Tuesday, January 12, 2010

OPSEC - what is it and why do you need to follow it...

If you're a military spouse, you've heard this one time or another: Observe OPSEC. What exactly is it?
How far is too far and what is allowed? Can I tell my mom on the telephone where my husband is going next? Why won't the FRG or Ombudsman tell me where my husband is? What can I say to my next door neighbor about my wife's deployment? Can I or when is it safe to give out ship's movement information, such as Homecoming. What can my children tell their classmates and/or teacher when they ask questions about their military lifestyle?
Some people go to extreme, while others don't take it serious enough. Some folks believe that nothing outside of the military community should be said at all. While others believe it's okay to tell close friends and family information. What information is allowed, what information isn't?
OPSEC has been the butt of many spouse to spouse and active to active quarrels in recent years. With all the terroristic threats and security operations occurring in each branch and civilian contractors, worldwide, it puts us military families on edge. Especially when we know our spouses are in tenative danger, but from what, exactly, we aren't sure. While some spouses understand the need to keep their sailors, soldiers, and airmen safe, others don't understand why they aren't allowed to know (or give out) information because afterall, they aren't a terrorist themselves.
And here's the kicker that many folks don't understand, nor follow: Just because one member of military is included in the circle of knowledge, doesn't mean another should be included just because he has the security clearance. Meaning, if my husband has a top secret clearance and wasn't in the brief, the guy with the secret clearance who was included in the brief shouldn't tell my husband what the information was about. If my husband is to be privy to that information, he would have been included in the brief.

So, what is it and how can I abide by it?? Here are 5 easy steps to make sure you are following OPSEC:

OPSEC involves a relatively simple five-step process that anyone can use.
- Identify critical information. The information you have that could assist an adversary in any way.

- Analyze the threat to that information. Does an adversary have the capability to collect or use the information, and if so, how?

- Analyze the vulnerabilities. How is the critical information relayed in the course of your daily duties and how is it protected?

- Assess the risk. How likely is it that the information could be compromised?

- Develop countermeasures. What can you do to protect the information from being disclosed?
Taken from the Navy.mil website. Public information.

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