There are numerous plans of action that preppers can choose from for preparing for a disaster of any kind, and one of the most popular over the years has become OPSEC. OPSEC is a system that’s used for identifying a problem you’re faced with and acting on it as efficiently as possible, but as popular as it is, we’re often asked “What is the last step in the OPSEC process?”.
This is a legitimate question that’s definitely worth answering, but why just stop there? Why not talk about OPSEC in its entirety? Chances are many of you are scratching your heads and asking yourself “What is OPSEC?”, so today’s your lucky day.
There’s a lot of critical information in OPSEC for making yourself as prepared as possible for any kind of situation, and whether you’ve never heard of it or need a refresher for how the thing works, we’re going to be talking about it in its entirety and going through every single step.
We have a fair amount to talk about here, so without further ado, let’s dive right into things.
Step 1 — Identify Critical Information
The very first step of the OPSEC process is to identify any information that pertains to the situation you’ve found yourself in. The information that you’re looking here should be critical to your surroundings and what’s going on, as well as your intentions, abilities, activities, etc.
To develop your list, it’s often recommend that you created a Critical Information List – often referred to as a CIL. This is where you’re write down all of the information that you have, and if you have a group leader, you’ll want to make sure they approve it.
However, if you’re traveling on your own, you can make assessments for yourself based on what you know. You know yourself better than anyone else, but be sure to go through your list a couple of times to make sure you’re not missing anything that could be critical to the scenario that you’re faced with.
Step 2 — Analyze The Threat
Once you’ve created your Critical Information List, your next step will be to determine what threats you’re faced with. This could include a hurricane, economic collapse, broken government, anarchy, etc.
Furthermore, you’ll want to also analyze any additional threats that could come as a result of the main issue. For example, if you’re in an area that’s facing a hurricane, you could be met with high winds, potential for flooding, lack of power, and more.
Along with this, it’s also important to see how the threats you’re faced with will stack up against your capabilities. What strengths do you and your group have that will be beneficial to dealing with whatever threat you’re faced with?
Step 3 — Analyze The Vulnerabilities
Step 3 is similar to step 2, as you’ll still be focusing on the threat that is present. However, rather than looking at the threat from your point of view, you’ll want to “think like the wolf.” In other words, you’re going to be looking at your group from the point of view of how your adversary will see you.
This might not apply all that well when dealing with a natural disaster, but it could apply to possible looters or anyone else that is a threat to you and your group you’re traveling with in a SHTF world.
With step 3, there are three main things to determine – indicators, vulnerabilities, and a vulnerability analysis.
Indicators are actions that can be easily identified and could allow your adversary to get an upper-hand over you. Vulnerabilities occur when there’s a shortcoming with your setup, and also allows your attack to possibly inflict harm.
Lastly, the vulernabilcty analysis is a process you’ll want to conduct to see what sort of vulnerabilities you’re currently faced with and what you could possibly do to ensure that they’re minimized as much as possible.
Step 4 — Assess The Risks
Next up, it’s time to view which threats match up to the vulnerabilities that you have. Every vulnerability you or your group has should be connected to a certain risk level. Risk levels rate your vulnerabilities based on how serious they are, and this will help you determine which factors are the most serious and which ones can be ignored.
Risk levels rank from Critical, High, Medium High, Medium, Medium Low, and Low.
A Critical risk level is something that would be irreparable and extremely hazardous to you, whereas something with a Low rating is very insignificant and wouldn’t have much impact at all.
Certain vulnerabilities might not seem like a big deal at first, but that can quickly change once you stack it up against everything else and take time to analyze how it may impact you.
This can often be one of the more time-consuming steps, so be sure to set enough time aside in advance to see what steps you’ll need to make in order to ensure you’re covered on as many bases as possible.
Step 5 — Apply The Countermeasures
And, the reason many of you are probably here, step 5!
So, what is the last step in the OPSEC process?
As you can see above, it’s where you’ll apply any countermeasure that need to be made.
Once your risk of assets are in place with their risk rating, you’ll go through your list and do what needs to be done to minimize their chances of causing harm. Start with the Critical issues first, and then work your way down to Low issues.
Countermeasures should be made based on the priorities your faced with and what supplies are available, and this is where you’ll need to really work with your group if you’re traveling with one.
OPSEC is one of the best action plans around for preparing for disaster or SHTF, and while it may not be for everyone, it’s something that all preppers should try at least once. OPSEC does take some time to get used to, but with the right amount of patience and organization, it can make a huge impact on your tactics and methods that you use.