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