Don't become a target

Considering recent threats against Americans and the exponential growth of social media use, becoming a target of an adversary is easier than ever. Operations Security is a process that identifies unclassified, critical information, and outlines potential threats and risks associated while developing countermeasures to safeguard that critical information. (U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau/Released)

Considering recent threats against Americans and the exponential growth of social media use, becoming a target of an adversary is easier than ever. Operations Security is a process that identifies unclassified, critical information, and outlines potential threats and risks associated while developing countermeasures to safeguard that critical information. (U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau/Released)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Considering recent threats against Americans and the exponential growth of social media use, becoming a target of an adversary is easier than ever. 

Operations Security is a process that identifies unclassified, critical information, and outlines potential threats and risks associated while developing countermeasures to safeguard that critical information.

"Operations Security is any information that an adversary can deem useful. OPSEC itself is to not talk about critical information," said Senior Master Sgt. Kevin Wilske, 355th Fighter Wing superintendent of plans and programs.

Military family members have a responsibility to practice good OPSEC measures and protect not only mission-critical information, but also personal and family information. 
 
"Military members are targeted more because of the nature of our work," Wilske said. "With the array of jobs that are in the military, anything can be deemed as useful information for an adversary."

In order to prevent enemies from using any personal information, you must understand what an enemy can learn about you and your family from any information and details that you make available.

"You will never know what an adversary's goal or intent is," Wilske said. "You can go to your unit's OPSEC coordinator to find out what information the commander has deemed critical for your job."

Adversaries will go through great lengths to gather the information they need.

"They don't care where they get the information as long as they get it," Wilske said. "They will go through trash to search for recall rosters or duty schedules."

A cross-cut shredder is a good way to destroy important documents properly while ensuring they cannot be re-created.

Spouses and children should also be aware that information shared within the family stays within the family. Discussing information outside the household can be an open door for an adversary to listen in on a conversation.

"When we go home we talk about our day," Wilske said. "Spouses and children may not realize that the information should not be shared outside that circle of trust."

Critical information can also be passed via social media, even if the user posts the information with good intent.

"It's good to post and be proud about being in the military," Wilske said. "But these times and days it is good to be careful what you put out there."

Social media sites like Facebook frequently change their security settings. Therefore, it's a good idea to stay updated and know how to keep personal information within your close circle of friends and avoid sharing work related information.

"Facebook is a great way to contact family members," Wilske said. "Just be particular with what you post."

Practicing good OPSEC will not only protect the mission of the Air Force, but it will prevent you and your family from becoming an adversary's next target.

"OPSEC is the art of countering deception, but one word can defeat a nation of thousands," said Miguel Mendez, 355th FW antiterrorist officer.

To find out whom your unit's OPSEC coordinator is you can visit your unit's program office or contact Sergeant Wilske at 228-6169.