or, Zip your lips and throw away the key.
Because your family doesn’t understand OPSEC, you have to lie. Kidding—I’m kidding. I will say though that the families and friends who feel they must and deserve to know what’s going on can make you want to lie sometimes. I’ll admit, from time to time, I’ve said, I have no idea where he is. He can’t tell me anything. I don’t even know how long he’ll be gone. People look at me in disbelief, part in awe at my willingness to accept this purported mystery and part because, well, they probably don’t believe me. Of course, there are those who ask with great concern, Is he over there? If he was, I couldn’t (or probably wouldn’t) tell you that either.
It’s funny though, isn’t it? How people just assume that the only danger is “over there”. Oftentimes, I don’t think they are aware of crucial yet dangerous work performed by our pilots, divers, and cuttermen everyday of the year on what would be considered safe territory. I’m sure I’ve left out some other very important jobs, but my point is, they are all vital to the service of this country. Even our desk jockeys, and port engineers, but I digress.
Back to OPSEC
The words “Loose Lips Sink Ships” still rings true today, but you knew that. Most of us are vigilant. I will warn you though to be cautious of to whom and how you may utter those words. I once spoke them to a higher-up’s spouse. Don’t get me wrong, she was teetering on the edge of giving away the farm. In hindsight, I should have employed a different approach in my conversation with her. For fear of revealing her identity, I won’t say much more. Just learn from my mistake, please, and don’t make a fool of yourself. Nothing happened, thankfully, but you just never know. Nevertheless, don’t assume someone is aware of or fully understands OPSEC just because of how long they have been married or because of their spouse’s rank/grade. Sometimes, people just don’t get it.
What’s There to Get?
There isn’t much to get really. It’s not rocket surgery. Anonymity (especially on the net) aids in protecting people, as does thinking before you speak. If someone asks Hey, Judy, when does your husband get back? You can respond with, I’m not really sure right now, but it’s sometime before he deploys again. Ok, maybe that’s too much of a sarcastic response. How about I’m limited in what I can share, and he actually hasn’t given me an exact date. Your guess is as good as mine. That way you aren’t being rude, but you are explaining the limitations set on you. If they seemed miffed, tough patooties to them. Don’t be that spouse or blogger who compromises a mission. You could always suggest they read the paper, after all the media seems to know things well before spouses sometimes. Ah, another point of contention.