What is OPSEC?
OPSEC (Operational Security) is keeping potential adversaries (enemies) from discovering critical information or weaknesses in an operation, plan or security detail. It protects operations — planned, in progress and those completed. Success depends on secrecy and surprise, and to accomplish the mission more quickly and with less risk. Enemies or adversaries want this information, and they are not just after the leaders to get it. They want you, the family member or anyone with knowledge of any operation that can help exploit weaknesses in an operation.
The five-step OPSEC process provides the framework to answer important questions about risk and allows us to protect critical information. The OPSEC process consists of five steps:
Identify critical information – what information must be protected and why.
Critical information includes:
1. • Information about friendly activities, intentions, capabilities, and limitations
2 • Information relating to military technologies, vulnerabilities, and performance data
3 • Intelligence capabilities, collection methods, personnel strength, and dispersement
4 • Personal information about people we work with
5 • Any information that is useful to an adversary
Analyze threats – who are your adversaries and what their goals are:
1. • Threats to the success of a mission result from the efforts of adversaries.
2. • Who is an adversary?
4. • An individual, group, organization, or government that must be denied critical information
5. • Not necessarily a sworn enemy, foreign government, or military power
6. • Any person or group whose intentions and capabilities are contrary to ours
Analyze vulnerabilities - what weaknesses can an adversary exploit:
• A vulnerability exists when an adversary can:
2. • Exploit weaknesses to obtain critical information
3. • Take timely action against our mission based on that information
Assess risks - If adversary exploits a weakness how it will affect the mission?
To assess risks:
1 • Consider the consequences of your actions
2. • Will something you do or say provide an indicator to an adversary?
3. • How would an adversary benefit from the indicator?
4. • What's the effect on the mission?
5. • What is the cost of avoiding the risk?
Apply OPSEC countermeasures – how will you protect critical information
1. • Minimize predictable patterns
2. • Conceal indicators that may point to critical information or vulnerabilities
3. • Make indicators seem unimportant
4. • May be as simple as choosing not to talk about something
5. • Protect critical information
THE 5 STEPS OF MILITARY OPSEC
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