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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Operations Security

Note:  I'm going to be mentioning the militia group in Michigan that was recently arrested by the FBI.  I'm not going to discuss the pros or cons of their group beliefs.  This is a preparedness blog, not a political blog.

The news is loaded with stories about the 9-member militia group primarily based in Michigan.  It is alleged they were planning the murder of a police officer, and the subsequent murders of the police officers that would have attended the funeral.

How did the FBI learn they were planning these murders?  Somewhere along the line, there was a break-down in the Operations Security (OpSec) of the group.

What's OpSec?
Operations security (OPSEC) is a process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by adversary intelligence systems, determines if information obtained by adversaries could be interpreted to be useful to them, and then executes selected measures that eliminate or reduce adversary exploitation of friendly critical information.
As they used to say in World War II, "Loose Lips Sink Ships."  The message being, if you discussed where your ship was sailing, the enemy might be able to use that information to destroy your ship.

OpSec isn't a concept that should be limited to the military/militia.

Think about your preparedness plans and resources.  Why are you prepping?  You're doing it because you believe that there is a reasonable expectation that something bad will happen in the near future.  It might be some sort of natural or man-made disaster.  It might be as mild as a slowly growing rate of inflation, to as severe as a full-blown economic and societal collapse.

Let's say you have stored away 2 years worth of food and water.  You have dozens of guns and tens of thousands of rounds of ammo.  You have stored fuel, PV cells and generators.  Communications, medical supplies, gold, silver and miscellaneous equipment.

In short, you are fully self-sufficient if things go badly.

Let's say you have also told everyone that will listen to your perceived "survivalist rants" exactly how much stuff you have stored, and how clever you've been in also supplying a second "Bug Out" property at your family hunting cabin in the mountains.

If one of the worse-case scenarios happens, who do you think is going to be the target of a great number of non-preppers that are starving because the stores have no more food?  Sure, you might be able to repel the first few interlopers that attempt to raid your storage, but when hundreds of very motivated people are swarming you, you WILL eventually succumb to their attempts.

Even in "normal" times, knowledge of you having supplies of guns, ammo, precious metals and other valuable equipment can make you a target.  A casual comment from a friend that, "Bob is a BIG gun nut with all kinds of gold and silver," can result in a visit from intruders intent on "liberating" your very valuable items.

It will be interesting to hear how the FBI learned of the plans of the group in Michigan.  These were primarily family members and very good friends.  Supposedly, these guys had posted YouTube videos of some of their training, so they may have shined a spotlight on themselves.  Apparently, they never became acquainted with the phrase, "Stay off the ridge-line."

Regardless of the source, these people had a break-down in their OpSec.  They will most likely pay very dearly for that oversight.

Accept The Challenge

Generally speaking, you gain no benefit by disclosing your supplies, methods or plans to other people.  Preppers are generally a small segment of society, so in an attempt to explain to people why they should be prepping, we may give away information that makes us vulnerable.

By all means, discuss prepping with others who might want to become self-sufficient, but never disclose the amount of food and equipment you store, nor where you store them.  With regards to guns, ammo and precious metals, only your most trusted family and closest associates should know that you even store these items.

People like to get "pats on the back" when they have worked hard on a project.  It's human nature.  After putting a great deal of time, effort and expense into prepping, we might want to get some recognition for our hard work.

If you feel the need for this kind of adulation, go volunteer at a homeless shelter, and tell everyone about THAT!  Don't disclose the specifics of your plans.  Period.
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Anonymous said...

I could be wrong but I think we are getting a preview of the Democrat election strategy. Bust a "Christian miltia" group for terrorism and continue to pain the Tea Party as a bunch of racist nutbags. Top that off with amnesty giving the Dems 20 million more potential voters and you could be looking at 100 years of Democrat left wing dominance.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, It's a strategy that they've used in the past - using fear as a great bludgeon on the citizenry.

You have one nutjob shoot up an office building in SF, and the result is the Assault Weapons ban, for instance. Hell, when Hassan shot up Ft. Hood, I'm surprised the D's didn't suggest we disarm the military. It makes about as much sense.