~It’s not just for everyone else~
As most of you are well aware, B is in the USAF. Most of you also know that we’re stationed in Germany. If you didn’t before, than you do now. But one thing I try and do is be circumspect regarding the military side of things. Why? There’s this little thing we call OPSEC.
OPSEC is milspeak for Operations Security. According to Wikipedia:
Operations security (OPSEC) is a process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by adversary intelligence systems, determines if information obtained by adversaries could be interpreted to be useful to them, and then executes selected measures that eliminate or reduce adversary exploitation of friendly critical information.
I think you’ll agree with me that the above is a bit confusing to read. Essentially, OPSEC is keeping an eye on social media to see if seemingly innocent things we post, like “My husband is coming home from his deployment in ****** tomorrow!!! His plane leaves in 3 hours!!! OMG I’m soooooo excited to see him again!!!!” Those words could be read by an adversarial intelligence group and a those soldiers could now be a target.
Seem farfetched? Maybe, but when it comes to the lives of our soldiers, nothing is too cautious. Which is while I’ll never actually announce when B is deploying or returning. No matter how much I want to. No matter how much I’ll miss him. Oh, you’ll know he’s gone. But the dates/times/locations will never cross my lips.
This seems like a given. But OPSEC extends beyond that. Our base has a social media page. They give out general information, such as, “Chili’s is closing early today due to training,” or “the BX is closed for inventory,” or “road conditions are amber, yes you have to come to work.” These postings generate huge outcries against the indignity of the BX closing for inventory or statements that there were approximately thirty billion inches of snow thirty seconds ago and no one can drive. Most of the time it’s humorous, painfully so, but still humorous.
But every now and then they post about other information. Like uniform regulations, curfews, and gate openings/closings. Things that pertain to the personal security of our military members and dependent families. And the outcry arises again. First they dispute the source, which is official and indisputable. Then they want to know why. They argue that they shouldn’t have to follow the rules unless they know why it’s been put in place. Then come the posts pointing out specific instances of infractions. And then it degenerates into foot stomping about having the right to question and report violations while others complain about the violation of OPSEC.
Here’s the truth: We’re military members – whether AD, Reserve, Dependents, or Civilian contractors. We sign up for this. And we actually do sign up to follow orders now and ask questions later. Or actually, never ask questions at all. It may seem harsh, or even stupid, to those not part of our community, but we do it for the safety of all. A soldier in a battle line that questions an order costs lives. A family member that reveals crucial information costs lives.
The rules they impose are for our safety. The regulations we follow are to safe keep our own lives. If you don’t like it, complain in private to your spouse or friends. If you don’t understand it, ask your first shirt or chain of command. If you see a violation, call the hotline provided by all bases for such a thing or SFS. If you’re excited about your husband coming home, call your Mom or your best friend.
But let’s keep it off the internet. Anyone can be out there reading. They may or may not have friendly intentions towards your military member. They may or may not be in your chain of command. They may or may not look favorably on what you’re saying. Exercise some OPSEC. Look it up, educate yourself. Complain, question, and celebrate in silence. Call me crazy. But help me keep my soldier safe.