As a member of the military extended community it is important to understand OPSEC –one of the million acronyms used in the military. In this case it stands for operational security or in basic terms keeping our service members safe. In WW II days a favorite saying was “ Loose lips sink ships.” It is at another level now with internet security. We need to do what we can to keep private information private.
On this site if you are a contributor we won’t post your last name. If you send in a photo of your child in uniform make sure last names are blacked out. We also reserve the right to edit submissions or delete comments that are not within OPSEC guidelines.
Here is a set of easy to understand OPSEC Rules written by Marcella Stretch of Parents of Deployed- Service Members Facebook group. Thanks Marcella for your permission to use these guidelines. Also remember to follow the guidance of the military command your child is attached to. If they release information or photos they are public access.
OPSEC Rules For Military Families
Operations Security can’t be summed up in a brief list of rules and regulations and be expected to cover every possible situation. However, many forum, blogs and chat rooms need to set certain standards and guidelines in order to promote good OPSEC practices. These guidelines are often referred to as “OPSEC Rules”, and must be acknowledged before an account is created.
- Do not post exact deployment dates or 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 Takrit on our way to X”)
- Detailed information on the mission, capabilities or morale of a unit
- Specific names or actual nicknames
- Personnel transactions that occur in large numbers (Example: pay information, powers of attorney, wills, etc)
- Details concerning security procedures, response times, tactics
- Don’t discuss equipment or lack thereof, to include training equipment
- Don’t speculate about future operations
- If posting pictures, don’t post anything that could be misconstrued or used for propaganda purposes. A good rule of thumb is to look at your picture without your caption or explanation and consider if it could be re-captioned to reflect poorly on coalition forces. For example, your image might show your Soldier rescuing a child from a blast site, but could be re-captioned to insinuate that the child being captured or harmed. (it’s happened!)
- Avoid the use of count-up or count-down tickers for the same reason as rule #1
- 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)
If you have any questions, contact your Recruiter or Unit Commander or Family Readiness Representative.
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. However, they are designed to help ensure the safety and security of the Service Members in your life.
Remember, no matter your affiliation, status, rank or age- you have a part in the security of your loved one!
And excellent in depth discussion of OPSEC can be found at this link.
January 24, 2005: This photograph is considered public domain and has been cleared for release by the United States Marine Corps. If you would like to republish please give the photographer appropriate credit.
USMC Photo By: Sgt. Nathan K. LaForte