• Operations security, more commonly known as
OPSEC, is an aspect of counter-intelligence that
focuses on preventing adversaries from gaining
access to information and actions that may
compromise an operation.
• Personal security, more commonly known as
PERSEC, is an aspect of guarding your personal
How OPSEC affects you:
• By being careful about how you and your family
communicate and act, you can prevent vital information
from reaching the hands of an adversary - whether it's an
enemy of the United States or a cat burglar in your
• When a family member deploys, it's important to
continue your usual routines and maintenance of your
home to disguise the absence of your service member.
Maintain the lawn and keep your service member's car in
the driveway, or its usual spot, to give the appearance
that someone else is home.
• As much as you want to display your patriotism and
support for your deployed loved one, tying yellow ribbons
around the trees out front might not be the best idea.
The sudden appearance of yellow ribbons or similar
patriotic displays can signal that someone in the home is
deployed, making your home vulnerable to intruders or
• The best thing that family members can do for deployed
loved ones is keep the lines of communication open.
Whether by phone, email, video chat or letters, letting
your deployed loved ones know that they're still on your
mind can build moral and help pass the time overseas.
• Whenever communicating with your loved one, never
disclose the following:
o The mission of your service member's unit or the number of service members
assigned to it
o Deployment times and locations
o Port call dates
o Special shore deployments
o Unit morale or personnel issues
o Troop movement
o Military intentions, capabilities or operations
o Your family's location during the deployment
o Your service member's scheduled return date
***Your deployed loved one should also avoid these topics
in return letters or emails. It can be frustrating to not
receive any specific information about your service
member's location or return dates, but it's for the safety of
• The Internet makes it easier than ever to inform the world of
your every move with just a tap of your finger. While it may
seem obvious that you shouldn't publicly offer up information
about your family member's unit, location or deployment and
return dates, sometimes the line between public and private
information becomes clouded on social media sites, like
Facebook and Twitter or your personal blog.
• Remember that anything you post or comment on is out there
for the world to read. It's important for your safety and that of
your deployed loved one that you avoid posting anything that
advertises that your loved one is deployed or that you're
alone. If you mention the deployment, refrain from using
specific dates and identifying information no matter how
insignificant it may seem.
• In general, it is good practice to make sure that you have
enabled security settings on your social media pages.
Enabling security settings lets you control who sees your
page, reads your posts and clicks through your pictures. Even
if you've enabled security settings on your page, remember
that not everyone has. Commenting on another person's
pictures or posts with information about a deployment can
also jeopardize operations security.
• Media outlets keep everyone informed and keep you
connected to your deployed loved one, but consider OPSEC
before making a statement or posting an update or blog entry.
Use media to its full advantage, but just be conscious of what
you share with the world!
• We have either heard this as a child or teach our children this;
however, it is also important for us to adhere to as well.
• If you ever return home, even from a quick trip to the market,
to find a door or window ajar, do not go in alone. It may be
easy to convince yourself that you forgot to lock up, and while
that may be true, it's better to err on the side of caution when
your family's safety is at risk. Call the police if you notice
anything suspicious and wait for their arrival before you try to
venture into your house. Similarly, if you're home and you
catch a glimpse of someone lurking around your property or
staring into your window, keep calm and call the police as
soon as you possibly can without drawing attention to
• You know to be cautious when strangers come to your
home, but there are 101 reasons why people ring your
doorbell. On any given day you may open your door for a
pizza delivery boy, appliance repairman, parcel delivery
service, door to door salesman or the kid from next door
whose ball landed in your backyard. Before you unlock
the door, take a minute to think about if you're expecting
anyone. Use your peephole or window to help identify
the person at your door, and don't be afraid to ask the
individual to identify him or herself before deciding
whether or not to open the door.
• With all the scams around these days, you should never
give out personal information over the phone. As good
OPSEC practice, always give the impression that you
are not home alone and never reveal that your service
member is deployed. Don't be afraid of seeming rude.
Any stranger, over the phone or in person, who
genuinely has good intentions, should understand your
desire to protect your family.
• While away from home, it can be easy to get caught up in the
hustle and bustle of getting from point A to point B.
Unfortunately, criminals can use your distraction against you,
so no matter how hectic things are, remember that you're
never too busy to be conscious of what you say and where
o Never discuss details of a deployment in public. This includes volunteering
information through your cell phone while in a public place. Just because you aren't
talking directly to someone else in the store or parking lot, it doesn't mean that no one
o Stay alert. Be extra careful when traveling alone, and try to avoid doing so as often as
possible. Exercise caution when returning to your car. Always have your keys in hand
to avoid lingering while you sift through your purse or pockets. Don't attempt to enter
your vehicle if you ever notice someone lingering near your car or peering in the
windows, and get in the habit of locking your car doors and taking a quick glance
through the windows of your car before climbing in.
o Watch for suspicious activity. If you ever get the feeling that you're being followed
while on foot, turn around and begin walking in the other direction. Try to walk back
towards people or a well-lit area. If you're in your car and discover that you're being
followed, never drive home. Instead, drive to a populated area or a police station.