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An OPSEC attitude - a winning attitude

The OPSEC Purple Dragon. (Courtesy graphic)

The OPSEC Purple Dragon. (Courtesy graphic)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Operation Security's desired effect is to influence the adversary's behavior and actions by protecting friendly operations and activities. What can we change to impact OPSEC here at home? Who is the real adversary? Is it intelligence collectors or is it an attitude?

How do we affect the behavior of spies, electronic eavesdropping, open source intelligence collection and even our internal attitudes that cause the inadvertent dumping of our critical information in the dumpsters? What is the attitude we need to build to provide OPSEC without even thinking about it? Our thoughts, feelings and actions regarding people, events and things should be objective in nature. We must think OPSEC (control and protection of our personal and proprietary unclassified information), feel, and empathize with the sacrifices of our brothers in arms, whose families wait for their loved ones at home, evidenced by our actions - protecting the unclassified information surrounding the mission they are on in the asymmetric battlefield. Our people, the war and the information - if we collect it, we must protect it. How can we protect information from getting into the dumpster, on to the internet, heard over a radio or cell phone or any wireless device?

We take many measures for granted like those designed to mitigate our vulnerabilities in technical areas, administration and physical security. Employees can use the shredder (at home and work), keep away from social networks, use secure terminal equipment, encrypted radios and push to talk phones, and encrypt their e-mails to name just a few. These are standard operating procedures so why are we really vulnerable? It's our OPSEC attitude.

Attitude is everything in the OPSEC business. OPSEC is first and foremost an attitude. We need to think about protection of information, the threat and our vulnerability and operations risk. It is about everyone's and your personal feelings about the Air Force and this wing's mission and our ultimate success. It is your action on a daily basis, the implementation of these key measures at the right time. It's up to you to defeat the enemy by maintaining the objective and positive OPSEC attitude. For you ardent readers of military history, Sun Tzu's "Art of War" contains five distinct elements of winning a war. One of those five elements is doctrine. Doctrine includes control. This control extends to the information you allow the enemy to analyze. OPSEC is that control of unclassified information.

With this control you can defeat your enemy - the negative attitude. Control your information and you win!