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The military asks that all soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen [and their families] practice "Continuous OPSEC" (Operation Security.) The following guidelines have been provided from a number of DOD sources for military personnel, contractors and family members.
Providing the following information on this or any public forum may be a violation of OPSEC:
* The identity of units planned for deployments is confidential until an official announcement of the deployment is made.
* General geographic location of units deployed (E.G. city, country or area) is NOT classified.
* Specific geographic location of units is confidential.
* Details of allied military participation is operations is secret.
The global reach of the world wide web requires special precautions be taken when posting information. The following types of information shall not be posted to any publicly accessable web sites:
* Information that is for official use only (FOUO). This type of information would pose an unacceptable risk to the [military], especially in electronically aggregated form. While records containing FOUO information will normally be marked at the time of their creation, records that do not bear such markings shall be assumed to contain FOUO information.
* Analysis and recommendations concerning lessons learned which reveal sensitive military operations, exercises or vulnerabilities.
* Reference to unclassified information that would reveal sensitive movements of military assets or the location of units, installations, or personnel where uncertainty regarding location is an element of military plan or program.
* Personal information including complilations of names of personnel assigned to overseas , sensitive, or routinely deployable units.
* Names, locations, and specific identifying information about family members or military personnel and employees.
* Technical information that can be used or be adapted for use to design, engineer, produce, manufacture, operate, repair, overhaul, or reproduce any military or space equipment or technology concerning such equipment.
* Unclassified information pertaining to classified programs.
WHAT IS OPSEC? The Intelligence Puzzle
Intelligence collection and analysis is very much like assembling a picture puzzle. Intelligence collectors are fully aware of the importance of obtaining small bits of information (or "pieces" of a puzzle) from many sources and assembling them to form the overall picture.
Intelligence collectors use numerous methods and sources to develop pieces of the intelligence puzzle . . .their collection methods range from sophisticated surveillance using highly technical electronic methods to simple visual observation of activities (these activities are referred to as "indicators").
Information may be collected by monitoring radio and telephone conversations, analyzing telephone directories, financial or purchasing documents, position or "job" announcements, travel documents, blueprints or drawings, distribution lists, shipping and receiving documents, even personal information or items found in the unclassified trash.
THE PREMISE OF OPSEC
The premise of OPSEC is that the accumulation of one or more elements of sensitive/unclassified information or data could damage national security by revealing classified information.
Sensitive activities" refers to classified and unclassified operations, inquiries, investigations, tests, research, training, exercises, and other functions the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to adversely affect national security objectives (if a piece of the "intelligence puzzle" is an item of information that is not itself classified, when assembled, could an adversary discover a classified or sensitive unclassified program, activity, or project?).