OPSEC is a sensitive topic in the military community. There is a lot going on with the military in today’s current events. When your new to the military lifestyle you won’t know what to say or not to say, until you say it and then get chewed out for it or your military member in trouble!
Here are a few helpful tips to learn about OPSEC & PERSEC and the Do’s and Don’ts!
OPSEC & PERSEC
OPSEC, also known as Operational Security, are the principles that we should all abide by when talking about our military members. If you’ve been on any military related message board, Facebook group, etc. on the internet, you have more than likely seen a warning to be sure to practice OPSEC. This means protecting the information you know about your military member and his/her unit.
PERSEC is Personal Security or Personnel Security. PERSEC is protecting the individual and his/her family and community. You, Don’t post last names (some of us don’t post first names either, but that is a personal choice–if you or your loved one has an unusual first name, don’t use it), phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, your specific work place, name along with rank or any other specific personal information that can be traced directly to you or the military member, be vague about your personal information on the internet.
How much personal information you post ANYWHERE is, of course, a personal choice, but think about it BEFORE you make a post and decide what’s right for *you and your family*.
Generally, in both cases, it means that you should not give out the following:
- The military members exact location overseas
- Any information on troop movements – this includes any movement while they are deployed, in transit to/from theater, etc. Do not ever give dates.
- Any information on weapons systems, how they train or numbers – for this reason, many pictures from overseas can easily violate OPSEC
If your military member is in a special operations unit, the OPSEC guidelines can be stricter. You may not be able to say s/he is deployed at all much less where s/he is.
ALWAYS abide by the rules set forth by his unit. Just because it is on the news does not mean that you can talk about the issue. By talking about it, you are only verifying the information.
The military member is deployed in support of Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom
The military member is in XYZ Unit and is stationed at ABC Camp in XXX city in Iraq.
Give only general locations IF his/her unit allows it. The above incorrect statement is TOO much information.
The military member’s unit is returning from deployment and flying into XYZ Airport at 8pm next Tuesday.
Never give dates or times for troop movements. This includes R&R dates as well as deployment dates. Planes have been known to be delayed for days or weeks because this information was made public by an excited spouse or family member.
Many family members like to use deployment tickers to count down their military members deployment. Never have a ticker that shows XX days until s/he returns. If you must have a ticker, then have one with the amount of time s/he has been gone.
For your own personal safety, be very aware of what you are putting on the internet or in conversations in public. With the internet, it is not difficult to track down an address and phone number. Do not make yourself a target by letting the world know that your military member is deployed.
The old saying: “Loose lips sink ships” still holds true today. Keep your military member, your family and his/her unit safe by keeping the information you know to yourself. You never know who is lurking and gathering information on message boards, MySpace pages, Facebook, blogs, twitter, and profiles, etc. Better safe than sorry!
I hope this was helpful!
For more questions, please comment below or email: tlaborn (AT) hotmail (DOT) com
For more helpful resources check out my: Helpful Military Resources tab.