OPSEC & PERSEC
OPSEC, also known as Operational Security, are the principles that we should all abide by when talking about our soldiers. If you’ve been on any military related message board 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 soldier and his unit.
Generally, it means that you should not give out the following:
- Your soldier’s 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 soldier is in a special operations unit, the OPSEC guidelines can be stricter. You may not be able to say he is deployed at all much less where 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.
My soldier is deployed in support of Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom
My soldier is in XYZ Unit and is stationed at ABC Camp in XXX city in Iraq.
Give only general locations IF his unit allows it. The above incorrect statement is way too much information.
INCORRECT: My soldier’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.
Many wives like to use deployment tickers to count down their soldier’s deployment. Never have a ticker that shows XX days until he returns. If you must have a ticker, then have one with the amount of time he has been gone.
Finally, 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 husband is deployed.
PERSEC is also known as personal security. Like OPSEC, this involves guarding the information that you know. Do not give out your soldier’s name along with rank. Be vague about your personal information on the internet. This is plain common sense in just every day life – regardless of if your husband is in the military.
The old saying loose lips sink ships still holds true today. Keep your soldier, your family and his unit safe by keeping the information you know to yourself. You never know who is lurking and gathering information on message boards, myspace pages and profiles, etc. Better safe than sorry!
Stacey Abler is an Army Wife and owner of the website, http://www.marriedtothearmy.com.
In addition, she also operates several Cafepress stores - http://www.cafepress.com/soldierswife for Army families and http://www.cafepress.com/soldierswife2 for Navy, Marine and Air Force families.