OPSEC: think twice before you tweet

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jessica Condit
  • 189th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Everything you do, whether for the small or big picture, has an effect on the Air Force and the Airmen who ensure its success. To protect valuable resources and assets, the Air Force continually stresses the importance of operational security. Without protecting this vital mission information, the potential for failure increases immensely.

     The Air Force defines OPSEC as the ability to identify critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by the enemy, and implements actions to eliminate or reduce successful adversary collection and exploitation of critical information.

     "OPSEC deals with all unclassified information," said Maj. James Anderson, the 189th Airlift Wing operational security manager. "By putting many unclassified pieces of information together, however, the enemy has the ability to figure out exactly what we are doing. Sometimes, enough unclassified information can reveal classified information and be detrimental to the mission."

     There are many ways that you as an Airman can protect the Air Force mission. Ensuring all information pertaining to wing activity is safeguarded and shredded when not needed anymore will significantly decrease OPSEC vulnerabilities. Before releasing information to the public, ensure the wing public affairs office has reviewed and approved the material. Flight line photography is prohibited unless authorized by the public affairs office for official military business.

     While there are many vulnerabilities that the OPSEC program covers, social media is one of the biggest OPSEC obstacles in the Air Force today. Posting information on social media creates boundless avenues of opportunity for the enemy to gain access to information that cannot be removed.

"The biggest problem right now is posting all kinds of things on social media," Anderson said. "Everyone has a smart phone and post photos, locations and interests. I've seen people post deployment flight itineraries and photos of aircraft on the flight line."

     With unlimited access to social media, enemies all over the world use the platforms to gain access to not only your personal information, but also your family's and friends', even taking photos from your page. Ensuring family members and friends are up to speed with good OPSEC practices will ensure that extra safety precautions are in place regarding posts to social media.

     Protect yourself and your mission. Check and double-check that you are always practicing safe OPSEC. By understanding what OPSEC encompasses and what you can do to prevent violations, you can carry out the Air Force mission safely and securely. Practicing safe OPSEC is vital to the success of the 189th AW. Without ensuring that training schedules, flight line activities and other sensitive wing information are protected, the mission could be compromised significantly.

     For more information about the 189th AW OPSEC program or to report an OPSEC violation, contact Maj. James Anderson at 501-987-7501 or james.w.anderson220.mil@mail.mil or your unit commander.