The word OPSEC can be heard in a lot of discussions of survival preparedness and apocalyptic stories. A lot of individuals do not understand what that means because it is a primarily military term. As with lots of military vocabulary, this is an abbreviation for a longer phrase. OPSEC began as the phrase “operations security.” Operations security is defined on Wikipedia as
“a process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by enemy intelligence, 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.”
In layman’s terms this means that you keep vital information related to planning out of the hands of anyone you do not trust completely.
This can be traced back to some concepts developed in World War II. One example is this World War II poster by Seymour R. Goff. It is the early example of the “Loose lips sink ships” phrase.
Another is this poster that comes from the Women’s Army Corps anti-rumor propaganda (1941–1945).
This may seem like a purely military idea, but it is not. The planning that you do is in order to protect yourself and loved ones. Some other people are not of the same mindset though. I have even seen people boasting online that they don’t need to stock supplies because they will just take what they need when the time comes. Sadly, this is a real possibility.
This is not to say that all your planning needs to be done in a whisper in the backroom or by using invisible ink. You may feel that no one should know you have any plans set up. That is fine. At the least though, it means that certain details may be restricted to your family or group. These details might include how many supplies you have set aside, where they are stored, any bug out locations you have planned for, or weapons you may have. Basically any details that could be used to derail your plans should be protected. No one wants to have the worst-case scenario happen and then show up to your bug out location to find it occupied by your heavily armed coworker.
So, to finalize, don’t hesitate to discuss planning if you feel safe in doing it. The free exchange of ideas is what improves planning and creates relationships that may be vital in an emergency. Letting everyone in earshot know how much food you have in your garage might not be a good idea though. Use common sense when deciding what to discuss and with whom.