In the military, OPSEC stands for Operational Security. There are rules and guidelines for OPSEC that pertain to services members and their families and friends. In this day and age with social media, there are a lot of bad guys out there looking for information to deter the safety and missions of our nation’s military.
WHAT IS OPSEC?
OPSEC protects US operations – planned, in progress, and those completed. OPSEC is keeping potential adversaries from discovering critical information about the Department of Defense. The military needs to accomplish the mission quickly and successfully. Success relies on secrecy, surprise, and private information. Enemies want this critical information, and they are not just after the military member to get it. They also look to military families and friends.
Unfortunately, OPSEC can’t be summed up in a brief list of rules and regulations and be expected to cover every possible situation. There are some general rules and guidelines to follow for military family members and friends.
RULES OF OPSEC
- Do not post detailed information about the mission of assigned units.
- Do not post details on locations and times of unit deployments.
- Do not list your spouse’s specific job on social media.
- Do not post where your spouse is ported.
- Do not post about personnel transactions that occur in large numbers (Example: pay information, powers of attorney, wills, deployment information).
- Do not post details on locations and times of unit trainings
- Do not post unit/service member itineraries
- Do not post references to trends in unit morale or personnel problems.
- Do not post details concerning security procedures, response time, tactics.
- Do not post details Personal Identifying Information (PII)
- Do not post exact redeployment dates
- Do not reveal camp locations, including nearby cities. After the deployment is officially announced by Military officials, you may discuss locations that have been released, normally on the Country level.
- Do not discuss convoy routes (“we travelled through ‘such-and-such’ on our way to X”)
- Do not discuss equipment or lack thereof, to include training equipment
- Avoid the use of count-up or count-down tickers for the same reason as rule #1, if you do decide to use one, make sure only YOU and those you trust are able to see it.
- Be very careful if posting pictures of your loved one. Avoid images that show significant landmarks near their base of operations, and black out last names and unit affiliations.
- Do not, EVER, post information about casualties (coalition or enemy) before the official release of the information.
- Do not pass on rumors (“I heard they’re coming home early”, etc)
You may want to limit your posts to friends-only. Defaults can change on Facebook with no real notice, and suddenly you’re posting to the Public. If your FRG has a facebook group, ask the leader if it’s secret, closed, or public. What you post to a group may appear on other people’s timelines as well.
If you must post photos, consider cropping or blurring some details on pictures.
Make sure your location services setting is turned off, if you don’t want your or your spouse to be reporting where their location is.
Social media is not going away any time soon. More and more issues arise with social media and consequences hit much harder and much faster (with consequently less time to “undo” a mistake).
These OPSEC rules aren’t meant to limit your free speech or restrict your liberties- that’s exactly what our men and women in uniform fight to protect. They are put into place to help ensure the safety and security of our nation’s military.
If you have any questions, contact your (or your sponsor’s) unit OPSEC manager.