What is Operations Security?

OPSEC is the process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed, exploited or deemed useful to a potential third-party’s malicious intent. Valuable information can be unknowingly passed along by our predictable behavior, a casual conversation, routine acquisitions, and other Internet information. By adhering to OPSEC practices and being aware of what information we make available, we ultimately allow our troops, families, friends and neighbors to live safer day-to-day lives.

Origin and History.

In the early days of the Vietnam War, the U.S. lost an alarming number of pilots and aircraft. To reverse the trend, a team was assigned to analyze U.S. military operations. The team, Purple Dragon, discovered that crucial planning information was being disclosed through routine patterns of behavior. Countermeasures were quickly initiated. Purple Dragon’s analytics process, called OPerations SECurity, or OPSEC, was used by the military for the next 20 years. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan formalized its use throughout the government and created IOSS to provide training and guidance to the nation’s security communications.