Spouse and Family: Operational Security (OPSEC)
The development of the World Wide Web has been a communication boon to military families who are now able to use its technology as a means to stay
closer to their deployed service member. What many don't recognize is, without careful use, internet activities can also put their service member and
others at risk.
The motto "Loose Lips May Sink Ships," was originally devised by the Navy during WWII to drive home the importance of operational security (OPSEC).
In its most basic form, OPSEC is concerned with keeping information out of the hands of those who would use it to do harm. The famous WWII motto is
just as important in achieving OPSEC today as it was back then, although the internet presents brand new challenges to security that never would have
been considered during its original inception.
The abundance of family home pages, message boards, mailing lists and chat rooms make it easy and fun to share information, resources and friendship
with others in the military community. Cyber-support is never further than a few mouse clicks away, and can be a lifesaver for families of reservists
or active duty filling assignments that take them outside the military support system.
Compromise of military operations is not the only feared result of OPSEC violations. The Department of Defense is also concerned for the safety of
families who may unwittingly become targets of hostility because of their connection to the military.
Military spouses should be smart, not scared, when it comes to online communications. Precautionary measures are meant to ensure safety, not cause
If you have questions about OPSEC and appropriate communications, contact your command family support liaison for more information.
When you make information available on the web, you can never truly be sure who has access to it - or of their intentions. The friendly spouse you're
chatting with online may be exactly who she claims to be. Then again, she may not. Resist the temptation to disclose unnecessary information about
your spouse and his or her job. Don't allow pride in your loved one to become a means for endangering them.
When participating in online communities or building a personal web site, use caution in revealing information about yourself and your family. Avoid
disclosure of your last name and location, discussion of specific unit information, movements, or dates, deployment information or base security
measures. And don't forget about pictures - while photographs are fun to share, always bear in mind a picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure
those words are ones you mean to communicate.