Definition: Operations security (OPSEC) is a process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by adversary intelligence systems, 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 other words....a completely foreign concept for a five year old.
This weekend, we went to the Ikea in Atlanta, in the hopes of finding bedroom furniture for Thing 1, our 11 year old that would be more befitting a girl that will soon be in middle school. As anyone who has ever been to an Ikea is all too aware, it is a cornucopia of chaos. Mindless suburbanites wandering throughout a massive furniture showroom cum warehouse are everywhere, so many that you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting one (and if you then labeled said dead cat with something in Swedish....Död Katt, for example.....you could probably sell it for $9).
It's also a brilliantly fantastic place to people watch. College students are common, in the ultimate paradox....they are horrified at the idea of shopping with their parents for college dorm furniture, but willing to put up with it for the prospect of getting new furniture.
One can also see lots of young couples, fresh out on their own, on tight budgets and willing to put together furniture with no written instructions, only pictures, with Swedish names. And one can also see urban hipsters who don't have a lot of money because they are willing to work low-paying jobs simply for the chance to live in a city. These types can be seen wearing eclectic clothing like combat boots, Ramones t-shirts, and funky hair styles.
Enter Thing 2. At five years old, she is a mixture of both discretion and excitement. While perusing one of the furniture sections, she spotted something which she simply had to tell me about. So she crooked her finger and signaled that I bend down to hear a message. When I did so, she whispered, "She has green hair!" I didn't quite hear her at first, so she repeated it louder, "She has green hair!" I straightened up and started looking around for someone with green hair. If it was important enough for Thing 2 to mention, then I owe it to her to stare.
Not seeing her at first, Thing 2 decided I needed help. So she pointed right at the young green-haired woman and said, in a loud outdoor voice, "RIGHT THERE!" Following her finger, I looked over and sure enough, there was a woman, about 25, with bright green hair. And she was looking right at Thing 2.
I believe the time has come to teach the concept of OPSEC to Thing 2. Never pointing, but rather using signals to alert me to the presence of somebody that is funny looking. "Psst...behind you. Behind me. Over my left shoulder. Don't look, but she's over by the water fountain." I think once she has this down, she will be a brilliant scout of funny looking people everywhere.
I think I'll take her to Costco this weekend for practice.