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Operational & Personal Security

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

Social media and the internet has become a blessing and curse. For military families, it is a great way to stay connected with your loved ones no matter where they are in the world, BUT it also imposes many security risks.


Operational Security (OPSERC) and Personal Security (PERSEC) can be confusing to new military families. And depending on WHO you ask you may receive different answers. The key to OPSEC/PERSEC can be simple if you ask yourself the following questions. If you answer NO then you are good to go!

  1. SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING - Am I posting a specific location or address of my service member (not including recruit training). Do I practice covering name tags when posting images of my service member? Am I posting financial data, account numbers, or social security numbers?

  2. PHOTOS - Am I posting an image with any signs or geographic markers that would expose my service members' location? Am I posting an image with a weapon (except for a ceremony)?

  3. DATES/LOCATIONS/CONVOYS - Am I posting future deployment dates or locations of my service member (not including recruit training)? Has the information I am posting been publicly announced by the military or DoD?

Sending letters and postcards to recruits Writing letters and postcards to your recruit is not a violation of OPSEC or PERSEC. Sending letters through USPS with your recruit's address and your return address on letters is normal and doesn't violate OPSEC/PERSEC. Mail sent to recruit training facilities or A-Schools, both electronically or handwritten, is not a violation. The USPS, Federal Express, and UPS follow the standards of security and privacy.

Monday Delivery Postcards - follow OPSEC/PERSEC. Although military commands and DoD doesn't officially endorse any 3rd party mail service postcards are accepted and delivered by recruit mail rooms. Start sending postcards to recruits, active-duty service members, and family & friends.

Operation Security (OPSEC) measures are not something to take lightly these day and when not practiced mindfully you could put your service member in harms way, but also your family as whole. Today’s enemy is full of skillful cyber hackers and terrorist that are just watching and waiting for important information to be shared. Just as important as OPSEC is Personal Security (PERSEC).


The U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity defines OPSEC as the process by which we protect unclassified information that can be used against us. OPSEC challenges us to look at ourselves through the eyes of an adversary (individuals, groups, countries, organizations). Essentially, anyone who can harm people, resources, or mission is an adversary.


PERSEC is the family process of keeping you and your family's personal information secured.


  • NEVER share the 5 W’s of troop movement

In the military, in planning an operation, we follow a scheme or mantra that is called the 5Ws: Who, What, Where, When and Why? Leaders planning a mission, no matter how large or small, must carefully address all five critical points, eliminating potential mission failure.

  • Do not announce that your loved one deployed

Although it is safer to post “Sad my hubby deployed” than “Sad my hubby deployed yesterday”, ask yourself this “Do I really want a stranger to know that I will be home alone (with my kids) for a LONG period of time?”

  • Do not post specifics about unit deployment locations

  • Do not share specifics about unit names

  • Avoid sharing pictures that show your service member’s name and insignia

  • Avoid engaging with geo-tracking accessories like “checking in” on Facebook

  • Avoid posting subtle remarks about your spouses’s duty or mission while deployed.

“Prayers please, my husband is out on a mission tonight.”

  • Keep your countdown clocks private. Avoid sharing pictures of your in home and digital countdown clocks.

  • Avoid sharing the service member’s job specifics or role during a deployment

Every now and then you will see news articles around specific units while deployed. Some articles share sad information for families and others share positive information around the unit’s accomplishments and strengths. Sometimes it’s best to think twice about sharing how the article is relevant to your service member. Keep in mind that some information vetting procedures don’t go smoothly. There have been many situations where loved ones have found out unfortunate news about their service member via news article.

  • Do not share specifics about you.

Keep your personal information on a need to know basis. Avoid sharing person contact information and locations on social media

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