Security philosophy is the primary theory of how we address our security needs. When first working on our security plan, we need to be in the right security mindset. You will achieve that right security mindset by understanding the overall philosophy of security and how it applies to your situation.
Areas of Security Philosophy
Four key areas of security makeup our overall security philosophy. The first critical area is answering the question of “Why do we need security?” Next in the areas of security is understanding situational awareness. The next part of the security philosophy equation is your knowledge and application of operational security. Then, rounding out our areas of security philosophy is knowing how to conduct our risk assessment. By understanding these four areas of the security philosophy, we are better prepared to address both our personal security and physical security needs.
Why Do We Need Security?
The first key to achieving the proper security mindset means knowing the answer to a seemingly simple question. That seemingly simple question is “Why do we need security?” Ultimately, as Marcus Luttrell stated, the “Bottom line is that there are bad people everywhere. And every now and again, we are going to have to step to them to make sure that we preserve our way of life.”
Stepping to the evil people includes taking measures to address the question of “Why do we need security?” As preparedness minded people, we do this by incorporating the three pillars of security into our security plan. It is through an understanding of security philosophy, personal security and physical security that we step to the bad guys. When we do, we improve our chances to minimize security problems that may impact us, our family, friends, and property. In the end, reducing the threat posed by bad guys is the ultimate reason why we need security.
Understanding Situational Awareness
Situational awareness is a critical theme that intertwines through the three pillars of security and the four areas of security philosophy. While there are volumes written on situational awareness, it can be summarized relatively easily. Situational awareness is having the mindset that keeps you in tune with ongoing developments in the world around you.
In short, situational awareness is the art, science, and ability to pay attention to what happens in your personal environment. Do you notice the out of control car speeding towards you? Do you see the creepy guy hiding in the shadows? Does someone, or something, give you a bad feeling and do you listen to that sense? Or, do you not notice all of these scenarios because you have your head buried in your cell phone?
While it is relatively easy to summarize situational awareness, it is anything but easy to thoroughly understand and implement. Organizations such as the military and law enforcement spend years trying to perfect its implementation. Therefore, the quest to master situational awareness is a constant and ongoing effort that we must continually work at.
Ultimately, it is up to you to determine how well you pay attention to what is happening around you. While you may start out with little situational awareness, you can improve it over time. Therefore, there is no need to panic or become frustrated. Take it one day at a time and work to improve your situational awareness continually. In little time, the world will open before you, and you’ll be much safer and better prepared as a result.
Operational Security, also known as OpSec, is an integral part of our security mindset. However, while it is an essential area of preparedness, many either don’t understand OpSec or overreact when implementing it. In short, operational security is the processing of protecting information about you and what you are up to.
Why is Operational Security Important?
So, why is protecting information about you and what you are up to important? First, in our modern world, identity theft is a serious and growing problem. The fact is that foreign nations, criminal organizations and sometimes a combination of both seek to profit off of you. They do this by using your personally identifiable information (PII) in many ways. Some work to hack into your financial accounts and steal money. Others seek to make illicit purchases on your behalf. And yet others profit from the selling of your information to the bad guys.
Similarly, while bad guys work to profit from your information monetarily, others may use information about you in other ways. For example, in a disaster scenario, unprepared people may use knowledge of your preparedness measures to target you. After all, history is full of examples of the terrible lengths people will go to take care of themselves. Heck, on a daily basis, criminals commit horrible crimes against others for a profit. Just imagine what they will do when the lives of the bad guys and their families are on the line?
It is because of the willingness of evil people to use your information against you that you must take actions to protect that information through operational security. However, while OpSec is essential, it can also be overdone. What, how can operational security be important and simultaneously over implemented?
OpSec Does Not Mean, NOT Relying on Others
The implementation of operational security, while important, must be done with an eye towards realism. Reality dictates that no person is an island. In other words, at times, we all must rely on others. In many situations, going it alone is not only foolish but dangerous to you and those around you.
All one has to do to see that reliance upon others can be helpful is to look at the concept of a neighborhood watch. Individually we all keep an eye on our neighborhoods. However, as a group of concerned citizens, we tend to communicate more about our neighborhoods situation. Additionally, increased eyes observing the area increases our chances of noticing potential trouble before it happens.
Likewise, should a disaster of any significant proportion happen, having others around us could be helpful. Consider the possibility that you must evacuate your home due to an emergency. Will it be easier to load your valuable by yourself, or with the help of others?
In the very remote possibility that a long-term, society-changing disaster happens, we all may have to rely on others. When relying on others, it is vital that you include them in your planning process. The importance of this is two-fold. First, when others participate in your planning process, they bring in an expanded perspective. That perspective helps validate your plan, increasing its chances of success. Next, bringing others into your plan ahead of time helps ensure the people you rely on understanding what to do. Without this understanding, your plan will experience an increased potential for failure.
With that, it is easy to understand why NOT including others in our plans increases our likelihood of failure. Therefore, it is important that we bring others into our preparedness fold. However, adding others to our circle of preparedness trust requires a logical and common-sense approach. That approach includes making sure we have reason to bring them in and trust those who we are considering. Once they meet those two requirements, we can then let them in our relevant areas of our operational security.
Your Trusted Circle
It is worth noting, that while you let someone into your trusted circle, it does not mean you have to provide them with every detail of your life. The fact is, those who do not need to know about a topic, aren’t provided with information on that subject. For example, assume that your neighborhood has a plan to help one another during a disaster. Under that plan, you may provide your neighbors with information on your families first aid abilities. However, there is probably no reason while you should provide your social security number and banking information.
So, in summary, the need for operational security is important. However, it is not so important that you close yourself off to relying on others. When we do rely on others though, it is important that we provide them with information using a common-sense approach. After all, providing personal information is not just an OpSec matter, it is a matter of protecting your personal privacy.
The Gray Man
Another aspect of operational security to consider is the gray man concept and strategy. The gray man strategy is, simply put, making an effort to not draw attention to yourself. A gray man is someone who blends in with those around them and would, therefore, go unnoticed.
One example of the gray man concept includes having an older model car or truck. Another tactic is to not dress in fancy or obviously expensive clothes. If those around the gray man wear flip-flops, then the grey man would also wear flip-flops. Avoid the appearance of a lavish house.
The same mindset applies to a disaster scenario. If all of your neighbors are without power, running your generator might attract unwanted attention. If people are going hungry, and you have a cooking fire going, you may have uninvited dinner guests show up. While people showing up for dinner may not be wrong, it can be if those people cause problems. Maybe they will want your generator, food, or something else that is important to you.
It is always good to remember that desperate people take desperate measures. Therefore, for your protection, it is a good idea to consider how others perceive you and your things. When considering their perception, it is not a bad idea to try to blend in. When you do, you’ll give people less reason to cause you problems.
A personal risk assessment is an in-depth and prioritized look at our security posture. When performing a risk assessment, we document all of the risks we face. Once recorded, we then determine the likelihood of threats to occur and the potential impact of the risks. Next, you grade both the probability and potential impact against one another.
When the risk assessment is complete, we should know where the risks rank in comparison to one another. With this knowledge, we are then able to address each threat in the best manner possible. The best way includes what is most efficient and effective. For example, we may want to install a costly security system. However, doing so may not be as productive as taking a combination of other less expensive actions.
In the end, understanding the risk assessment concept is a critical part of your security philosophy. Whether you are addressing a personal security or physical security matter, a risk assessment will keep you on track. Staying on track with your risk assessment allows you to prioritize and address you most serious concerns first. Then, over time, address others so that you continually improve your overall security posture.
Security Philosophy Summary
As readiness minded people, our security philosophy sets the tone for how we approach our overall safety and security. When we understand why we need security, the role situational awareness plays in our security, how operational security impacts us, and how to conduct our risk assessment, we will be more safe, secure and prepared. When we achieve that goal, we will find a happier, less worrisome life for ourselves, our families and those around us.
Never forget, you’re just one prep away.
If you have any other thoughts or questions about security philosophy, please leave a comment below.
Stay safe, secure and prepared,