09:34 PM »
Chime in with your interpretation and *implementation* (key word there) of OPSEC.  Describe how you handle certain situations.  I will give a few examples my wife and I have been trying to deal with.

1) A couple of friends my wife works with wants to go shooting with us on Saturday.  They know we have a shotgun and a .22 (two guns that average people own).  They don't know we will be getting an AR15 (one of those "assault rifles") this week, and I'm thinking about keeping it that way.  This guy isn't opposed to "assault rifles", he showed me video of him and his dad shooting MP5's and other fun toys.  But is this where I draw the line for OPSEC?

2) I have a good friend who owns an AR, but he just plinks with it.  He owns many other firearms, but he has no prepper mentality at all.  Do I tell him I bought one and go shooting with him?

3) We like to share with friends and family our philosophy of "self-sufficient living".  We'd love it if all of our friends and family caught on to the idea.  But where do you balance teaching others and keeping your preps a secret?  Do you just downplay your preps, for example, "We try to keep a month's supply of food" (when in reality you have a year's).  Or do you just make vague statements without specifying quantity, for example, "We try to stock as much food as we feel we might need in a disaster".  My wife started a "self-reliant living" group at our church.  How much does she share?   

4) Regarding firearms OPSEC:  There was a case a few miles south of where I live where an older gentleman was killed. After a long investigation, it turns out that two random guys found out that this gentleman had a good amount of firearms.  They killed him for his firearms that night.  It's easy for that info to spread.  My wife has a friend who is in no way a prepper and doesn't care to be, however, her brother has a MASSIVE arsenal in case SHTF.  Since she thinks its silly, she has told us about this.  If I were the scummy type, I could now find out where he lives and go get those firearms myself.

How do you plan and execute your OPSEC?   

Offline Darkwinter

  • Junior Evil Overlord
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *
  • Posts: 2171
  • Karma: 116
  • Has his wife's permission
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2011, 01:25:59 PM »
While I understand you concern, I don't share it completely.

Most people know what I do for a living and they know my approximate income level.  I don't tell anyone how much money I have in the bank, but I don't hide who I am.  

I have the same mentality with firearms.  If you are not comfortable letting people know the specifics then don't.  But you might miss out on the opportunity to meet some people and to netowork.  Especially with those that already shoot similar firearms.

I have taken several non shooters out to the range to fire the 9MM.  Most have enjoyed the experience and are considering a purchase for themselves.  Just something to consider.

Along with prepping, I do tell people to have basic preps.  And most people know I have basic preps.  Like a lights out kit, or a winter storm kit.  But they don't know the extent of my preps, and they wont.  There is no reason to give anyone a shoping list of your assets and a treasure map to thier location.  But no one can do it alone.  It is nice to build a community, when you can.

While it doesn't directly discuss OPSEC http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/building-community-with-marjory-wildcraft
this is worth a listen!
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 01:41:44 PM by Darkwinter »

Offline 4bull

  • The Pumpkin Whisperer
  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 765
  • Karma: 70
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2011, 01:57:14 PM »
Amerigo, if you are not confident in these people , dont ,loose lipe sink ships.
Its your choice and no man can control what there wife says ever, you can try to warn her, but good luck.
Kids are the worst cant keep there mouth shut.
It all on you , what you think and do. all of these people are going to talk about you and what you do any way.
   I open carrie in a small town ,they all know i mean what i say. ive help sell guns for others out of by busness, and ammo.
I buy in bulk, and trade just about everthing . there are lots of people that are not confortable with me and thats just fine.
Being the gray man is just to hard today everone know your busness . where you go, what you do,what you have ,and where.
try some thing be vage for a month then see what questions the people you know ask. that will tell you what they know.
 then look around and pick some one you see and tell your self everthing you know about them ,do you know them ,how are they dressed,
any bumper stickers, yes judge them , what foot were . then look at your self ,we give are selves away all the time.
OPSEC is hard to do any time.        just randumb thoughts

Offline TexDaddy

  • TSP Goat Wrangling Geezer. He is EVIL also.
  • Moderator On Leave
  • Forum Veteran
  • *
  • Posts: 12300
  • Karma: 265
  • I live in Texas. What country are you from?
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2011, 02:08:50 PM »
We don't talk about our preps very often. Certainly not the extent and all the reasons.

As far as the black rifle goes, it depends. For instance, at the range I frequent, there is never any shortage of people with every kind of black rifle you can imagine, from straight ARs and AKs to some really amazing Frakenguns. If they are rare at your range, probably keep it away. If they are common, I wouldn't worry about it. But, as always, you must do what YOU are comfortable with.

Offline soupbone

  • Once made a pun out of "Mephistopheles"
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2446
  • Karma: 146
  • If you think you're close enough - get closer.
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2011, 03:29:02 PM »
One aspect of OPSEC is Need To Know. If its someone I trust and they have a need to know, I'll share. Otherwise, I keep my mouth shut. My close friends are the same way: we are very close friends with a lady who is a very active shooter, instructor and instructor trainer. We have known her for over 30 years, and I still do not know how many firearms she has or where she keeps them. She has never volunteered this information and I have never asked. It is none of my buisness.

Additionally, the shooting community I grew up in has certain ethics, or standards, if you will. If you want me to know the extent of your armory, you will tell me on your own; it is very impolite to ask. This is not to say that they are a bunch of paranoid freaks - far from it. Advice and general information is readily and willingly shared, stories are told, and help is available for the more mechanical or technical projects a hobbiest might want to undertake. Within reason, and the law: doing something or asking for assistance for something illegal just isn't done - its not part of our psyches.

This extends to other preparedness issues as well. Its one thing to let people know you'll be OK for a major power outage or winter storm, another to let them know you can feed a family of 4 well for 9 months with stuff you have stored. You can talk about how much ammonium nitrate you till into your garden, but not how to make ANFO. You get the picture.

So before I'd open my mouth, I'd ask myself how much do they need to know and why, and then keep personal information to the absolute minimum.

soupbone

Offline mootz

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 34
  • Karma: 1
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2011, 08:12:31 PM »
As far as shooting an AR with questionable people, I wouldn't be too concerned with it.  However, it's what you say and do in relation to it that could lead to predispositions.  So, shooting with a 10 rd mag and down playing your knowledge of tactics, forseeable futures, etc. would be different than showing up with (10) 30 rounders and your strong willingness to go zombie hunting.  It's a double edge sword to show somebody your rifle; you have one that could be stolen from you and the other side would be that the suspect could also be shot with the same said weapon.

With my extended family, my OPSEC is blown.  I'm in CA and 99% of my relatives don't agree with my views.  So, I'm careful what I say, but word does get around from the 1%.  I'm always downplaying at get-togethers.  As preppers, we only have to be right once to sway opinion from the non-believers.  It's just about become a game for me now.  With the advent of the social websites, OPSEC is even worse, thanks to some in my family.

All I do now is try to educate my immediate family about posting and saying things about my prepping.  But my bottom line is not to act as if the TEOTWAWKI is around the bend, but act as my relatives, friends, acquaintances do.  I feel I've communicated my ideas already, but if/when it goes down, actions will be way louder than words.  I can only imagine the call or the look on a face if/when it goes down.  Not that I would'nt help, but the one second pause when I respond will say it all.

Offline TNVolunteer

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 456
  • Karma: 24
  • Ad Vitam Paramus
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2011, 03:19:29 PM »
For me, the key is moderation.  Exercise your noodle.  Its great to have a boatload of preps but one thing I've learned is that I cannot exist in a vacuum.  I'm not saying you take out a bill board with all your info on it, but in the process of developing your preps and especially developing skills, you will meet people.  Some of those people may be good to know. Getting to know them requires a certain amount of info exchange, just stay within what is appropriate or what you feel comfortable with.  Seems to me like uber strict OPSEC can limit rather than ehance your preps.

nkawtg

  • Guest
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2011, 03:40:54 PM »
Is this discussion just about prep or firearm opsec?
Another consideration is smartphone opsec particularly the iPhones or Adnoids.

Here is a little info to help mitigate any communications OPSEC concernse you may have:
http://dmna.state.ny.us/members/geotagging.pdf

endurance

  • Guest
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2011, 03:57:29 PM »
Some very good points already made.  What stands out is the importance of your local environment, local socio-politics, and economics.  If you're in a place where lots of people have guns, an AR-15 doesn't stand out as a 'scary black gun', and the economy isn't in the crapper, 'tis better to network.  However, if you're in an area where the sight of an AR draws gasps, the discussion of guns brings whispers in the office along with a discussion with Ned from corporate HR, or things are so tough that burglaries are through the roof, keep it to yourself.

Personally, I'd rather convert a few of my liberal friends a year by talking them into a day at the range than worry about what might happen.  Nobody knows everything I own, most people I know know that I own more than one gun.  While there is some exposure with that, I do have to take a shower every day and last year over 600 people were killed in the US from slipping in the shower. :o

Offline Citizen Zero

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 250
  • Karma: 50
  • Rural Dweller
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2011, 04:49:09 PM »
Another aspect to consider are those that are curious and ask even though it is not polite, your evasion of their question can be just as telling to those that wish to know. Have a practiced answer available if you are confronted with a situation like that.

I should also touch on electronic communications, like those here in the forums. The presentation posted by nkawtg points out the fact that posting pics of your preps here can literally give away their location to those that are looking for sweet spots to pillage before or after SHTF.

OPSEC is important in many facets of your daily life, the digital revolution has made it way too easy to dig up information on people that was not available so easily jsut ten years ago.


nkawtg

  • Guest
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2011, 07:15:29 PM »
Exactly the point I was making, we all follow some sort of OPSEC, but the stuff right under our nose often bites us in the behind.

Offline slingblade

  • Survivalist Mentor
  • *****
  • Posts: 333
  • Karma: 10
  • I aim to kill you with it.
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2011, 12:16:24 PM »
How do you plan and execute your OPSEC?  

Seriously, here's how to plan and execute OPSEC:


nkawtg

  • Guest
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2011, 12:51:30 PM »
Seriously, here's how to plan and execute OPSEC:



EXACTLY

Offline Docwatmo

  • May Ignite Spontaneously
  • Administrator
  • Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 8667
  • Karma: 258
  • The Prepper Rising from the Ashes
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2011, 02:41:58 PM »
OPSEC is a bit misleading.  OPSEC is Operational Security and applies to a specific operation or area of operations.  OPCSEC can not be applied uniformly across the board to all operations, tasks, situations etc. 

Therefor OPSEC is what you determine it needs to be for a specific task.  We don't live in a vacuum and can't operate entirely under 100% OPSEC or we could not communicate.

Your OPSEC level concerning your personal medical information, verses your weapons collection (Do you have weapons you never take to the range for OPSEC Reasons) may be different than your food (You have a visible garden you can't hide) etc, etc.

There really is no 1 answer to OPSEC.

Every decision on operational security has to be made individually. 

Just some ramblings form an old ADA commsec operator

Doc

 


Offline soupbone

  • Once made a pun out of "Mephistopheles"
  • Survival Demonstrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 2446
  • Karma: 146
  • If you think you're close enough - get closer.
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2011, 04:06:50 PM »
Doc,

I hear what you are saying, and I kind of agree with you, but.......

One of the things I've noticed in my time here is the adoption of certain military acronyms and buzz words to fit the community's needs. Most of the time, it works but on occasion it makes the person with a military background go "huh?". Usually, I can figure it out, although Army specialty codes leave me scratching my head "I was a 17Echo Foxtrot 1Golf......", what's that - a mess kit repairman? :impatient:

I spent half a career in an Air Guard RED HORSE Squadron. Unlike the Army Reserve Forces, our mission required us to be rapidly deployable worldwide on short notice - our unofficial motto was "Out the Gate In 48", hours, that is.
Because of this, we kept tab on what was happening worldwide and where we might be going. We operated in a constant OPSEC mode. I won't go into specifics as to how we did this - that would violate OPSEC and COMSEC principles.  ;)

A person preparing for whatever is in the same boat as we were - we knew something was going to happen and we would be involved; we just didn't know what it was or when it would happen. Speculating, especially to someone outside of our community - the Squadron - was discouraged. Loose lips sink ships" and all of that.

So, I will stick by my previous comment of constant OPSEC based on Need To Know.

soup


Offline Docwatmo

  • May Ignite Spontaneously
  • Administrator
  • Survival Veteran
  • *******
  • Posts: 8667
  • Karma: 258
  • The Prepper Rising from the Ashes
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2011, 05:46:24 PM »
I hear ya Soup,  And agree.  I did a stint as part of a NATO rapid deployment team and we had 1 hour call and on plane with trucks and equipment in 6 hours.  It was one of those really cool, but really tough assignments and we were under constant scrutiny and being tested on OPSEC constantly to ensure nobody was slipping up.  They had a couple of really professional people scattered throughout the group testing people.  It was weird because we had Marines, SAS, AF and Army and a couple of other NATO units with us and each group had its own "Set".  And nobody could know the other groups info until we hit the hanger and had our full group briefing. (but we were all mixed together the entire time which made it a more difficult test).  Fun stuff but its most definitely hard as hell to operate in that state of OPSEC for extended periods of time.   

Need to know is a good principle and I agree whole heartedly with it.  And you are dead on,  I pulled the ole "Huh?" on the thread concerning OPSEC. LOL

 

 

Offline donaldj

  • Dedicated Contributor
  • ******
  • Posts: 1384
  • Karma: 87
    • Keep and Bear, LLC
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2011, 06:24:52 PM »
Chime in with your interpretation and *implementation* (key word there) of OPSEC.  Describe how you handle certain situations.  I will give a few examples my wife and I have been trying to deal with.

1) A couple of friends my wife works with wants to go shooting with us on Saturday.  They know we have a shotgun and a .22 (two guns that average people own).  They don't know we will be getting an AR15 (one of those "assault rifles") this week, and I'm thinking about keeping it that way.  This guy isn't opposed to "assault rifles", he showed me video of him and his dad shooting MP5's and other fun toys.  But is this where I draw the line for OPSEC?

2) I have a good friend who owns an AR, but he just plinks with it.  He owns many other firearms, but he has no prepper mentality at all.  Do I tell him I bought one and go shooting with him?

3) We like to share with friends and family our philosophy of "self-sufficient living".  We'd love it if all of our friends and family caught on to the idea.  But where do you balance teaching others and keeping your preps a secret?  Do you just downplay your preps, for example, "We try to keep a month's supply of food" (when in reality you have a year's).  Or do you just make vague statements without specifying quantity, for example, "We try to stock as much food as we feel we might need in a disaster".  My wife started a "self-reliant living" group at our church.  How much does she share?   

4) Regarding firearms OPSEC:  There was a case a few miles south of where I live where an older gentleman was killed. After a long investigation, it turns out that two random guys found out that this gentleman had a good amount of firearms.  They killed him for his firearms that night.  It's easy for that info to spread.  My wife has a friend who is in no way a prepper and doesn't care to be, however, her brother has a MASSIVE arsenal in case SHTF.  Since she thinks its silly, she has told us about this.  If I were the scummy type, I could now find out where he lives and go get those firearms myself.

How do you plan and execute your OPSEC?   

OPSEC, to me, is not revealing the extent of my preps to people who are likely to think about taking advantage of them later.

So, my pot smoking brother in law doesn't know anything I do, because if SHTF he'd just come here and I'd have to turn him away, then listen to my wife cry for the next few weeks. My brother, who does a bit of prepping, has a few guns and knows how to use them, would be an asset. He'd be welcome.

There's a big difference between what you're calling OPSEC and networking.  Your examples:

1) Go shooting. If you don't have your AR by then you might not mention it and feel them out on their opinions. If you do have it, maybe take it and sight it in? Maybe they've had some training on it they're willing to share. I really doubt knowing you own a very common rifle is going to "out" you as a prepper. I know lots of people that have guns and aren't.

2) Yes. Have you talked about prepping with him to feel it out? "Man, the way things are going I'm thinking of getting a couple thousand rounds for this thing."   Listen to his reply. If it's just about the cost of ammo, then he's your shootin' buddy.  If he brings up "beans, bullets, and bandaids", then you might have a new prepping friend in the making.

3) Self reliant stuff you can focus on how to make food, skills, etc, without going into the long term storage aspect for now. As the group evolves, see what they get into. Of course, canning and dehydrating can be brought up, and should be taught. Next thing you know, they are prepping a bit without even having to label it as such.  "Old fashion self reliance" and "survivalism and preparedness" have a lot in common. Market it accordingly.

4) My wife knows not to talk to people I dont know about our defense tools. That is an example of their opsec failure. That woman needs to be told to zip it in a serious way. She's endangering their home.


All this being said, don't let a notion of what you're calling OPSEC stand in the way of you learning, networking, or even teaching others. Trust your gut. It's pretty easy to read who are the grasshoppers and who are the ants.

Offline Omega Man

  • Prepper
  • **
  • Posts: 23
  • Karma: 3
  • I've got a bad feeling about this...
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2011, 12:11:31 PM »
Chime in with your interpretation and *implementation* (key word there) of OPSEC.  Describe how you handle certain situations.  I will give a few examples my wife and I have been trying to deal with.

1) A couple of friends my wife works with wants to go shooting with us on Saturday.  They know we have a shotgun and a .22 (two guns that average people own).  They don't know we will be getting an AR15 (one of those "assault rifles") this week, and I'm thinking about keeping it that way.  This guy isn't opposed to "assault rifles", he showed me video of him and his dad shooting MP5's and other fun toys.  But is this where I draw the line for OPSEC?

Yes, this is where you draw the line.  There is no need to disclose your higher firepower preps to others, who may reveal them to yet more people during the course of casual conversation.  Why risk it?

Quote
2) I have a good friend who owns an AR, but he just plinks with it.  He owns many other firearms, but he has no prepper mentality at all.  Do I tell him I bought one and go shooting with him?
  Do you need a shooting partner?

Quote
3) We like to share with friends and family our philosophy of "self-sufficient living".  We'd love it if all of our friends and family caught on to the idea.  But where do you balance teaching others and keeping your preps a secret?  Do you just downplay your preps, for example, "We try to keep a month's supply of food" (when in reality you have a year's).  Or do you just make vague statements without specifying quantity, for example, "We try to stock as much food as we feel we might need in a disaster".  My wife started a "self-reliant living" group at our church.  How much does she share? 

I try to keep my pantry full, in case I'm sick or injured and can't make it to the store.  I never give numbers and make sure I don't say anything that the anti-preppers could use to label me a "fruit cake".  

Quote
4) Regarding firearms OPSEC:  There was a case a few miles south of where I live where an older gentleman was killed. After a long investigation, it turns out that two random guys found out that this gentleman had a good amount of firearms.  They killed him for his firearms that night.  It's easy for that info to spread.  My wife has a friend who is in no way a prepper and doesn't care to be, however, her brother has a MASSIVE arsenal in case SHTF.  Since she thinks its silly, she has told us about this.  If I were the scummy type, I could now find out where he lives and go get those firearms myself.

Exactly the reason I suggested above that you don't advertise what you have.  Anyone who finds out and thinks you are nuts or just silly, will laugh and tell their friends about the "loon" they know...and possibly get you killed without even realizing it.

Its not worth the risk to advertise.  I know some folks are proud of their self sufficiency accomplishments, but bragging can get you killed.

Quote
How do you plan and execute your OPSEC? 

I haven't got a pot to pee in, I'm penniless, I don't know where my next meal is coming from, I can't find work, the gov is threatening to cut off my food stamps...oh woe is me.

I don't care how many years worth of food, thousands of dollars of firearms or how big a pile of money I have...my standard line never changes.  So far, no burglar has ever took an interest in my home.

Offline Kayzonara

  • Senior Survivalist
  • ****
  • Posts: 294
  • Karma: 23
  • No power in the 'verse can stop me being cheerful
Re: Lets talk OPSEC...
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2011, 11:20:24 AM »
Team Vague over here.  I may point out possible effects of a pandemic and how silly it is to wait till the day of a major snowstorm to go shovel-shopping, but that's about it. I actually found out an acquaintance of mine is something of a prepper that way, though she wouldn't call herself that.

She simply comes from a long line of people who knew how to stretch a dollar with storing/preserving/growing food, knowing their way around a needle and thread and stocking up when things are on sale.

If you never reveal anything you may miss out on possibly valuable relationships.  Yapping too much could mean disaster.