An Outreach Program of MarineParents.com
With the recent proliferation of threats to America and Americans, I thought this would be a good time to discuss safety, also known as Operational Security, or “OPSEC”.
In October 2014 the Army Threat Intelligence Center issued a threat warning that extends to the families of our service members: http://www.marine-corps-news.com/2014/10/soldiers_families_and_home...
Simply put, OPSEC is keeping information, which an enemy may find useful to use against us, private. Your Marine may convey information to you that is, in fact, classified and can put loved ones in danger. But we may share this information because of our pride in our loved ones and think we can trust others to keep it quiet, not realizing the danger we would be putting everyone in. Even small seemingly unimportant pieces of information may be a piece of a puzzle to our enemies, and yes, our enemies use Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. They are savvy users of social media! Don’t believe that they are that capable? Here is an article about a 2007 event: http://www.marine-corps-news.com/2012/03/insurgents_destroyed_us_he...
Perhaps you recall the WWII admonition, “Loose lips sink ships.” That still applies today, and the life you save may be your loved one.
Here at MFN we always practice OPSEC. It starts with trained membership moderators reviewing every new member application. While we review every application, we do not perform background checks; neither does any social media. We have well trained message board moderators who review every post/picture on every page; they edit or delete anything that violates OPSEC. We are not trying to frustrate you; we are supporting you in your OPSEC efforts.
We have always asked that you not use your last name or any other specific identifying information. Think about it. You don’t post a picture from your hotel with the comment “this is our home while we are away on vacation for the next week (burglars’ interpretation, my home is empty for you). Likewise, we don’t want to invite our enemies to hurt us, or our loved ones either.
Social media, like Facebook - fun or frightening? Well, it could be both. Many of us are on Facebook. There are even “Closed Groups” for friends of military units. Closed Groups. Now there is an interesting title. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A CLOSED GROUP ONLINE! The term “Closed Group” only provides you with a false sense of security. It does not take much to be accepted into a “closed group”; merely a request and a story. I know plenty of people who’ve made up a story and have been accepted into a group they have no reason to join. I’m pretty sure a terrorist would have no problem lying about why they should be allowed into a group, too. When I look at some “Closed Groups” on Facebook, the first thing I see are pictures of members, their names and a link to their Facebook page which has their hometown and pictures of the loved ones they are so proud of.
The truth is, when we are online, we don’t really know who we are communicating with, or who else can see what we post. Here is a video put out by the Naval OPSEC Support TEAM (NOST):
PLEASE, remember that OPSEC is not something just for MFN. OPSEC is your responsibility to your loved one and to your Country. It needs to be a way of life, every day in every venue. Lives depend upon it.
For more info please check out our page on OPSEC: http://www.marineparents.com/deployment/opsec.asp and this well written blog: http://marinefamilynetwork.com/profiles/blogs/dear-taliban-just-tho....
OPSEC is NOT some game. It is not to be circumvented nor to be taken lightly. It is not just for when you are on MFN. It must be a way of life for all of us now…
Wherever you communicate, OPSEC and your responsibility does not change!