January is National OPSEC Awareness Month

26 Jan 2022 | Maj. Gregory Carroll 2nd Marine Logistics Group

The National Operations Security Program Office under the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Enterprise Threat Mitigation Directorate designated January as National OPSEC Awareness Month in an effort to increase OPSEC understanding.

OPSEC is defined by the DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms as a capability that identifies and controls critical information, indicators of friendly force actions attendant to military operations, and incorporates countermeasures to reduce the risk of an adversary exploiting vulnerabilities.

At the tactical level, the dual-service document Marine Corps Tactical Publication 3-3B/Navy Tactics, Techniques and Procedures 3-13.3M defines OPSEC as a formal program which identifies and protects both sensitive unclassified and classified information that ensures mission success.

“Bottom line, OPSEC is about every Marine’s responsibility to deny the enemy information,” stated Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy, Deputy Commandant for Information. “Information is combat power and we should treat it that way to achieve information advantages.”

Information advantages result from one actor's ability to generate, preserve, deny, and project information more effectively than another.

Gen. Robert Neller, 37th Commandant of the Marine Corps, established Information as the Marine Corps’ seventh warfighting function Jan. 17, 2019 due to the increasing importance of information in the current and future operating environments.

“Information denial is the function of information that Marines apply to disrupt or destroy the information needed by the opponent to understand the situation, make decisions, or act in a coordinated fashion,” stated Eric Schaner, Strategic Planner, Plans and Strategy, DC I. “A passive way of denying the opponent vital information is to selectively alter or suppress the visual, electromagnetic, and digital signatures emanating from friendly forces which includes implementing OPSEC measures.”

“Information is combat power and we should treat it that way to achieve information advantages.” Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy, Deputy Commandant for Information

OPSEC training requirements applicable to all active and reserve Marines, government civilians and contractors can be found in MARADMIN 134/21 dated March 10, 2021.

“The Marine OPSEC Support Team is a great resource for Marines, civilians and contractors to request information and seek guidance on OPSEC related matters,” stated Dennis Manzie, OPSEC Program Manager for DC I. “Requests for OPSEC support from the MOST can be sent via email to MCIOC_MOST@mcia.osis.gov.”

Per Secretary of the Navy Instruction and Marine Corps Order 3070.2A, the MOST is designated as the service OPSEC support element for the Marine Corps.

“It is important to note that the OPSEC process must be applied to every training, exercise, and mission,” stated James Sydnor, Marine Corps OPSEC Program Manager.

OPSEC is a proven risk analysis process that helps protect critical information and determine the value of unclassified information. Steps of the OPSEC process, applicable to all Marines, are provided below.

1) Identification of critical information and indicators
2) Analysis of threats
3) Analysis of vulnerabilities
4) Assessment of risk
5) Application/Implementation of OPSEC countermeasures

As a reminder, OPSEC doesn’t stop when Marines leave work. The following is a link to the current version of the Marine Corps Social Media Handbook which includes a section on OPSEC: https://www.marines.mil/Portals/1/Docs/2021USMCSocialMediaHanbook.pdf