OPSEC: Save Your Military Husband’s Life!

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Save Your Military Husband’s Life” that is the title of an article I recently read about OPSEC. Do you think that’s a little much? I don’t. OPSEC is a serious thing, and as military wives we need to take it seriously. So what is OPSEC and PERSEC? In this post I am going to tell you what OPSEC means and highlight some very important things from that article.

Opsec – Operations Security – and Persec – Personal Security – are about safety for you and your man in uniform, and all those who depend on him. So you’ve got to take this business seriously.”

So many times I see a lot of ladies who post things online, on their blogs and especially on Facebook about their husband’s deployment. Things such as countdowns until the exact day and hour he will be home, when he is leaving, where he is going, the times and dates, etc. Those are all things that should not be seen online. Whether or not you think your Facebook is safe because you have set your privacy settings does not matter. The wrong people can find this stuff and they WILL use it in the wrong way.

“‘Military families should always be aware that others may be listening to their conversations. Sometimes what may seem like the smallest detail could cause a security breach.’ Whether you’re writing, blogging or talking to someone on the phone or in person, you have to be cognizant of what you’re saying. Even if you’re unconvinced your loose lips can really sink ships, the legal consequences of breaking OPSEC can be serious.”

Yes, even saying something in person or over the phone can or may be dangerous. You have to be careful of what you say and where you say it. Always be aware of your surroundings!

“So be vigilant about sharing names, destinations, training information, weapons systems or any specific information with friends or even family. And be aware that with increased communication with our loved ones comes increased risk. Your private communications with your husband may not be as private as you think. Investigators routinely monitor phone and email conversations from war zones, and if you think Facebook is popular with your friends, it’s just as popular with the people enforcing OPSEC. So be careful – and remind your husband to be careful, too. The world doesn’t need to know what Op he’s about to prosecute, right next to a ‘What Cartoon Character Are You?’ quiz.”

This also leads to PERSEC. We need to be careful of what we put out there or we could also endanger ourselves. Several months ago another military spouse posted a news article on facebook about a woman who had been killed while her husband was deployed. When they questioned some of the neighbors, one had said that he had gone over to ask for help once from her husband and she had told him her husband was deployed. He also said he saw her running alone a lot outside. This same man, ended up being the one who killed her. He knew her husband was gone. He was also a fellow military member, how sad. (Read the article here.) This just goes to show you can never be too careful about what you tell others and about who may be listening. Please do it for your safety!


“Which brings me to the second term in our security equation – PERSEC. Basically you shouldn’t share information that could put your loved one or yourself in danger. I see countdown calendars on blogs and MySpace pages, or stories about missing a loved one who’s gone overseas – ladies, not a good idea. This tells anyone that you are alone and that your husband is deployed, which violates OPSEC, but also endangers you on a personal level. You just made very public that you’re home, and alone.

“I’ve been guilty of having a ‘half my heart is in Iraq‘ bumper sticker,” said Karen Francis founder of Parents Zone. “I realized that all I was doing was giving people notice that I didn’t have my husband home at the time.”

At this point, it may sound like your only option is to disconnect the phone, lock yourself in your closet and stop communicating with the world. But that’s not the right approach either. Both you and your loved one need communication, and you can still have plenty of it without violating OPSEC or PERSEC.”

So next time OPSEC sounds like just another dumb rule, remember: OPSEC may save you military husband’s life!

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  1. Oh wow! I never even thought about any of that but it's so true! And that is such a sad news story about the murdered woman…

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I try to keep most of my husband's job private. When he was gone this summer and I had new neighbors come up to me, I just made it seem like he was at work. I wasn't about to have people I didn't know, know my husband was gone. Too creepy!

  3. I think not telling a neighbor your husband is a little extreme, although what happened to that woman is destestable and horrifying. It can obviously happen anywhere. But…where we are stationed it's just known. We're a very small post, you know who's in what unit.

    I personally don't and won't post on my blog where we're stationed at, the most people know is Germany.

  4. I think that there are DEFINITELY certain things that should not be shared online, etc to protect our military men. But I agree that not telling your neighbor your husband is gone is a bit much. It isn't like they won't figure it out anyone. Someone who is deployed for 9-12 months at a time, it's going to be somewhat difficult to pretend he isn't away. We should just be more aware and more in the know about the dangers that DO lie out there.

  5. I'm glad you posted this. Many people seem to forget or completely disregard OPSEC altogether sometimes and it bothers me so much. I've had friends not only update their status letting us know exactly where they are (when deployed), but they've even put their mailing address up there. It's ridiculous when the military member is doing things like that.

  6. We have developed a website that will help those that must live by OPSEC. No, this site is not sanctioned by the government, but it is being used by service men and women to exchange information in a secure, encrypted manner. Our site is ThreadThat.com. We are trying to spread the word about this free service. There is more documentation on the site than you will ever want to read, so if you have questions, feel free to contact me directly at matt.schneider@threadthat.com. I am the owner. We are committed to providing an easy means to conduct online, bidirectional, passkey-protected, encrypted communication. You can exchange messages and files in a threaded message format similar to Facebook (although our user interface is much different).

  7. They say to not put up any yellow ribbons or deployment flags when your spouse is deployed for those same reasons… for your own safety. I moved thousands of miles away from a military base, however, and moved in with my dad… so I went ahead and flew mine! I felt pretty safe in the Amish country 🙂

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