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Why OPSEC?

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Operations security is critical to protecting the mission of Travis Air Force Base and our Air Force. The goal of OPSEC is to protect information about friendly operations and reduce the adversary’s ability to collect and exploit critical information and indicators about friendly activities.

Breaches of OPSEC, which can tip off adversaries to the actions of friendly forces, can occur in the most benign ways, text messages, phone calls, social media posts and even face-to-face conversations can be intercepted by adversaries looking to cause harm to our military. Seemingly inconspicuous details including, deployment and temporary duty dates, locations and information about personnel such as manning levels, schedules and details about specific operations can be damaging to military operations.

Adversaries can piece together details from multiple sources to form a picture of military operations happening around the world. Knowing how we conduct operations, where we are conducting operations and when those operations are happening can cause adversaries to adjust their tactics. This has the potential to weaken our military’s capabilities and effectiveness.

In 2018, CBS News reported how GPS data from fitness devices revealed locations of previously undisclosed U.S. bases abroad. It also revealed exercise routes used by military members. This data featured information about bases that rely on secrecy to conduct their mission. By posting locations of where military members are, adversaries can target them and disrupt military operations.

Even posting details about how we conduct operations at home can affect the security of Travis AFB. Sharing work schedules or capabilities of equipment used on base can have negative impacts if adversaries have access to that information. Sharing work schedules online can highlight to adversaries when changeover happens, which could be indicative of gaps in coverage or weak points in manpower.

In some ways we want to highlight our equipment capabilities and show the public the cool toys we get to play with, but not all of this information needs to be posted online for anyone to see. Before posting any information related to the military, Airmen should consult the critical information and indicators list. This document is published by the 60th Air Mobility Wing OPSEC program manager and is used for units to create their own CIILs, specific to their mission. The CIIL describes which information is vital to protect and prevents adversaries from knowing how we conduct operations.

While OPSEC is not the most exciting subject, it is critical to protect information about military operations. Before posting anything online, reference the CIIL, if the information falls into one of the critical information or indicators categories, do not post it.

For more information about OPSEC or how to protect critical information, contact your unit OPSEC coordinator or the 60th AMW OPSEC program manager at 707-424-4355.