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Safeguarding the Coalition
Freedom Watch - CENTCOM, Afghanistan ^ | August 29, 2004 | Sgt. Frank Magni 17th Public Affairs Detachment

Posted on 08/29/2004 8:11:20 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl

Safeguarding the Coalition

Story by Sgt. Frank Magni 17th Public Affairs Detachment
August 29, 2004 Freedom Watch Page 13

AFGHANISTAN –– While one Coalition member at the phone center talks to his family about his quick reac-tion force mission, another at the gym discusses the possibility of an operation in a province just east of Kandahar. Finally, a Soldier e-mails his friend in Iraq, telling him he just returned from an
18-day cordon and search mission. Alone, each piece of information is vague and doesn't reveal a lot. But when combined, a larger picture can appear to anyone listening.
 
"( Operational security) is about saving lives," said Sgt. Maj. Gordon Cross, Combined Joint Task Force-76 intelli-gence and security cell sergeant major. "From general down to private, OPSEC
is the concern of everybody." Cross said even with all the extensive procedures the Coalition takes to
protect secret information and security measures, the careless actions of service members can undermine those efforts and put lives in danger.
 
One particular area of concern is the information individuals can reveal when communicating to family and friends. Every person needs to ask themselves the same question, "What does your family really want to know," he said. "They want to know that you are doing OK. A family would rather know less and keep you safe, than know more and put your life in jeopardy."

Staff Sgt. Lenwood Redd, 58th Military Police Company platoon sergeant, said he emphasizes OPSEC to his Soldiers every day – especially in reference to talking to family and friends. "I tell my Soldiers, if somebody asks you what your mission is over here, you respond with what we (Coalition) are
really doing over here," said Redd. "You are here to help establish a government for Afghanistan and provide security. "As a leader I know that everybody's family is worried about their safety," he said. "Talking about specific information won't put their minds at ease."
 
There are key pieces of information that should never be mentioned, said Cross. The first is the type and classification of future missions or operations. "Using terms like cordon and search or (quick reaction force) are indicators to help the enemy narrow down what you might be talking about," he said.
 
Other key pieces of information indi-cate dates, times and lengths of missions. Not only should you avoid specific departure or arrival times, but avoid broad time periods, like days or even weeks. He said service members frequently give away procedural information without even realizing it. " 'My squad was sent out on a QRF mission last night 30 minutes after the rocket attack, ' is a statement that the enemy can pull many different key pieces of information from," said Cross. "If the enemy hears that statement, they know a squad-sized element will respond 30 minutes after a rocket attack."
 
Even non-operational information gives the enemy a glimpse into the activities of Coalition forces. "Infantry Soldiers conducting operations aren't the only personnel with critical information," said Cross. "Logistical and support personnel can give the enemy just as much information about upcoming operations." Information about supply types, amounts and their desti-nation are all indicators of where future operations could be taking place, or sizes of forces in a specific area, he said.

Communication over unsecured tele-phones, cell phones, satellite phones and computers send vital operational infor-mation around the world, but it's not the only way information is leaked. Listening to conversations between service members on base is another way the enemy can gather information about Coalition forces and activities. "There are a lot of local nationals and contractors that work on bases," said Cross. "They are not necessarily adver-saries, but they should not hear certain information."

Places like the post exchange, coffee shop, gym and dining facilities are not places to discuss operations, he said. Cross warns that even in secure areas Coalition members should still be aware of their surroundings. "Walking down the hall, in restrooms, don't get a false sense of security because
an area is considered secure," said Cross. "Contractors and work details could still be in the area."

Entering and exiting these secure facili-ties are also big concerns for maintaining OPSEC. Security badges needed within these areas should not be displayed in non-secure areas. Displaying badges in non-secure areas can be harmful to an individual. "You may end up making yourself a target," he said. "You are telling your adversary your level of clearance and access. The badge is telling somebody
you know more than somebody else." Also, displaying a badge gives the enemy an opportunity to study and pos-sibly replicate it.

Every Coalition member should also take proactive steps in ensuring security is being enforced, said Cross. Service members should always be on the look-out for suspicious activity. "If you think something is wrong – report it," he said. Use your chain of command, security channels or report a possible security vio-lation to the military police.

"I always emphasize to my Soldiers to be on the lookout," said Redd. "If some-thing feels like it's not right – if a vehicle looks like it's parked in the wrong space, if a person looks like they aren't sup-posed to be there – make sure somebody else knows." Cross concluded that OPSEC is every-one's
responsibility. "It only takes a couple weak links for our total security to fail," he said.

OPSEC is everyone's responsibility.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; oef; opsec; terrorism

1 posted on 08/29/2004 8:11:20 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: Cannoneer No. 4; TEXOKIE; xzins; Alamo-Girl; blackie; SandRat; Calpernia; SAMWolf; prairiebreeze; ..
  Afghan National Army
 
CFC-A
 
Combined Forces Command Afghanistan
 
Freedom Watch
 
Freedom Watch, August 29, 2004
 
- Weekly paper from the troops in Afghanistan, CENTCOM.
 
Adobe converter pdf to html
 
~*~
 
Reminder for us all.

OPSEC is everyone's responsibility.

"The phrase "the public's right to know" has been used to cover a multitude of media sins. The public also has a right not to know, when they don't want information at the expense of young American soldiers' lives." - Thomas Sowell

2 posted on 08/29/2004 8:13:04 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl

Bump!


3 posted on 08/29/2004 8:19:47 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl

Safeguarding the Coalition ~ Bump!


4 posted on 08/29/2004 8:32:11 AM PDT by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl

BUMP!!!!

Best FReegards, Ragtime Cowgirl,

Defender2


5 posted on 08/29/2004 9:27:22 AM PDT by Defender2 (Defending Our Bill of Rights, Our Constitution, Our Country and Our Freedom!!!!)
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