Operations Security in an Age of Radical Transparency (Center for Strategic Leadership Issue Paper, Volume 2-09, January 2009)
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CENTER FOR STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP
Pagination or Media Count:
We often hearken back to the Cold War as a simpler time...not because of the danger it portended, but because of the nature of the threat. That bipolar world defined a clear enemy with an order of battle that could be templated and processes and methodologies that could be studied. It was a two dimensional world of good and bad. Operations security OPSEC, defined as selecting and executing measures that eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the vulnerabilities of friendly actions to adversary exploitation, was equally cut and dry. U.S. commanders in Europe were principally concerned with the Soviet-bloc spy taking pictures of the caserne motor pool. Troops were briefed prior to training exercises and deployments not to discuss dates, times or specifics of the operation under threat of military justice penalties. And that was that. Risk reduced...OPSEC considered and maintained. But, oh how the world has changed. Not only is the adversary often an amorphous entity, he also both understands and exploits a new environment that empowers him with information as an asymmetric weapon of choice. Those factors certainly complicate the military operating environment of today, but the waters are muddied further when non-combatants can willingly, or unwittingly, impact operations through ready access to real-time media means. Further complicating matters is a generation of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who expect to use new media to communicate freely, at the click of a mouse, to a potentially global audience. The result is a situation that significantly increases the complexity of OPSEC, demanding commanders emphasis to mitigate risk and protect friendly operations while still allowing the ability to effectively fight and win the war of ideas. The answer lies in focusing on OPSEC within the current military planning process and increased attention to educating Soldiers in order to both enhance and protect military operations.
- Operations Research
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics