OPSEC bagged with groceries

  • Published
  • By Concerned Citizen
  • 39th Air Base Wing
Question: At the Commissaryrecently I over heard a female military member in uniform on her cell phone. During her conversation I heard her freely talking about the itinerary of a distinguished visitor arriving on base . 

I learned that arrangements have been made for transportation of the DV on and off base. She even gave details about having two cars. The DV will be on base approximately 45 minutes arriving around 1 p.m. and the military member will be returning to work around 2:30 p.m. I believe more attention should be given to OPSEC. As a dependent this information doesn't mean much to me but a terrorist could use this information to make bad things happen. 

You are absolutely correct! Cell phones are a great convenience but they are hardly private. Personally I like to shop with a cell phone because I can call my wife when I get lost looking for something in the Commissary. Of course people around me giggle when they overhear my conversation with my wife which always reminds me that while convenient, cell phone conversations are actually fairly public events. So of course conducting business on a cell phone is a risky proposition at best, especially when the information exchanged is sensitive. 

Clearly distinguished visitor movements and work-related conversations need to be
better protected. It is incumbent upon all of us to practice good Operations Security. A
change of mindset is required ... we need to think like an adversary and ask, "is this information I am about to send via e-mail or discuss over a cell phone something I want
others to hear or read?" If the answer is "no," then transmit the information through
more secure channels. Practicing and enforcing sound operations security is everyone's responsibility. 

"If you see something, say something," applies to operational security as well. If you
overhear a discussion of sensitive information, pull the individual aside and educate
them on the potential impact of what they are saying. Although the information may be
unclassified, enough sensitive information pieced together may end up forming details
of a sensitive event that requires security. Thanks for sharing your observation.