IWAKUNI, Japan - OPSEC is a process to deny potential enemies information about capabilities and/or intentions by identifying, controlling and protecting unclassified information that gives evidence of the planning and execution of sensitive activities.
OPSEC is a five step process:
-Identify your critical information
-Analyze your threat
-Analyze your vulnerabilities
-Assess your risk
-Employ appropriate protective measures
Critical information are the secrets of an organization, that if known to the enemy, can weaken or defeat an operation. Critical information usually is, or should be, classified or protected as sensitive unclassified information.
Examples of critical information are:
-Logistical capabilities and limitations
-Fleet of ships and aircraft
-Personally identifiable information
-Law enforcement activities
Ways to protect critical information:
-Shred all papers with account information, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers and anything that can be used to steal your identity.
-Don't leave your ID card around. Your ID cards can give access to government information.
Potential adversaries gather as much information about you to create a profile about you or your command. The following ways are how potential adversaries gather information about you. They first look for OPSEC indicators. OPSEC indicators are actions and sources of information which enemy intelligence can detect, obtain and then interpret to procure critical information. They then associate certain inforation to you. Association refers to the relationship of an indicator to other information or activities about you.
They then observe differences in normal activity. It’s up to you to not allow potential adversaries to gather this information.
The Anti-Terrorism Force Protection office already takes preventive measures to protect OPSEC such as dumpster diving for critical information.
Terrorism has recently become the most significant threat to our way of life.
Adversaries will continually look for and find any weak links or vulnerabilies.
In order to determine your commands and your own vulnerabilities, you must continually analyze how you conduct operations.
Ways to protect from becoming vulnerable:
-Do not give away information regarding operations.
-Countermeasures need to be developed that eliminate the vulnerabilities, threats or utility of the information to the adversaries.
Other ways to practice OPSEC:
-Stop the delivery of newspaper, so they don’t pile up outside if gone.
-Ask a trusty neighbor or friend to pick up mail so the mailbox doesn't fill up indicating you are gone.
-Connect porch and inside lights to a timer so they go on at preset times
-Connect a radio to a timer so it comes on at various times.
-Create confusion about intentions, operations, times and tactics to be employed.
Practice common sense and include OPSEC in your daily routines!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Resources used for this article include Marine Corps order 3070.2, information from the Anti-Terrorism Force Protection office, and web site http://www.osec.doc.gov/osy/PDF/DOCOPSEC.pdf
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This work, OPSEC: National security starts with you, by PFC Cayce Nevers, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.