News | Aug. 26, 2020

OPSEC: Your focused, compliant practice helps keep our service members safe

By Michael L. Jones DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

Operations Security is a process that safeguards sensitive information. It enables Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime and other Department of Defense organizations to identify and protect classified and unclassified critical information and execute measures to eliminate or reduce our adversaries' ability to use the information obtained. OPSEC challenges us to look at ourselves through the eyes of an adversary and deny the adversary the ability to act.

DLA Land Maritime’s OPSEC program conducts a continuous awareness campaign aimed at educating employees on the importance of protecting sensitive unclassified information, so it doesn’t fall into the hands of our adversaries. Some of the tools at our disposal are briefings such as Directors Calls and New Employee Orientations, the OPSEC booth or just venturing out into the workspaces to interact with employees regarding the use of good security practices.

Using the information provided through these tools will help DLA Land and Maritime prevent our adversaries from collecting information that could give them the opportunity to exploit our capabilities, intentions, deficiencies and planned operations.

DLA Land and Maritime enacted a number of initiatives over the last couple of years designed to boost associates OPSEC awareness. DLA moved to curtail mobile device usage after reviewing OPSEC practices focusing on mobile communication devices used by the DLA workforce.  Resulting initiatives included establishing an Agencywide policy outlining the use of mobile devices because of the possibilities of compromising operational information. The policy covers DLA military, civilian and contractor personnel. It prohibits users from processing sensitive information, also known as “For Official Use Only,” Privacy Act Information or critical information on a mobile device unless the device has been configured to send and receive encrypted information.

Sound OPSEC practices manage information distribution and cover physical facilities. Additional initiatives to strengthen DLA OPSEC include practices outlined in DLA’s use of Common Access Card renewals for installation entrance combined with eliminating LENEL card usage.

Mobile devices are being introduced into the Department of Defense at an astonishing rate. The Defense Logistics Agency defines mobile devices as a wireless-enabled portable device. These include but are not limited to iPhones, iPads and tablets. This fast paced integration has caused a paradigm shift to occur within DOD and DLA. Our adversaries target these types of devices because they can process information with the same capabilities as a computer. To combat this, DLA has established policy with the issuance of DLAI 8130.01 Mobile Device Management. The policy covers DLA military, civilian and contractor personnel.

Remember cell phones, cordless phones and land lines can all be compromised. Censor what you discuss on an unsecured line. You never know who’s listening! By not protecting sensitive unclassified information we put ourselves and the DLA mission at risk of failure and even more importantly, could possibly cause fatalities among our nation’s military.

More recent OPSEC directed actions include the July 20, 2020 Secretary of Defense memorandum titled “Reinforcing Operations Security and the Importance of Preventing Unauthorized Disclosure.” In it, the Secretary of Defense mandated that within 60 days all DOD personnel, including civilians, military members and on-site contractors, complete four courses hosted by the Center for the Development of Security Excellence. 

Headquarters DLA, in cooperation with DLA Human Resources, has combined these courses into one course that is available in the Learning Management System. It exceeds the requirement set forth by the Secretary of Defense and satisfies the mandate. The course is called "Annual Security and Counterintelligence Awareness," and completion will be monitored. This course must be completed by Sept. 4 and can be access in LMS at the following link https://auth-hcm04.ns2.apps.mil/secureauth13/

OPSEC TIPS

  1. OPSEC protects our operations – planned, in progress, and/or those completed.
  2. Adversaries collect information in various ways – trash, pictures, internet, solicitation, and espionage.
  3. Keep a “need to know” attitude (if they don’t need to know don’t tell them).
  4. Don’t leave your badge unattended or wear it off the installation.
  5. Your trash could be an adversary’s treasure (don’t toss it, shred it).
  6. Avoid posting excessive personal information online (i.e. employment information, family members full names, your address etc.).
  7. “A picture is worth a thousand words”, keep this in mind when posting them!
  8. Cell phones, cordless phones and land lines can all be compromised. Censor what you discuss on an unsecured line. You never know who’s listening!
  9. Be careful what you talk about in public. You don’t know if the person next to you is friendly or not.
  10. Be alert. A foreign agent may use a variety of approaches to get information.
  11. Whether on or off duty, don’t let your guard down.
  12. Know the critical information for your programs and activities.