Writing letters and postcards to your recruit is not a violation of OPSEC or PERSEC. Mail sent to recruit training facilities or A-Schools, both electronically or handwritten, is not a violation. USPS, Federal Express, and UPS follow high standards of security and privacy. Including your recruit's address and your return address on letters is normal and doesn't violate OPSEC/PERSEC - however, you are encouraged to discuss OPSEC/PERSEC with your loved one when they reach the fleet.
- Mail should not include images of weapons, nudity, or other offensive photos.
- Mail should not include future deployment addresses or locations.
- Mail should not include financial data, account numbers, or social security numbers.
Today, keeping information safeguarded is known as OPSEC or Operational Security. This is an incredibly important task for military members, military families and friends. We never know who may be listening or trying to gain information about our military. For this reason, it is always important to make sure that information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
First and foremost, those who serve in the military should not be sharing sensitive information with others who are not in the military. It is important to realize that this may even include sharing pictures online. A seemingly innocent picture can actually provide a lot of information to the enemy including weapons systems and location.
If those in the military do not share information with family members or friends, it is much less likely that they will slip up and say something that could put the military member or his unit in danger. He should always be aware of what he is saying when he is sharing information about his day. This is particularly true when he is away training or when he is deployed overseas.
PERSEC is protecting your personal information. While the military is not as strict on PERSEC as they are on OPSEC, it is still an important aspect of security. PERSEC focuses on protecting information such as rank, your home address and information about your family. Generally, it is basic common sense that reminds you not to advertise that you are living alone or otherwise giving out personal information to others who you may not know.
PERSEC has become more important with the growth of the internet, particularly with the number of military support message boards that are out there. While it may seem to be a safe community full of other military members, it can never be guaranteed to be 100% secure. For this reason, you should always safeguard your personal information. Just as you wouldn’t advertise your social security number online, you shouldn’t alert everyone to your other personal information either.
The absolute best advice is that it is better to be safe than sorry. If you question whether you should be talking about something, especially online, then don’t. Ask someone first, such as your service member, before you say something that you may not be able to take back. Protecting our military members is a responsibility that rests on all of our shoulders. As family members and friends, we can be responsible by keeping confidential information close to the vest and protecting what we know.
Examples of OPSEC:
Examples of PERSEC: