OPSEC: A Survival Imperative

Prepper’s First Line of Defense – OPSECOPSEC

Operational Security, also known as OPSEC, is one of the most important concepts to understand when prepping for TEOTWAWKI. The last thing you need during a survival scenario is to have “zombies” at your doorstep with an insatiable appetite. OPSEC is your first line of defense against looting marauders.

Why It’s Important

Imagine a massive earthquake just rocked southern California. You were lucky enough that your home remained intact. You are grateful you aren’t out searching for shelter. You have enough preps that you can “bug in” or “hunker down” for about 30 days. You’ve also been smart and have a solid security and defense plan.

About 4-hours after the quake, you hear a knock at the door! What you didn’t do is practice OPSEC consistently. Now you are faced with quite a dilemma. Do you share your most precious commodities with someone outside your group? Or in the worst case, you may have to use force to defend your preps.

OPSEC Requires Discipline

Teach members of your group about the importance of OPSEC. This doesn’t mean you have to be jaded or distrustful of friends and neighbors. It’s okay to talk about the importance of being prepared. Just remember to be disciplined in your conversations. You don’t have to give out details of your preps!

I often talk about the importance of self-reliance. A good survival strategy is to promote preparedness within your community. The more ready your friends and neighbors, the less likely they are to come to you for a handout.

Basic DOs and DON’Ts of OPSEC


  • Keep your preps out of plain sight
  • Keep the location of preps on a “need-to-know” basis
  • Talk to your group about the importance of OPSEC
  • Encrypt emails about prepping between group members


  • Post sensitive information on social networking sites
  • Publicize escape routes or rally points
  • Share bug-out plans or retreat location
  • Talk about specifics of your preps publicly

Death by Social Media

An old adage in the Navy is “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” This has never been more true than it is today. Social networking sites are one of the worst culprits for violating OPSEC. Keep your sensitive information on a “need-to-know” basis. Don’t post your every move. Disable location services on your mobile devices.

Many folks today have an irresistible need to post, tweet, or pin about every moment of their lives. Others may have good intentions, but are just naïve. Either way, be sure to limit the information you share with the world. This includes friends and family unless you plan to take them in when they show up hungry, desperate, and nowhere to take refuge.

If the most recent celebrity iCloud hack hasn’t made you a bit leery about the security of “smart” devices and cloud servers; it should! You might want to rethink your approach to OPSEC. Never leave the security of your sensitive information up to others. No one else is going to provide better OPSEC for your family than YOU.

For a free initial consult to learn more about OPSEC, click here.

About the Author

Greg B. is the president of Survival Tactics NOW! providing professional consultation in survival planning and emergency preparedness. He is an ardent outdoorsman and wilderness survival enthusiast.


  1. Aaron B says:

    I live in a small community so I focus my efforts on trying to convince everyone that we will all benefit (prepers and non-prepers alike) if the community remains cohesive and we avoid looting and fighting amongst ourselves. However, I try to avoid discussion of anything specific about my preparations. I do offer advice on how to prep.

    One of the things I concentrate on for OPSEC is to teach my kids that they don’t talk about our family preps to anyone outside of our group. Kids love to talk and are a vulnerable source. I have been working on my kids for a couple years and they know the rules and why we don’t share specifics, but I still worry and reinforce the message whenever they see me doing work on our preps.

  2. Lewis B. says:

    It is a fine line to walk. I will talk with anyone I can to try and sell the prepping concept far and wide. And I am sure when it all goes down, many folks will show up to my primary residence. And they are more than welcome to, since I won’t be there.