Monday, August 16, 2010

OPSEC and Why I Keep My Mouth Shut

This is a reminder of why it is important for us to maintain our quickly we forget that there are Terrorists out there monitoring our web activity.

By being a Family Member, you will often know some bits of critical information regarding our unit such as flight schedules, ship movements, installation activities, homecoming dates, and our Soldiers’ locations. This is sensitive information that needs to be concealed and protected, so please DO NOT discuss them outside of your immediate Family and especially not over the telephone or on the computer/Internet.

Your diligence in Operations Security (OPSEC) is key to ensuring our effectiveness in operations and our collective safety. When reintegration nears, I completely understand how excited everyone will get – it is great news – but it is not news that needs to be posted/said for anyone to read/hear. With resources such as Facebook and MySpace, it is easy to slip up and post, “One more month until my Soldier comes home,” “Our 12 month deployment is almost over . . . just one more week,” or “My Soldier will be on the Main Body flight coming in on 15 January,” but PLEASE DO NOT POST ANYTHING SIMILAR TO THIS – anyone can access your information online. You can protect your Family and friends by protecting what you know of the unit’s day-to-day operations. There are many countries and organizations that would like to harm Americans and degrade our influence in the world, and many of them collect significant amounts of useful information by using spies.

OPSEC is a vital element in protecting our Soldiers and missions, and I want to stress how vital a role every member of our Battalion plays in ensuring that we deny our adversaries potentially useful information. OPSEC protects our operations – planned, in progress, and those completed. 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 and activities. If an adversary knew this detailed information, our mission accomplishment and personnel safety could be jeopardized. It must be protected to ensure an adversary doesn’t gain a significant advantage.

Here are a few things to remember:

Limit what you say about:

- Military movements (deployment/redeployment dates, dates of field exercises, flight information, etc.)…next Tuesday is a specific date

- Any issues with the unit

- Anything concerning security specific issues

- Equipment issues (what, no flak vest?)

- Locations of units (it’s OK to say they’re in Iraq, but not to say specifically where located)

OPSEC measures you should practice daily:

- Be aware of your surroundings

- Keep sensitive discussions in designated secure areas

- Keep a need-to-know attitude (if they don’t need to know, don’t tell them)

- Safeguard sensitive but unclassified information

Some other things to keep in mind:

- Make sure that your Family knows that the information you tell them is to stay between you and them

- Limit what you say on telephones. Whether they’re land lines, cordless or cells phones, they can all be ‘tapped’. Try using code words, or use birthday and anniversaries as time frames – i.e. “Our vacation will be two months after my grandmother’s birthday.”

- Censor what you put in e-mails. Anything sent out on the Internet can be seen by anyone on the Internet. (Keep in mind that the AKO and vFRG website is a secure site, hence why certain information can be posted there.)

- Limit what you say out in public. You never know who is trying to listen in on your conversations

Thank you all for taking the time to read this e-mail. Please, let’s all practice better OPSEC guidelines and protect ourselves and our Soldiers . . . watch what you say and watch what you do!

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

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