OP-SEC, operational security, protecting you and yours. What ever you want to call it, it is a necessary part of our prepping plans. Having 2 years of food, and 30,000 rounds of ammo for your shotgun and enough medical supplies to run a small hospital for a year won’t do you any good if you can’t keep it safe from people who want to take if from you. If you are a fan of the show Doomsday Preppers, and watched this season, episode 3 I believe there was a guy who’s prepping plan was to be a marauder, to come and take the stuff that other preppers have and leave them with nothing. Luckily this person was an utter idiot, and announced this to the world on national television, and happened to have a felony record and was arrested and put in prison shortly after the episode aired. Unfortunately, you can count of the fact that for every idiot like him there are 10 who aren’t so stupid and plan to do this with out telling us about it.
We all prep for different reasons, and for different scenarios. Each one has a different set of rules for security. Total collapse, civil unrest, pandemic, financial collapse, natural disaster, even alien invasion, each one a valid scenario, each one has it’s own rules for how you need to secure your location, and how far you need to go. I’m not going to go into a great amount of detail for each scenario, but I will go over the basics, and how they could apply to a couple situations.
I am no expert on tactics or on security, I do have professional experience with physical security having worked in the security field for both private and government physical security. In short, what I am sharing are my opinions and what I have learned from other sources, and I will include those sources at the end of this article.
The basics of security are these, first and foremost Situational Awareness, be aware of what and who are around you. One of the biggest take aways I got from James Wesley Rawles, is that prepping is a community activity. Get to know your neighbors, get to know them well, if they are interested, and willing, get them involved in your prepping plans, and group. If you involve them early and often, then when the SHTF, everyone is on the same page. Know the area where you are going to be hold up, know the people around you and the likely lines of drift in a mass migration scenario. Know the land you are on and the land around you, all of the ways in and out of that area both by vehicle, and by foot. Geography can be a great force multiplier. If you are building a retreat from the ground up, take into account the view, both into and out of where you want to build. The first law of camouflage is that if you can see your target, your target can see you. Always remember that no matter how bad ass you think you and your group are, math is reality, if you are out numbered, numbers usually win eventually. Keep in mind emergency bugout, how to get you and the barest essentials out of your retreat and mobile if you absolutely must.
Next is tactical operation. This is my term for basic modis operendi. How are you going to operate under the circumstances you find your self in. In a pandemic situation, you are going to operate differently than you are in a complete WROL (without rule of law) situation. Have an idea of what is your Area of Operation (AO), and within that AO, what are your responsibilities? in a complete grid down, total societal collapse, you are not only responsible for keeping your group safe but to a certain extent, you must take on the role of law enforcement. If you come across a group of looters, or worse rapists, what do you do, what is your moral, ethical obligation? How do you deal with that if and when the time comes?
Next is Operational capability. This is one of the hardest to quantify, because it necessitates intense realistic self and group examination. Can you secure your entire location with the people you have. How well trained are the people in your group? How much training have you done together, can you work as a small unit in a fight? Wishing, and self deception are your enemy here. Thinking that you are an expert in small unit tactics and can work and fight together as well as a SEAL team because you have all read the “Ranger Handbook” from cover to cover 5 times each, but have never gone out in the field to practice what you read is a sure fire way to get you and your group dead with a quickness. In a lot of cases, particularly with small groups the biggest problem is numbers. You just don’t have the numbers to put out a two day scouting patrol, and keep the location secure. You have to be realistic on what you have the numbers, equipment, and skills and know how to be able to effectively accomplish. Be realistic and honest with your selves when you are self evaluating Sometimes it is humbling to realize that you may not be the raging bad ass you thought you were, but at least you will acknowledging a short coming before you are confronted by a situation that you will have to deal with, and be able to respond in an appropriate manner. Not to mention that acknowledging a weakness allows you to do something about it, train harder or differently to strengthen that weakness.
Ok, so let’s bring all that together into a workable OP-SEC plan for a couple different scenarios.
First scenario, infectious agent pandemic. Let’s say that the h1n1 virus has mutated and gone crazy. It’s starting to make the Spanish flu look like the sniffles. The authorities have set up quarantine zones, and have stopped travel between zones, meaning that you are stuck where you are, and must shelter in place. This greatly simplifies the job of security in some ways in that you not only don’t have to patrol, but it would be much better to not patrol due to the risk of contagion. Safe food and water are going to be the greatest assets a person can have, and will need to protect. You will need to keep outsiders from getting into your location for several reasons, one you don’t want them to know what and how much you have, normally a virus or bacterial contagion will burn itself out in a matter of weeks or months. Having ample food and water for that length of time will make you a target if the have not’s find out you have. Two, you don’t want to risk contagion, so unless you are ready for this kind of thing and have hazmat airlocks and quarantine facilities in your home, this is something you want to avoid. This brings up involving prepping with your neighbors, it is a double edge sword, if they are of like mind, and join you in prepping, great, that makes you stronger, but if they are not, they know you are, and they have some idea of what you have and could use that to get special favors from the police forces, or government agencies that are in control of your local area. So, this makes building security, and access the biggest concern.
Scenario two, Total Economic Collapse. In this scenario, the economy takes a hit that it can’t recover from, hyper inflation hits, a loaf of breat costs $300, if you can find a store that is still open. The government has run to their shelters, the military is imposing martial law everywhere they can manage it, you bug out to your retreat ahead of the crash, and are quietly sipping tea when the power grids go down, and chaos erupts in the streets of every city and large town in the country, people are streaming out of major metropolitan areas in droves, like a plague of locusts devouring everything in their path. Now it just got real. You have your location, and need to make sure that the golden horde don’t destroy everything you have worked hard to build and secure. You need to set up observation/listening posts, set up patrols to make sure that you are keeping the wrong people out of your AO, and that what laws you decide to impose in your AO are being followed. You need to make sure you have a viable means of communications, backups for those means of communications, even if it is smoke signals. Colored smoke grenades can be had online at many different locations for reasonable prices,and can be seen during the day for miles in the right conditions. You have to decide how forceful will you be with protecting your AO, how do you respond to government forces, looters, refugees, shoot on sight, don’t shoot unless fired upon, you have more than you could possibly use in a life time, take in as many people as you can to bolster your numbers. These are all considerations you need to take into account when devising your security plans.
Several of my prepping group are either current, or ex-military, so we tend to take a stance that reflects that training, and philosophy. Also our religious views are very similar, so moral decisions are usually pretty unanimous. We are very similar in most of thing important things that make up security,and our prepping philosophy. One thing that I would recommend for groups that are planning on working together, is to get the card game Conflicted. This is a great way to find out where everyone in your group stands on things, and gives you the opportunity to discuss it, and find out before it’s too late whether or not everyone is a good match for your group. A good deal of my information came from Survival blog by James Wesley Rawles, or his books “How to Survive the End of theh World as We Know It.” and “Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse”.
The website Every Citizen a Soldier for his outstanding array of information and training and informational videos.
As always, keep safe out there, and see you on the other side.