Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Op Sec and the Military Blog world...

Two articles coming out in the last day discussing the necessity of military blogs providing for good operational security when talking about military matters. For me back in DC, it is not as critical unless I was to discuss things that I do during Drill. However, for our men and women in the Sandbox, every day they could post tidbits which prove useful for our enemies around the world. This is a real challenge for the DOD. On the other hand, we also learn secrets of the enemy so it is a two way street. Here is an article from the Washington Times discussing how Central Intelligence now uses open source reporting as a data point: And here is something I got from my chain of command: OPSEC expands focus, remains critical By Capt. Gideon McClure Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AETCNS) - "Do you think you'll deploy this year? How long will you be gone? What do you think you'll be doing? Where? Will you be going with a lot of people?" At this point in the conversation you should be wondering who is asking, why are they asking and who else might get their hands on the answers. Although the answers to these questions may not be classified, when put together the information could reveal sensitive details of military operations that could endanger mission effectiveness or lives."Whether deployed or at home, every Airman has a responsibility to safeguard operational information," said Gen. William R. Looney, III, commander of Air Education and Training Command. "Airmen need to be aware of what they are saying and who might be listening. We need to realize that security starts at the source." This idea is not new. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 298, which required each executive department and agency supporting national security missions to establish an operational security program. The objective of this OPSEC program was clear-to prevent the inadvertent compromise of sensitive U.S. government activities, capabilities or intentions through an adversary's collection of unclassified information. While security programs were already in place to protect classified information, the OPSEC program was intended to protect pieces of publicly available information that could jeopardize military actions or intentions.NSDD 298 laid the foundation for the OPSEC process and established actions different agencies were required to take. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley, in a message released March 27, encouraged all Airmen to know and understand the critical information essential to mission success. In addition, General Moseley called on Airmen to recognize vulnerabilities in Air Force processes and apply OPSEC measures when a commander's risk assessment deems it necessary."Understanding and using OPSEC will protect our personnel and enhance our ability to conduct operations safely, securely and effectively," General Moseley said in his message. General Moseley not only called on Airmen to renew their OPSEC vigilance, but also pointed out that as the Air Force becomes more reliant on new technologies, such as Web logs and wireless communication devices, their attention to OPSEC procedures should be heightened as well. "Our Airmen are technologically savvy. That's one of the keys to our flexibility as a fighting force. But from an OPSEC perspective, there are vulnerabilities associated with cell phones, PDAs, flash drives, and blogs. With the increased use of these technologies comes an increased responsibility to carefully guard operational information from improper disclosure. Our enemies know how to use technology as well, and they are on the prowl," said General Looney. According to an al-Qaida training manual found by police in Manchester, England, terrorists have distinct guidelines on how to obtain information that would assist in subverting U.S. interests, policies and operations.

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