NAVIFOR Supports OPSEC Awareness Month
12 January 2023
Suffolk, Va. --
Operations Security, or OPSEC, is a 24/7 mission, but throughout the month of January, the Navy is participating in National Operations Security (OPSEC) Awareness Month to further increase understanding of OPSEC principles and to promote ways Sailors and family members can protect critical information.
OPSEC is defined as the process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by enemy intelligence, 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.
Naval Information Forces commander Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach emphasized the critical role of OPSEC in effectively competing in today’s challenging information environment, noting that Information Warfare forces and the Navy as a whole must focus on cultivating OPSEC and protecting critical information.
“For the first time ever, the 2022 National Defense Strategy specifically addresses OPSEC, noting that DoD, as a whole, must focus on cultivating operations security and protecting critical information,” said Aeschbach. “As information warriors, we’re often best poised to see how our information environment is changing, and in recognizing that good OPSEC makes us best able to meet strategic competition,” said Aeschbach. “Every day our competitors attempt to identify, aggregate, and analyze information to gain insights about our Navy. They have one purpose: to find our weak points, and to hurt us where and when we least expect it.”
NAVIFOR’s Force Master Chief Laura Nunley also highlighted the role every member plays in protecting OPSEC.
“We know that even a small disclosure of [critical] information can threaten our ability to conduct the missions that our Navy and our Nation need,” said Nunley. “Ask yourselves: How is OPSEC integrated with your command’s mission? What information do you need to protect, and what indicators do you need to manage so your command can accomplish the mission, or for us to win the next war?”
Kurt Fischl, OPSEC Specialist for NAVIFOR and the Navy OPSEC Support Team, iterated that the entire Navy family must work to protect critical information.
“It all starts by doing the easy – if occasionally inconvenient – things correctly,” said Fischl, emphasizing key items Navy members and their families should consider when dealing with critical information:
- Follow existing OPSEC and other security policies at your command and be familiar with your command’s Critical Information List.
- Encrypt emails. Assume unencrypted emails and conversations in the open may be compromised.
- Do not use commercial applications or email to transmit operational information, regardless of their advertised encryption or security.
- Keep critical information off social media, including messaging platforms.
- Consider the information shared via commercial email accounts like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or other .com accounts may be potentially compromised.
- Strictly follow telework policy and procedures.
- Always remember unclassified information in the aggregate can become sensitive or even classified. Take the conversation to SIPR if you need to.
Many resources are available online for OPSEC practitioners, leaders and federal personnel wanting to learn more about identifying and safeguarding critical information. The National Counterintelligence and Security Center — the lead agency for the national OPSEC program — publishes a newsletter that provides OPSEC program updates, training, events and resources. (https://www.odni.gov/index.php/ncsc-what-we-do/operations-security
). Additionally, resources from the Naval OPSEC Support Team are available at https://www.navifor.usff.navy.mil/opsec/
NAVIFOR’s mission is to generate, directly and through our leadership of the IW Enterprise, agile and technically superior manned, trained, equipped, and certified combat-ready IW forces to ensure our Navy will decisively DETER, COMPETE, and WIN.
For more information on NAVIFOR, visit the command Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NavalInformationForces/
or the public web page at https://www.navifor.usff.navy.mil