OPSEC: Surviving Based On Deception

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If you’ve ever watched the hit TV show, Doomsday Preppers, you’ve probably wondered the same thing that I have. What is there that would motivate those people, all of whom seem to be dedicated experienced preppers, to break their operational security and tell the whole world what they are doing?

It seems to me that all they are doing is setting themselves up to be targets; either targets for DHS goons that want to redistribute their stockpile or targets for free agent goons who want to redistribute that stockpile into their own hands.

Anyone who talks about prepping for long ends up talking about OPSEC sometime. This concept, which originated with the military, is all about keeping your plans and preparations secret. Using proper OPSEC can mean getting away with your plans, while failure to use it can mean that you are giving the opportunity for someone else to make their own plans; plans that aren’t for your benefit.

OPSEC is all about denying the enemy information. Considering how bad things can get after even a small disaster, thinking of others as enemies isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination. When those people become hungry and desperate, they could very easily turn into enemies.

So, how do we successfully deny those enemies information? We could write a book about that alone, but really there are only a few basic concepts which we need to keep in mind.

Visual Deception

Visual security refers to making sure that you don’t look like a prepper. If you are one of those guys who has bought an armored personnel carrier or turned your SUV into one, you’d better have a good explanation for it. The same could be said if you’ve put a ten foot high cement wall around your house. That’s a sure sign that you either think you’re a top-secret government installation or you’re a prepper.

While it is important to have a good bug-out vehicle, as well as to make your home as secure as you can, you have to do so in a way that doesn’t wave red flags in people’s faces. The last thing you want to do is to advertise what you are doing. Find ways that will hide your actions and intents, so that nobody knows what is going on.

If you feel a need to have that ten foot high wall around your home, don’t give in to it. While the wall might be a useful help in protecting your home, you can accomplish just as much with a nice hedge of thorn bushes. People will be just as likely to avoid those thorns as they will the ten foot wall.

The secret here is to make everything look like something normal. One of my favorite tricks for this is to disguise your water supply like a kid’s swimming pool. Actually, just buy the swimming pool and make it your water storage. You can put a couple of thousands of gallons of water in one of those and nobody will be any wiser. Just make sure that your kids use it once in a while, so that it doesn’t seem suspicious.

Garages, basements, attics and backyards are great tools in keeping your actions away from prying eyes. If you bring home a truckload of food one day, then put the truck in the garage or backyard to unload it. You don’t need to make what you’re doing obvious and if you move your truck into and out of the backyard from time to time, to bring in compost for your garden, for example, then nobody will think anything of it when you do it one more time.

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Verbal Deception

Survivopedia OPSEC for SurvivalDid you know that most criminals talk themselves into jail?

It seems like all of us are afflicted with the gossip bug and the person we gossip about the most is ourselves. If you are going to talk about what you are doing, then you have no OPSEC.

People may just write you off as a crackpot now, but when things go bad, they’ll remember that you’re the local prepper. You can be sure that they’ll be quick to remember you.

Kids are a real problem in this regard. Fortunately, kids tend to think that however they live is normal. They won’t think it strange that you have an arsenal of weapons in your home; if anything, they’ll wonder why their friends don’t.

There is no way to keep kids from talking about something that is secret. So, the only way you can keep them from spilling the beans is to not let them in on the secret. That can cause problems, because you want your kids to be part of what you are doing as well, so that they can get trained.

Okay, that’s really not a problem, just don’t tell your kids why you go on so many camping trips where they learn survival skills or why you take them to the range to learn how to shoot. Let them enjoy the activities, learning the skills, without knowing the reason for learning them.

This brings us to another aspect of this verbal security; that of having a good cover story. If you build an underground bunker in your backyard, you’re going to have a hard time hiding that or explain it. However, if you start collecting wines and build a wine cellar, your neighbors won’t think anything of it, except maybe to joke about you and your eccentric activities.

You can use this same concept of “eccentricity” to explain away a lot of “strange” behavior. I used to be an engineer when I was younger. All of my neighbors know that my garage is really my workshop and that I’m always making something.

They’ve seen me make furniture, props for the school play and do remodeling projects on my home. They’ve also seen me make a rainwater collection system, so that I can use it to water my garden and build a vertical axis windmill, just because I wanted to see if I could do it. So, they expect their “eccentric neighbor” to be making strange things. To them, it’s become normal.

Being able to explain away your actions as something else is a time-honored means of hiding what you’re really doing. Intelligence agencies call it a “cover story.” If you can create credible cover stories for everything you do, then people won’t be assuming that those strange activities are signs that you are a prepper.

Deceptive Training 

I’ve already mentioned this when I was talking about your kids, but I feel it warrants being mentioned again. Training is an important part of prepping. You can have the biggest stockpile of supplies going, but if you can’t start a fire, you may not be eating much. That means that you need to find ways of training, which don’t look like you are training.

If you have a cabin in the woods, you have an ideal training site. You can make it a habit to go to the cabin one weekend a month, and while there you can practice your survival skills, making it a game and including the kids as well. If you don’t have that cabin, you can do pretty much the same thing by going camping.

Weapons training is another important part of your prepping. Most cities have shooting ranges where you can go to practice. Except in extremely liberal areas (usually big cities in the North) that’s not all that abnormal an activity. Many ranges even offer tactical training events, where you can practice training as if you are confronting multiple attackers in a much more real life scenario.

Another way to get tactical training is to join an airsoft team. Airsoft is a sport which uses realistic looking guns that shoot 6mm plastic BBs. Unlike paintball, the action is much more realistic, following real combat tactics in their scenarios. That makes it ideal for your needs.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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Bill White

About Bill White

Bill White is the author of Conquering the Coming Collapse, and a former Army officer, manufacturing engineer and business manager. More recently, he left the business world to work as a cross-cultural missionary on the Mexico border. Bill has been a survivalist since the 1970s, when the nation was in the latter days of the Cold War. He had determined to head into the Colorado Rockies, should Washington ever decide to push the button. While those days have passed, the knowledge Bill gained during that time hasn’t. He now works to educate others on the risks that exist in our society and how to prepare to meet them. You can send Bill a message at editor [at] survivopedia.com.
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Comments

  1. Something for just in case the S does HTF in a big, long lasting way where you'll be dealing with individuals "stopping by unannounced". Instead of donating ALL those old clothes keep a couple of garbage bags of them in your garage or basement. Also, attend some local Estate sales and buy a few household items and pieces of cheap furniture. When it looks like looting in your area is a definite concern, spread the items around your front yard in a haphazard manner to give the impression you've ALREADY been looted. If you don't have a screen door on the front of the house put one on now so when it is advantageous, you can break it half off to make it look more like you've been hit. Anything you can do to look like a waste of "looting time" will help.

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    • If this is done, your you are letting people think that your house is not being cared for, it may appear abandoned. This would cause marauders to think that it is deserted and you would have every group checking it out for a place to stay. A well-kept yard shows people are watching out for it. Do you really want to be forced to defend it against every group that comes down the street. If it looks protected and cared for, they may not want to really fight to take it over. They see that you care about it and that is an unknown to them as to how well it is protected.

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  2. I'v eating grasshoppers and ants not bad but I think alot of peaple have.

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  3. Sharon Mackey says:

    I live in the"sticks" on a smallish piece of property that has a LOT of trees. Throwing "stuff" out in my yard doesn't seem plausible. Living on a dead end dirt road kinda helps. I have multifloralroses that are all over the place but NOT where I mow!! Thorny roses would be nice but can't get em to grow in my rocky soil. Would LOVE to have a windmill preferably attatched to a well!!! But I am not a mechanic or a builder just one woman trying to keep up with the problems of today. Your articles help a lot. At least it makes me feel I COULD do it if I had the right kind of help and instructions. Thanks for all you do.

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  4. Hi Bill,

    Great article, and lots to think about. Seems like OPSEC has a number of considerations, and unfortunately we all give off indicators that are pretty tough to hide.

    For example, the pool might not signal to others that you're a prepper (which is good), but if people are thirsty enough, they'll come knocking.

    Like a box that your gun came in that's now in the trash, there are little bits of information we shed, and that our brains store and connect pretty rapidly.

    Can make your head hurt. 🙂

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  5. Ric Cervantes says:

    I don't agree about why not telling your children why, or at least giving them some answers. Maybe tell them you are teaching them how to be safe if they are lost, a storm etc. Teaching them how to be safe and prepared is wise. As a parent of 3, I train mine and tell them why, in very simple terms. They all want to bring things with when we go places, my daughter packs food, at age 6, for example. Not meal but snacks. Water bottles are daily carry items as well. Better to have them know why and when to use their skills than to be clueless should things go wrong.

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Typical power generators are noisy, letting everyone around know that you have electrical power. In the aftermath of an EMP or attack on the electrical grid, that could be catastrophic, inviting attack from those who didn’t bother preparing for the emergency. As a silent system, the PowerWhispered won’t give you and your family away. […]

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  2. […] Typical power generators are noisy, letting everyone around know that you have electrical power. In the aftermath of an EMP or attack on the electrical grid, that could be catastrophic, inviting attack from those who didn’t bother preparing for the emergency. As a silent system, the PowerWhispered won’t give you and your family away. […]

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  3. […] of renewable energy you produce. That’s because some installations clearly lend themselves to deceptive strategies, such as concealment or mobility, more readily than others. While it may be a simple matter to hide […]

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  4. […] of renewable energy you produce. That’s because some installations clearly lend themselves to deceptive strategies, such as concealment or mobility, more readily than others. While it may be a simple matter to hide […]

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  5. […] other problem with gas operated generators is that they are noisy. If you want to maintain OPSEC and not let people know that you are prepared to deal with the emergency, then the last thing you […]

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  6. […] other problem with gas operated generators is that they are noisy. If you want to maintain OPSEC and not let people know that you are prepared to deal with the emergency, then the last thing you […]

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  7. […] other problem with gas operated generators is that they are noisy. If you want to maintain OPSEC and not let people know that you are prepared to deal with the emergency, then the last thing you […]

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  8. […] other problem with gas operated generators is that they are noisy. If you want to maintain OPSEC and not let people know that you are prepared to deal with the emergency, then the last thing you […]

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  9. […] these super intrusion technology is that we have to face the difficult to believe reality that… your personal home privacy is now gone completely, all of it. And it is just a matter of time before it affects everybody, […]

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  10. […] of the most basic principles of prepper OPSEC is to hide your preparations, so that others don’t get an idea of what you’re doing. […]

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  11. […] at your property from the outside and look at it through the eyes of your enemy. Do what you can to make it a less appealing target. Move anything of value out of sight, under a tarp underground or inside and work your way […]

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  12. […] at your property from the outside and look at it through the eyes of your enemy. Do what you can to make it a less appealing target. Move anything of value out of sight, under a tarp underground or inside and work your way […]

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  13. […] at your property from the outside and look at it through the eyes of your enemy. Do what you can to make it a less appealing target. Move anything of value out of sight, under a tarp underground or inside and work your way […]

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  14. […] how your home would resist to an EMP blast. Would you have enough heat and food, and would your OPSEC be the same when left in the […]

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