OPSEC/PERSEC and other Sec’s

Disclaimer

*I am in no way an expert on OPSEC This should not be construed as expert advice regarding OPSEC.  If expert opinion is needed please seek someone with your required level of expertise*

So another week passes and another person yelling that we violate OPSEC on the regular, this time to the level of “making her stomach turn.” So I wanted to take a minute and cover what OPSEC and PERSEC is and more importantly what it isn’t.

Before I jump into the meat and potatoes I want to shoutout to the Admin team. I am usually the first one that wants to crucify you for making a mistake but you guys do a good job of being the gatekeepers. With that said situational security is an individual responsibility.

OPSEC

OPSEC is the abbreviation for operational security, nifty how that works huh? In a nutshell operational security covers anything that can be used by the enemy or an adversary for a TACTICAL advantage, notice how tactical is capitalized and bold there? This information consists of things like:

Troop movements, unit strength, unit capabilities, and current missions

What OPSEC isn’t is anything other than these things. OPSEC is like a puzzle, while you might not see an item to be a big deal one more puzzle piece may be what just what the enemy needs. There have been numerous reports of units having movements home scrubbed because of someone inadvertently leaking the dates/times/number of people. So while I know it’s hard keep these things to yourself.

Here is a great link that explains OPSEC in detail:

http://www.dodea.edu/offices/safety/opsec.cfm

Anyone who has done any work in the intel/information gathering field will tell you more than 90% comes from open source intelligence. Open source means I can get the information without breaking any law or really doing any work. Want to know how easy it is? Google “Army deployment cycle” and see what comes up, you will get a by unit list and a rough timeframe of when and where they are going. Published by the Army. So while you may scream at other moms/wives for saying your love one is “in Afghanistan” the truth is so are about 140,000 other people at any given time. Unless you’re SO is Chuck Norris and is capable of winning the war all by themselves one guy doesn’t make that much difference.

Examples

Prayers for my son as he heads to the desert. ✅

Good vibes for my husband as he preps to leave for Afghanistan ✅ (though this might fall under PERSEC, more on that in a moment)

Prayers for 2/502 PIR as they leave for Fob Walton ❌

Good thoughts for 1/101 CAB as they leave for Iraq on Wednesday ❌

Obviously people aren’t usually dense enough to go this far, but I think you get the idea.

Hopefully this gives you a good foundation for OPSEC, now moving on to PERSEC.

PERSEC

PERSEC is personal security and should be read to mean anything that should be kept confidential, though it’s not damaging if it gets out. The general rule for PERSEC is “would you put it on a billboard in your front yard?” If the answer is no then maybe rethink posting it. Going back to our example above; I know this woman’s husband is leaving the country, so that fact makes her a target of opportunity if I’m a bad guy. There is no one home to protect her and I know she is vulnerable.

Today someone was raising to the high heaven that they got a “My son serves” Army sign. This is an official thing created by the Army, but I look at it with a healthy dose of skepticism:

First:

you are identifying your loved one as a military member, some of us remember the threat of ISIS attacking our families from a little while ago. Come at me all you want but I would never knowingly put my family at risk.

Second

For me, as a recruiter, those signs lead to zero tangible returns so I have zero use for them.

Third

Going back to the analogy of the billboard, you are now literally doing that and is that truly wise? If the reward outweighs the risk let your flag (or yard sign as it were) fly, I just find it funny that those who scream about security are usually the first ones to run out and buy a sign.

Be safe and keep your loved ones safe. If you need anything you know how to reach us.

Justin

Recruiting 101: Part 3- Physical

After completing the ASVAB and TAPAS the next step is the physical. Most recruiters will have your child complete the physical and enlist the same day, as long as there is no indications he might not complete the physical that day. For brevity sake we are going to assume these two things are happening at different times.
Prior to taking the physical the applicant will complete DD form 2807-2 which is a report of the applicants complete medical history. It is incredibly important not to withhold anything, no matter how trivial you or them might think it is. If the applicant withholds or lies on the form and it is discovered that recruiter along with anyone else who might have dealt with the applicant comes under investigation which in medical issues can be a career ending thing. Most issues can be worked, you just have to inform us of them.

If the 2807-2 is clean the applicant will proceed to the physical.

If it’s not a pre-screen will need to be done. Medical issues are so large there is no way I could cover everything that might or could arise. For our example we will assume the applicant is clean but had an ACL surgery 3 years ago. The applicant would need to mark that on the form and then provide his recruiter with every document from the doctor for the issue. This includes any ER records, initial visit, pre-op report, surgery report, post-op report, and all follow-ups until the all clear is given.

Pay attention here, notice I said ALL records. Bring everything, if only half the records get brought nothing will be done until everything is brought. It’s frustrating for everyone when the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) keeps requesting more documents because the applicant has failed to turn everything in.

Once a pre-screen is complete the CMO can either authorize the applicant to proceed (no restrictions), authorize a physical only to speak with the applicant and determine the extent of the condition, state a waiver is needed and submit to the Command Surgeon, or disqualify the applicant from service.

Physical: the physical is actually a pretty easy thing but there are a few things to highlight. The applicant will do a urine test, have blood drawn, do height and weight, and speak to the doctor. There are also a few specific things that will be done. One is the duck walk, which is the applicant will crouch down like a catcher and take a few steps maintaining that position. The applicant will need to be able to stand from a knees on the ground positron without he use of their hands.

After completing the physical the applicant will have a PULHES assigned. Information on that can be found at the link https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PULHES_Factor

PULHES numbers run 0-4. A 0 means the PULHES is “open” and the applicant will need a consult, more on that in a minute. A 1 is optimal meaning no restrictions. A 2 means still qualified, small limitation such as wearing glasses. A 3 means the applicant is disqualified from service for a condition, but may be granted a waiver. A 4 means the applicant is permanently disqualified with no waiver authorized.

If the applicant needs a consult he will need to go back to MEPS at a later time to be taken to see a specialist. For example someone with a 0 in “S” might need to see the physiologist.

During the consult one of three things can happen. The doctor can clear the condition with no conditions. The doctor can submit a waiver to the Command Surgeon or the doctor can say the applicant is disqualified. If a waiver is needed a wait will happen, currently for the Army about a week after a consult.

Medical is so deep I could write a novel on it and still not cover everything. This is a real quick idea of how the process goes and what is happening.

Justin

Recruiting 101-Part 1

I’m going to turn this into a mini little series based on different milestone markers. This will be part 1 of  4. Today we will cover “so your kid wants to join the ….

Disclaimer: I am not all knowing and would never profess to give guidance on something I do not know. With that said these will be mostly Army related. For other service specific questions please find someone knowledgable for that service. 
It’s the day every parent dreads, mom/dad I met a recruiter and I’m thinking about the … Don’t think your child was fed some slick sales pitch first of all. The most successful recruiters let their career do the talking, telling stories and sharing experiences works best. But now what can you as a parent do?
First and foremost don’t panic. Things will be ok. 
Pre-visit: Odds are that your child wants to be just like or similar to his recruiter. Physiologically we recruit in our own image, I’ve put more MP’s in the Army than anything else. Find out what interests your child and work from there. Make a list of things you want to talk about (education benefits, continuing training, career progression expectations, and day to day for example). Be prepared but listen to your child. Maybe he only wants infantry now that doesn’t mean he will want it down the road. Make a list of career fields he is interested and ask questions about those. Plan the visit out for a specific date and time I can prepare much more detailed information based on your child if I have a heads up. If you fail to plan expect the recruiter to follow suit. 
During visit: I will always want you to come to me. It’s simple I have an advantage on the home turf. I also have the added benefit of my friends in the office that can help with their experience lines up with something that interests your child. Ask your questions, this is an information session. No recruiter can put your kid in the service from their office so stop thinking your child is enlisting right now. Have a conversation, find out about the recruiter what he has done and seen. Talk to the center commander as well. Take notes, ask for handouts explaining the things that are important to you. Ask questions and get into detail about the differences between Active, Reserve and Guard. Make sure you understand how each program works and what they are guaranteeing, not just promising. 
Post visit: sit and talk. You may not want this to happen ever but if your child does enough it will, nothing you can really do about it. Ask questions of where he is and what he liked and didn’t. Validate the information you were given through a secondary means. Shop around, that’s ok just don’t buy into the crap that they sell (I.e. The USAF is the smartest, USMC is toughest, that IS a recruiting pitch. No one is stronger or smarter than anyone else and everyone matters). Evaluate the information for your child and let them drive the conversation. Be supportive not discouraging, if your son wants Airborne Ranger and you talk him into being a computer guy it’s not the recruiter he will be upset with. 
Decision time: Pick the service that is best for your child. Don’t believe the hype of smart/strong make a decision based on the facts. When a decision is made notify the recruiter. 

If you need anything we are only a message away. 

You can Make a Difference Locally and Nationally

Spring has sprung and here on the East Coast the rush begins to prepare for summer.  We crawl out of our winter gear, shake off the dark and look forward to the refreshing changes of the season.

Keeping in mind that change has the opportunity of happening on a daily basis, and knowing we in this group are Military Minded and want to serve, help, support…lets think of ways we can Change the lives of those Military members Active or Veteran who need us!

How…

Even before becoming a Military Mom I was in the habit of contacting my Local Elected Officials, I’ve always felt, if they need me to vote for them, I need them to hear me, help me.  I contact my newly elected local officials, from Municipal, County and State Levels, to National level.  I don’t make it long…I don’t make it political…I just introduce myself as a constituent, I briefly explain my family and one or two major concerns and then I ask how they stand on those concerns. Pretty simple, and I’ve always gotten a response…  “I’m a Military Mom, I have a Veteran Son, My son relies on Veteran Administration Care”…simple non complicated statements…just ask how they feel.  And if you don’t agree with them, you might then want to take the conversation to the next step and call their office, or follow up with another letter or email.  It’s an easy way to support our Military and also get to know how our government work. You can find the contact information for your State at  http://www.gov.com/statelocal/

Let MMN know how your experience works out!

Free Stuff…

I don’t know about you, but I am always amazed at the Free Stuff you can get, sometimes its useful, sometimes its clutter…don’t just discard it, donate it!  I keep a running box of shampoo, body wash, toothpaste and other toiletries that I either get from Hotels, or samples or even coupon deals…when I have a full box I drop it off at my local Veterans Affairs office, I luckily have one right down the street but you may have to locate yours, call first and introduce yourself and MMN and let them know your wish to donate some unused items, I am sure they can find a use for them.  I add in socks that can be universal male/female and I always have one or two of those Free T Shirts from events…lanyards, hats, work gloves…keeping it small.  Many times your local VA Office won’t have storage room so if it’s too big they will turn away, so keep it small and simple.

MMN

is ALWAYS looking for those who can send boxes to our Active Duty military…we have ongoing means of donation and we have emergent need requests that go out…watch our page, sign up for the ongoing box drives. Check out the menu on our website and look for the Box and Card section.

And our Veterans always need you…

As a newer Veteran mom I realized right away that once your loved one is out of the Military the world is a different place for them.  It’s a more complicated life, hinged on many aspects they can’t anticipate or control.  It’s a frustrating maze that changes with each Government administration and very rarely are our Veterans “kept in the loop” meaning, they sometimes can’t keep up with the changing information. They may experience lapses in coverages, or payments…rent and car payments etc don’t wait, and may not be understanding of the issues facing our Veterans.  Lend a hand when you can, lend an ear or a shoulder, more important  listen!  An overwhelmed and emotional person sometimes doesn’t make the best decisions and sometimes a stranger just listening helps to clear a cloudy mind.  If you have the time volunteer at your local Legion Hall, Veterans Group Home, if you are not sure what resources your local community may have in place contact your County or State Veterans groups and ask, they will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.  A few hours a month can make a huge difference.  If you live in a Community that supports a lot of local interaction and activities contact your town or local administration and ask that they remember to include the Veterans, not just the Senior Citizen Veterans but All the Veterans in your community.  Speak for those who might not know how to speak for themselves.

As always I leave you with this, MMN would love to hear your comments or questions regarding our stories, it’s a pleasure to serve our Military and we are dedicated to sharing our passion.

~~Sue

 

 

The View from Geriann’s World

2017 is an exciting time for Military Mama Network.  It seems I say that every year, but it’s always true!  In 2017, we expect to send over 20,000 cards; more than 1000 boxes from all over the country to places all over the world; and connect to more mamas and men than we can imagine or count. Help us reach our 2017 card goal
Just a few of our visions for 2017  include:
  • Email newsletter delivered to our mamas and men on a monthly basis
  • Podcasts where we can discuss military topics in more detail and depth than a column or email can allow
  • A website content team representing each area of our network:  veterans, active duty and civilians.
  • Additional chapters launched all over the country
  • Leadership support for our chapter leaders that will focus on specific skill sets instead of geography
  • An amazing nationwide team that will continue to handle long term vision and policies, product development and sales, card and box support, our Christmas Train project, and Fallen Fridays.
Join us for our 2017 Family and Friends CruiseIf you’ve been around a while, you know we had planned to have a conference in late 2015 but that was delayed due to serious health issues.  We are in the planning stages of 2-3 regional gatherings for 2017:  One in TX in July; one on the East coast in August; and our grand finale of fun and connection:  Our MMN friends and family cruise, which will serve as both a fundraiser and an opportunity to give active duty and veterans a chance to win a “Thank you cruise” for the cost of getting to the departing port.
We will be expanding our leadership team and would love for you to join us if any of the above-mentioned opportunities match your passion and skill set!
In the meantime, we would love for you to sign up for our news newsletter! If our mission is one that resonates with you and you would like to partner with us financially, simply click on our donation link. If you’d like to participate in local outreach opportunities, complete our contact form.