OPSEC makes for a hard target

Staff Report

SFC Faris

Sgt. 1st Class Debra Faris works as the Personnel Security Manager for the Kentucky National Guard. (Kentucky National Guard photo by David Altom)

FRANKFORT, Ky. –Growing up, we watch the diverse scenarios of life unfolding around us, both good and bad, such as, getting a speeding ticket,  getting arrested, the heartbreak of divorce, identity theft, animal attacks, domestic abuse, murder, and the list goes on.  In the innocence of our youth, we tell ourselves that, those things will never happen to me.

“Now that we are adults, we know better and if we would have paid attention to the signs, most of these scenarios could have been prevented,” said Sgt. 1st Class Debra Faris, Personnel Security Manager for the Kentucky Guard.  “With every generation it seems like we have more vulnerabilities than the previous generation.”

“OPSEC or Operations Security doesn’t just apply to the military personnel and operations,” said Faris. “It applies to everyday life.”

With today’s social media it is easier for our professional and personal information to be accessed and compromised if we don’t implement certain fail-safes.  These fail-safes are not foolproof but could discourage an adversary enough to go on to an easier target.

“The Family Readiness Group does an excellent job of informing the Kentucky National Guard family members, so the Soldiers should make it their mission to ensure that their families are educated,” she added.

Faris reminds us that 9-11 was a wake-up call, not only for America but the whole world.  However, there are still those ‘innocents’ that need educated to protect the home front.  Steps to protect those that you care about include:

OPSEC 2

Social media brings on a whole new range of OPSEC vulnerabilities for Guard members and their families.

  • Watch what you throw in the trash to prevent identity theft.
  • Set up a codeword with your children.  Not everyone in a uniform can be trusted.  Various types of uniforms can be found in surplus stores, flea markets and the trash.
  • Set strict privacy settings on social media to prevent accidental disclosure of sensitive information that could possibly compromise military missions.  ONCE INFORMATION IS POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA, IT STAYS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  Even if you ‘unpost’ it.
  • Be aware of what you say on the phone or in public.  You don’t know who the person is that overhears what you are discussing and conversations can be picked up on other communications devices.
  • Don’t post when you will not be home on ANY social media until you have returned.  Have someone cut your grass, gather your mail and newspapers.
  • Yellow ribbons in your yard are a wonderful gesture but it also an indicator that your spouse is probably deployed.   Check your neighborhood and see if everyone would display yellow ribbons.

“Sometimes you just have to think like the enemy,” Faris concluded.  “International terrorists are not the only foes that are interested in your comings and goings.  The common criminal also wants to know.”

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