The Importance of OPSEC!
I’m guilty. Lock me up. Throw away the key. I have broken the rules of OPSEC. Like many of you fellow girlfriends or maybe even new wives, I had no idea what this was. OPSEC stands for Operational Security. It’s something that is crucial to the safety of your deployed service member, so listen up!
Read this sentence three times over: YOU DO NOT KNOW WHO IS LISTENING OR WHO IS WATCHING!
With the boom in social media sites like Myspace, Facebook, & Twitter…it’s so easy to shout to the world what you’re feeling. Homecomings and deployments are one of the most exciting and emotional (respectively) times in your military life. We want to shout to all the world that golden ticket of a date when we finally know they are coming home. We want our families and friends to be aware of a deployment date so they can be there for us the second they leave. Perhaps deployment dates aren’t as crucial as homecoming dates, but none the less…any information should be handled with extreme caution.
Many of us have friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter who are complete strangers or people we only have a persona about. We may THINK we know these people but how many times have you been fooled by people yourself? How many times have you flipped on the news to hear about an American turned radical extremeist blowing up a building or killing innocent people? How many times have we heard about neighborhood raids in seemingly quiet towns in Europe & America that produce a cell of home-grown terrorists? It happens ladies and gents and it seems to be happening more and more.
Discussing missions, whereabouts, and dates is EXTREMELY dangerous to your loved one and information the enemy is waiting to get his hands on. Sound crazy? It’s not. You wouldn’t want to be responsible for the death or injury of your loved one or someone else’s. Simply even telling your best friend, mother, or child could be a big mistake. For those on the outside of the military community, they might not understand the consequences. Say you tell your best friend Amy over coffee at your house about your husbands homecoming. Amy is excited for you and goes and tells a few of her friends at work just in passing conversation. See where this can go? Not a good idea. You know Amy, but you DON’T know who Amy works with.
Here’s what you can do:
1.) If you see someone violating OPSEC rules, gently remind them of the importance of obeying OPSEC. Send them the link to this blog and ask them if they’ve heard of OPSEC. Some girlfriends have no idea and sometimes I even see wives slipping up. It happens and I am guilty also, but sometimes it simply comes from not knowing.
2.) Sometimes it comes from the service members themselves! Scary right!?! I have seen it time and time again on my FH’s battle buddies Facebooks. Remind them also of OPSEC rules and why you want them to stay safe. If you feel they are repeating this danger, contact their appropriate superiors.
3.) Refer anyone in your military family to this OPSEC Website from DefendAmerica. It’s always nice to give a little refresher course on OPSEC.
4.) If you find someone continuously violating OPSEC rules and putting our service members in danger, contact your battery FRG leader to find out what can be done. Even if the mistake is coming from someone you don’t know, the FRG or others on post will have information on how to report them.
5.) It’s natural for our friends and family to get curious and ask us what is happening or when certain things are occuring. Gently remind them that you can’t really say for security reasons but that they are safe, sound, secure, and/or are coming home soon.
I had the wits about me to know that you shouldn’t reveal exact locations, cities, or mailing addresses to other people. But, I had no idea this included homecoming dates, R&R dates, etc. I feel it’s really important to blog about this today as I was reminded by @tammymunson that since so many of our guys and girls are coming home, we are so eager to blurt things out.
Here are some additional OPSEC links:
OPSEC & PERSEC can save your hubby’s life AND yours!
Taking the “D’oh!” out of OPSEC ~ US Army
OPSEC “Loose Lips Sink Ships” ~ US Navy