The Office of the National Operations Security Program under the National Counterintelligence and Security Center’s Enterprise Threat Mitigation Directorate has designated January as National OPSEC Awareness Month with the goal of improving the understanding of OPSEC.
OPSEC is defined by the DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms as a capability that identifies and controls critical information, indicators of friendly force actions related to military operations, and incorporates countermeasures to reduce the risk that a adversary exploits vulnerabilities.
At the tactical level, the dual service document Marine Corps Tactical Publication 3-3B / Navy Tactics, Techniques and Procedures 3-13.3M defines OPSEC as a formal program that identifies and protects both unclassified and classified sensitive information that guarantee the success of the mission.
“Ultimately, OPSEC is every Marine’s responsibility to deny enemy information,” said Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy, deputy commander of information. “Information is a fighting power and we should treat it that way to gain informational advantages.”
Information advantages arise from the ability of one actor to generate, retain, deny, and project information more effectively than another.
Gen. Robert Neller, 37th commandant of the Marine Corps, established information as the seventh combat function of the Marine Corps on January 17, 2019 due to the growing importance of information in current and future operating environments. .
“Information denial is the information function that Marines apply to disrupt or destroy information the adversary needs to understand the situation, make decisions, or act in a coordinated manner,” said Eric Schaner, strategic planner , plans and strategy, DC I “A passive way of denying the adversary vital information is to selectively modify or suppress visual, electromagnetic and digital signatures emanating from friendly forces, which includes implementing countermeasures OPSEC.”
“Information is a fighting power and we should treat it that way to gain informational advantages.” Lieutenant General Matthew Glavy, Deputy Commander Information
OPSEC training requirements applicable to all active and reserve Marines, government civilians and contractors can be found in MARADMIN 134/21 dated March 10, 2021.
“The Marine OPSEC Support Team is an excellent resource for Marines, civilians and contractors to seek information and advice on OPSEC-related issues,” said Dennis Manzie, OPSEC program manager for DC. I. “Requests for OPSEC assistance from MOST may be emailed to MCIOC_MOST@mcia.osis.gov.”
Per Secretary of the Navy Instruction and Marine Corps Order 3070.2A, MOST is designated as the Duty OPSEC Support Element for the Marine Corps.
“It is important to note that the OPSEC process must be applied to every training, exercise and mission,” said James Sydnor, Marine Corps OPSEC program manager.
OPSEC is a proven risk analysis process that helps protect critical information and determine the value of unclassified information. The steps in the OPSEC process, applicable to all Marines, are outlined below.
1) Identification of critical information and indicators
2) Threat analysis
3) Vulnerability analysis
4) Risk assessment
5) Application/implementation of OPSEC countermeasures
As a reminder, OPSEC does not end when Marines leave work. Here is a link to the current version of the Marine Corps Social Media Handbook which includes a section on OPSEC: https://www.marines.mil/Portals/1/Docs/2021USMCSocialMediaHanbook.pdf