Practicing good operations security at home, online

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Stuart C. Wilson
  • Pacific Air Forces
The term operations security (OPSEC) is commonly used in the Air Force. What does that mean to service members and their families? How can they apply good OPSEC practices at home and when online?

The goal of the OPSEC program is to keep potential adversaries from discovering our critical information. As the name suggests, it protects our operations - planned, in progress, and those completed. Our adversaries want our information and they don't concentrate on only Airmen to get it. They target their family members.

What does OPSEC mean to service members and their families? As a family member of our military community, you are a vital player in our success, and we couldn't do our job without your support. You can protect your family and friends by protecting what you know of the military's day-to-day operations. Here are some examples of using good OPSEC at home and online. 

· Don't talk on your cell phone about your personal life or military issues where you can be overheard.
· Use good judgment when posting information on sites such as "My Space, Yahoo Communities of Interest, Face Book and You Tube".
· Use discretion when posting photographs, videos and written entries that are prejudicial to good order and discipline and of such a nature that would discredit you and the armed services. Sharing photographs, video clips, thoughts about our lives and the Air Force mission with other Internet users on these types of sites could potentially jeopardize our mission by violating good OPSEC and place PACAF warriors at risk.

Gen. Paul Hester, Pacific Air Forces commander, stressed the importance of OPSEC in today's environment in a recent OPSEC memorandum. Gen Hester also offered a couple of reminders each of us can use to reduce the number of vulnerabilities to our government networks. 

· Do not send FOUO or any classified information, to include information requiring protection under the Privacy Act, to home accounts (e.g. recall rosters, social security numbers, etc.).
· Government files shouldn't be copied to your home computer's hard drive as they could be accessed remotely by malicious code or spyware.

All family members are part of the Air Force's OPSEC team. They need to protect information to ensure the safety of all our Airmen, civilians and Air Force families. OPSEC isn't just about work. It has real application in all of our lives. Learning how to apply good OPSEC at work should carry over into our homes and online.