Thursday, June 10, 2010

OPSEC - As Promised

I feel like I've missed out on loads of information since Gunnar was assigned to a unit that was already deployed while he was still in training.  We didn't have deployment readiness training, or literature of any kind.  We didn't have the deployment prep that other soldiers had.  This is our first go at this crazy life together and sort of just stumbling through it blindly.  To some military spouse veterans out there, a lot of information may seem intuitive, or second nature, but honestly to me, it's not. 

OPSEC is the military term for "Operations Security" and there is a huge emphasis put on this.  I'm only recently hearing about it via Facebook forums etc.  I would assume if we had been part of this deployment from the start, I would have learned about this in a more direct way.  The security they are trying to enforce relates to protecting the information we have about our soldiers from the enemies.  I would like to safely assume that the Talibad does not in fact read this blog, but apparently that's some sort of a real possibility, according to OPSEC rules.  And boy oh boy do they have a lot of rules.  Here they are with regards to internet communication:

  1. Do not post exact deployment dates or redeployment dates
  2. 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.
  3. Do not discuss convoy routes (“we travelled through Takrit on our way to X”)
  4. Detailed information on the mission, capabilities or morale of a unit
  5. Specific names or actual nicknames
  6. Personnel transactions that occur in large numbers (Example: pay information, powers of attorney, wills, etc)
  7. Details concerning security procedures, response times, tactics
  8. Don’t discuss equipment or lack thereof, to include training equipment
  9. Don’t speculate about future operations
  10. 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!)
  11. Avoid the use of count-up or count-down tickers for the same reason as rule #1
  12. 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
  13. Do not, ever, post information about casualties (coalition or enemy) before the official release of the information.
  14. Do not pass on rumors (“I heard they’re coming home early”, etc) 
So basically, I am not supposed to tell you how long we still have to wait before Gunnar comes home etc.  I don't even want to count how many dozens of times I've violated these terms already on this blog.  It's probably not a good thing but heck, it would have been nice to know this sort of stuff way back when, ya know?

Also, there is a lot of guilt-driven propaganda swirling around this OPSEC business.  I understand the gravity of the situation and what's at stake but do you really need to see stuff like this:
I mean really!  That's a little over the top, don't you think? 

Or how about people strangely trying to find the humor in OPSEC...

Unicorns?  Really?

Anyway, I'm going to make a conscious effort to not violate and OPSEC rules in the future and hopefully I'll see some dancing unicorns around here soon.  And I'll just leave you with one last little gem...

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