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 What is OPSEC?

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PostSubject: What is OPSEC?   Sun May 31 2009, 04:13

Operations Security
OPerations SECurity is very important to understand when dealing with the government. OPSEC helps to protect classified and unclassified information that our government has. It is important for everyone to understand. There are many key points of OPSEC that I will point out in this briefing.

OPSEC is necessary!
The Laws of OPSEC

If you don't know the threat, how do you know what to protect?
If you don't know what to protect, how do you know you are protecting it?
If you are not protecting it. . . .the adversary wins!

For us it is important to keep the information of the military person we know safe. In the wrong hands, the unclassified information YOU possess could cause potentially grave harm to the United States or your military person.

What is the threat?
The threat is harm to the United States or your military person. If there were no threats, there would be no reason to protect anything. These threats are what your men are fighting against.

What are you protecting?

Any and all unclassified/classified information. Hopefully if you do not possess a security clearance, you do not know any classified information. But all information needs to remain safe.

Examples of this include:

• Last names
• All Dates (Returning/Leaving/R&R, etc) You can only discuss past dates. IE: Hubby came home last march (do not use exact dates)
• Exact Unit numbers or Unit Names
• Exact locations unless they are stateside (Bases, Posts, Forts, Ports) IE: We are stationed at Ft. Bragg. Not ok: He will be doing a training exercise at 29 Palms…
• Addresses, email, phone numbers of your man
• Don’t discuss future operations or missions.
• Don’t discuss dates and times of when we will be in port or conducting exercises.
• Don’t discuss readiness issues and numbers.
• Don’t discuss specific training equipment.
• Don’t discuss people’s names (including last names) and billets in conjunction with operations.
• Don’t speculate about future operations.
• Don’t spread rumors about operations.
• Don’t assume the enemy is not trying to collect information on you so he can kill you, he is.
• Be smart, use your head, and always think OPSEC when using email or phone.
• Please don’t use any last names anywhere in writing, pictures, screen names, email addresses, etc.
• You never know who may be leering around. And to keep all of our service members safe including ourselves it’s extremely important to follow these rules.
All information Trusted to You should remain in your brain, do not share this information. If it's questionable as to whether or not you should say the information, ask an Administrator or keep it to yourself.

NEED TO KNOW

Need to know is an important concept to understand. Stop, think and decide whether or not another person needs to know this information. Does Person A need to know Private John's last name? In most all cases NO! Addresses, phone numbers, AIM names, email addresses, dates, unit numbers, locations or bases/posts etc., and all other 'sensitive' information are all examples of things "strangers" do not need to know.

Even between two people who hold a Top Secret security clearance. One person may not tell the other a classified number if that person does not have a need to know.
Before you give away any information to another person, decide if they have the need to know. This is a very important concept.

Basic OPSEC Countermeasures
• Properly destroy sensitive information.
• Avoid posting or displaying sensitive information.
• Do not leave lap-top computers unattended in public places.
• Be aware of the threats.
• Know how information is gathered.
• Know what information requires protection.
• Know what you can do to protect the information
Sensitive Information

What is Sensitive Information?
Sensitive information can be anything. Usually sensitive information is any piece of unclassified (or classified) information that can help the enemy put the missing pieces of the puzzle together. Sensitive information can be anything from a last name to a bank account number. Operate on a need to know basis, you should be effective in minimizing the amount of sensitive information you give out. The most important concept is to stay aware of the information you know, and be sure that you keep it safe.

The Intelligence Puzzle
When the enemy collects enough sensitive UNCLASSIFIED information he may be able to find out what the big picture is. With enough unclassified information, it is significantly easier to piece together what the CLASSIFIED information would be. This is a huge security risk.



Online OPSEC
OPSEC - Absolutely MUST Read!



Below are a listing of sites where I've gathered information on OPSEC in case you'd like to read articles or descriptions in full for yourself (instead of what I explain in this blog). I expect every single person joining this site to follow OPSEC on my site, though if you have any intelligence you'd be following OPSEC in EVERY aspect of your life if you love anyone in the military. If you give out information on my site that you shouldn't or if I visit your site and I see you giving out information you shouldn't...you will be removed from my list. It's not bitchy of me, it's extremely ignorant of you. Most people (wives, fiancees, girlfriends, family members and even some of our own military) down play the importance of OPSEC. Guess what ladies, those people are the ones that put your loved ones at risk of getting hurt or even worse killed. Again, I highly recommend you read thru this entire post, if you really love your military man (brother, sister, father, mother or whomever) then it's not asking too much!

Defend America - An Operational Security (OPSEC) Primer « good information

U.S. Army IMA - Installation Management Agency « helpful stuff for your every day living

Wikipedia - Operations Security (OPSEC) « short description

Interagency OPSEC Support Staff (IOSS) « when there click on "what it means for you"

IWS - The Information Warfare Site - Operation Security « easist to understand

OPSEC (Operational Security) in Civilian Terms « amazing section just for OPSEC with tons of information (including chat room security, message board security and online security) - a link you don't want to skip

‡ You never give out your deployment date or homecoming date (i.e. the stupid countdowns until your man is home again - try using a countup ticker to how long he's been gone).

‡ Don't give out your man's personal info (i.e. social security number, MOS, unit info, phone number, address AND also includes your personal info don't give out your address, etc).

‡ You do not discuss training exercises (i.e. as in what they're doing there and again no dates of leaving or coming home).

‡ When deployed don't give out their location! OPSEC is about not giving out sensitive information. Information doesn't have to be "classified" to be sensitive (i.e. the news gives out sensitive information when they shouldn't...because you see or hear something on TV does NOT mean it's ok to be giving things like that out)!

‡ Also includes not giving out information on unit or personal morale of your military loved one (i.e. shows a sign of weakness and make an attack on a certain unit/person more appealing).

‡ Don't think the enemy isn't trying to gather information from people like you because they are!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (which is the most important thing to remember)

That means not giving out that info in IMs, emails, over the phone, on websites and even to friends and family members (because they could let something slip out in a store or at work or where). Below are direct paragraphs, quotes, etc from the above mentioned websites (again, you're encouraged to check them out yourselves and read thru the articles entirely.

» Operations Security (OPSEC) is the only discipline that focuses primarily on unclassified information and activities. Classified information constitutes only a small fraction of the information and activities that the majority of us process every day. Most of the information we deal with is unclassified. Many wrongly think that if information or activities are not important enough to be classified, then they do not need to be protected. However, government sources estimate that 75-90 percent of our adversaries' information collection requirements can be satisfied through unclassified open sources. This article will explain what OPSEC is, what it can do for you, and how you can apply it in your unit. OPSEC is an integral element of Information Operations and Force Protection.

» The premise of OPSEC is that the accumulation of one or more elements of sensitive/unclassified information or data could damage national security by revealing classified information.

» We can never underestimate the capabilities or strength of conviction of terrorists or any other adversary. Nothing is more dangerous than people who are willing to die for a cause. Everything we do involves risk - the application of the OPSEC process develops effective countermeasures to help us accomplish our future missions - by analyzing and minimizing the risk that we may inadvertently reveal critical information to our adversaries.

» The most potentially damaging intelligence source is "US". We may, unknowingly, provide intelligence information to adversaries through carelessness or a lack of concern for OPSEC measures in the workplace and in daily contact with others. We may talk in public places about subjects best discussed only in the office with authorized personnel. We may also relate detailed accounts of our daily activities to family members without regard to what they might tell friends or acquaintances.

» The OPSEC may be applied to a wide variety of situations in a competitive or adversary environment. If you have ever given a surprise party or attempted to make your house look lived in while you were away, by arranging for someone to pick up your newspapers or installing a light timer, you have practiced OPSEC.

» Another definition (from NATO AAP 6 (U) ) would be: "The process which gives a military operation or exercise appropriate security, using passive or active means, to deny the enemy knowledge of the dispositions, capabilities and intentions of friendly forces."

» OPSEC (Operational Security) has strict rules, the following is the basic gist of them: The Ten OPSEC Points:

Don't discuss current or future destinations or ports of call.
Don't discuss current or future operations or missions.
Don't discuss current or future dates and times of when military will be in port or conducting exercises.
Don't discuss readiness issues and numbers.
Don't discuss specific training equipment.
Don't discuss people's names and billets in conjunction with operations.
Don't speculate about current or future operations.
Don't spread rumors about current, future, or past operations or movements.
Don't assume the enemy is not trying to collect information on you; he is.
Be smart, use your head, and always think OPSEC when using email, phone, chat rooms and message boards.
» Use extra caution in online chat rooms, forums, and online communities--even those with a 'brand name' such as Yahoo!, AOL, MSN or that define themselves as 'military' in origin. These can be monitored by individuals that have no reason to know personal information about your family, your soldier, or your soldier's location. There is no guarantee that a chat room or forum described as 'military' has any security for transmitting information or restricting membership to military personnel and their families only.

Online Security Issues (for any branch)

For your own security and for your military person 's security, please do not give out your soldiers overseas mailing address to anyone but family and close friends. Do not post your soldiers overseas mailing address in chat rooms or message board communities. Do not give your soldier's overseas mailing address to people you have met in online communities.

When communicating online, USE CAUTION. You can generally use the rule "If in doubt, don't."

Be careful what you share online and with whom you share it. This includes forums and email communication. Do not give out your soldiers last name, rank, social security number, location or overseas address.

Use extra caution in online chat rooms, forums, and online communities--even those with a 'brand name' such as MSN or that define themselves as 'military' in origin. These can be monitored by individuals that have no reason to know personal information about your family, your military person, or your military person's location. There is no guarantee that a chat room or forum described as 'military' has any security for transmitting information.

Chat rooms, forums and online communities can be a great place to share ideas and exchange feelings. Keep it safe by not sharing your personal information or your military person's personal information.
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