Much has been made about Operational Security (OPSEC) in recent years, much of it revolving around high level politicians or even congressional staffers leaking information about sensitive military operations such as the SEAL Team Six raid in Pakistan that killed Bin Laden.  While it is true that Pentagon staffers and politicians leak information to the press (a lot of is intentionally or unintentionally false) the military would be better served by taking a look into the mirror when it comes to preserving operational security.

The following is DOD’s definition of what OPSEC is:

E2.1.3. Operations Security (OPSEC). A process of identifying critical information and analyzing friendly actions attendant to military operations and other activities including:

E2.1.3.1. Identify those actions that can be observed by adversary intelligence systems.

E2.1.3.2. Determining indicators that hostile intelligence systems might obtain that could be interpreted or pieced together to derive critical intelligence in time to be useful to adversaries.

E2.1.3.3. Selecting and executing measures that eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level the vulnerabilities of friendly actions to adversary exploitation.

For a more in-depth explanation, SOFREP published an article about what OPSEC is and is not, which can be found here.  The bottom line is that America can no long run covert and clandestine operations the way we used to.  Having recently written about Detachment A in Berlin, it becomes clear that the military could never run a clandestine unit like it in this day and age.  In the past, I’ve had some at times heated conversations with the old guard but the reality is what it is, the operational environment has changed.

I remember a few years ago there was an incident where a couple of Americans were detained crossing the border from Tunisia into Libya.  The Libyan border guards photographed their passports and ID cards which ended up on the internet.  I googled their names and to my unsurprise, one of them ran 10K races in Fayetteville, North Carolina the home of 3rd Special Forces Group and Delta Force.  The proliferation of communications technology has changed everything.