OPSEC Explained

Operations Security, or OPSEC, is keeping potential adversaries from discovering our critical information. As the name suggests, it protects our operations planned, in progress, and those completed. Success depends on secrecy and surprise, so the military can accomplish the mission faster and with less risk. Our adversaries want our information, and they don't concentrate on only sailors to get it. They want you, us, the family members.

Even though information may not be secret, it can be what we call critical information. Critical information deals with specific facts about military intentions, capabilities, operations or activities. If an adversary knew this detailed information, our military's mission accomplishment and personnel safety could be jeopardized. It must be protected to ensure an adversary doesn't gain a significant advantage. By being a member of the military family, you will often know some bits of critical information. Do not discuss them outside of your immediate family and especially not over the telephone OR internet!

Examples Of Critical Information:
1. Detailed information about the mission of assigned units.
2. Details on locations and times of unit deployments.
3. Personnel transactions that occur in large numbers (Example: pay information, powers of attorney, wills, deployment information).
4. References to trends in unit morale or personnel problems.
5. Details concerning security procedures.

These bits of information may seem insignificant. However, to a trained adversary, they are small pieces of a puzzle that highlight what we're doing and planning.

Where and how you discuss this information is just as important as with whom you discuss it. Adverse agents tasked with collecting information frequently visit some of the same stores, clubs, recreational areas, or places of worship as you do.
Determined individuals can easily collect data from cordless and cellular phones, and even baby monitors, using inexpensive receivers available from local electronics stores.
If anyone, especially a foreign national, persistently seeks information, notify your military sponsor immediately. He or she will notify the unit OPSEC program manager.

There are many countries and organizations that would like to harm Americans and degrade our influence in the world. It's possible, and not unprecedented, for spouses and family members of U.S. military personnel to be targeted for intelligence collection. This is true in the United States and especially true overseas!

Be Alert! Foreign governments and organizations collect significant amounts of useful information by using spies. A foreign agent may use a variety of approaches to befriend someone and get sensitive information. This sensitive information can be critical to the success of a terrorist or spy, and consequently deadly to Americans.

There may be times when your spouse cannot talk about the specifics of his or her job. It's very important to conceal and protect certain information such as flight schedules, ship movements, temporary duty (TDY) locations, and installation activities, for example. Something as simple as a phone discussion about where your spouse is deploying, or going TDY, can be very useful to our enemies.

DISCUSS OPSEC WITH YOUR FAMILY. All Family Members Are Part Of The Military OPSEC Team. They Need To Protect Information To Ensure The Safety Of All Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airman, Coast Guards, Civilians, And their Families.

This isn't to scare you into not blogging or discussing what's going on in your sailor's life with family. Just think before you speak, or type! Just remember, If you have to wonder whether what you're about to type could be used against you or your shipmates and your family, you probably shouldn't type it! Because it's not just your sailor out there, it's mine too. And I don't know about you, but I would like the future father of my children to come home safely!