July 9, 2012

Secrets Secrets. . .

OPSEC. Military speak for "Operational Security". This is a well know phrase across all branches of the military. Since the day I met my husband he has drilled it into my head over, and over, and over, about OPSEC. I am not to speak, post, email, or text any information that will identify him, his unit, when or where they are going, their capabilities, or anything about their mission in general. It's the old World War II adage, "Lose Lips Sink Ships!" Call me paranoid if you like, but that saying still rings true today, and one misplaced piece of information, no matter how innocently shared, can have consequences.

In today's information age, the world is certainly a smaller place. Most of us use Facebook, or have blogs, or use Twitter, or any other social networking site we use to stay in touch with each other. Nearly anything you could want to know about or have is available to you through a few key strokes. If you know how to get it. In today's military OPSEC is just as important as it was then, it's just more of a challenge.

If you're a wife like me, you're proud of your husband's accomplishments. You want him to be recognized, maybe even applauded for all of his hard work. It's human nature to want to be praised for your actions, and want the same for your loved ones. It can also be very easy to forget about watching what you say when your husband leaves for a deployment, or when he comes home. I'm not perfect and have been guilty of this a few times. You want to share those moments of frustration or joy with those closest to you. But sometimes a military spouse must stay silent.

As military spouses we are oftentimes privy to information that the rest of the world is not. Some units in our military are more secretive than others, therefore OPSEC will be stressed even more for those soldiers and spouses. Those of you affiliated with the "more secretive" units know who you are, but that doesn't mean the rest of the world needs to know too. No matter which unit your spouse is a part of, and whether we like it or not, military spouses have a great responsibility not to disclose any of the information we have.

I've seen cases where the mainstream media publishes a story or article about what specific units in our military "do". This still does not give us license to name names, locations, or anything else. The published media piece was most likely approved by the unit's command, but any information you give regarding the article or the unit is not. Keeping certain things secret is what keeps our soldiers safe, and gives our military its edge.

Some spouses may think I am being hyper-paranoid about OPSEC, but it's a touchy subject for me. If it deals with the safety and security of my husband and the men he works with, my lips are sealed. When in doubt about whether or not to share, I choose not. That way if something happens, I don't even have to question if it was because of me.