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301-371-1050 (SL1) - Implement Operations Security (OPSEC) Measures

Standards: Implemented OPSEC measures based on unit indicators and vulnerabilities; protected unit essential elements of friendly information against threat collection efforts and prevented compromise.

Conditions: You have received a unit OPSEC plan, which includes
essential elements of friendly information,
indicators, vulnerabilities, OPSEC measures,
and AR 530-1.

Implemented OPSEC measures based on unit
indicators and vulnerabilities; protected
unit essential elements of friendly
information against threat collection
efforts and prevented compromise.

Performance Steps

1.   Define OPSEC.

OPSEC is a process of
analyzing friendly actions pursuant to
military operations and other
activities to-

Identify those friendly
actions that can be observed by the

Determine indicators that
the threat might obtain that could be
interpreted or pieced together to
derive critical information in time to
be useful.

Select and execute measures
that eliminate or reduce to an
acceptable level the vulnerabilities
of friendly actions to the threat

OPSEC maintains essential
secrecy, which is the condition
achieved by the denial of critical
information to the threat. 
Threat possession of critical
information can prevent friendly
mission accomplishment. 
Thus, essential secrecy is a
necessary prerequisite for effective
Essential secrecy depends on
the combination of two conditions:

Provide traditional
security programs that deny the threat
classified information.

Provide OPSEC to deny the
threat critical information, which is
always sensitive and often

2.   Define indicators.

Indicators are data derived
from open sources or from detectable
actions that the threat can piece
together or interpret to reach
conclusions or official estimates
concerning friendly intentions,
capabilities, or activities. 
They are also activities that
result from military operations. 
Indicators contribute to the
determination of friendly courses of
Their identification and
interpretation are critical tasks of
the threat operations. 
Indicators can be used in many
For example, if the commander
wants the threat to think one way but,
in reality plans on doing something
entirely different, he may give him a
false indicator (such as massing a
smaller force to disguise a larger

There are three types of

Profile indicators show how
activities are normally conducted. 
Profiles are developed by
looking at all aspects of friendly
operations from the viewpoint of the
The friendly profile must
include all of those things that, if
detected by the threat, could provide
information concerning our
capabilities, vulnerabilities, and

Patterns are stereotyped
actions that occur so habitually that
they can cue an observer to either the
type of military unit or activity, its
identity, capabilities, or intent. 
The Army tends to do things in
the same way (SOP). 
This causes patterns that the
threat looks for so he can predict

Signatures result from the
presence of a unit or activity on the
Signatures are detected because
different units have different types
of equipment, are of different sizes,
emit different electronic signals, and
have different noises associated with

Deviation indicators, which
highlight contrasts to normal
activity, help the threat gain
appreciation about intentions,
preparations, time, and place.

Tip-off indicators draw
attention to information that
otherwise might pass unnoticed.  These are most significant when they warn the threat of
impending activity. 
This warning allows the threat
to pay closer attention and to task
additional collection assets.

3.   Identify threat capabilities.

The threat consists of
multiple and overlapping collection
efforts targeted against all sources
of Army information. 
The threat devotes significant
resources to monitor U.S. military
operations and activities on a daily
The threat can produce reliable
information on the U.S. military and
its capabilities, intentions, and
The threat is also shifting the
emphasis in targeting. 
Foreign targeting of American
technology is increasing for economic
as well as military reasons. 
Technology transfer will
continue to remain a major concern in
the future.

The major threat collection
capabilities fall in four areas:

Human intelligence (HUMINT)
includes all information derived
through human sources not accessible
to other collection assets. 
HUMINT employs overt, covert,
and clandestine operations to achieve
worldwide collection objectives.

Imagery intelligence (IMINT). 
The threat can obtain IMINT
from land, sea, air, and space
platforms (radar, photographic,
infrared, and electro-optic imagery). 
At the tactical level, airborne
collection possesses the greatest
IMINT threat.

Signals intelligence (SIGINT)
results from the collection,
evaluation, analysis, integration, and
interpretation of information derived
from intercepted electromagnetic

Measurement and signature
intelligence (MASINT) is scientific
and technical intelligence obtained by
quantitative and qualitative analysis
of data derived from technical sensors
for the purpose of identifying any
distinctive features associated with
the source, emitter, or sender and to
facilitate subsequent identification
or measurement.

Two additional areas of

Technology transfer, which
has led to significant enhancement of
military-industrial capabilities at
the expense of the United States.

Non-traditional threats. 
Past and present allies are
potential intelligence threats. 
They can engage in intelligence
collection activities to gain economic
or political advantage, which is not
in the best interest of the United

4.   Define OPSEC measures. 
OPSEC measures are methods and
means to gain and maintain essential
secrecy about critical information.

Action control eliminates
Select what action to
undertake, decide whether or not to
execute actions, or impose restraints
on actions. 
(Specify who, when, where, and

Countermeasures attack the
threat collection system by using-






5.   Implement the OPSEC Process.  OPSEC has five steps that apply to any plan, operation,
program, project, or activity. 
They provide a framework for
the systematic process necessary to
identify, analyze, and protect
information for essential secrecy. 
The process is continuous. 
It considers the changing
nature of the threat and friendly
vulnerabilities throughout the
It uses the following steps,
but does not have to follow them in a
particular sequence.

Identify critical
Critical information consists
of specific facts about friendly
intentions, capabilities, and
activities vitally needed by the
threat to plan effectively and to
guarantee failure or unacceptable
consequences for friendly mission

Determine what needs

Identify key questions that
threat officials are likely to ask
about friendly intentions,
capabilities, and activities, so they
can obtain answers critical to their
operational effectiveness. 
To determine sensitive aspects
of our operations, ask “If known by
the threat, what information and what
actions could compromise friendly
operations or identify us?”

Identify friendly force
The G3 and the G2 are
responsible for developing friendly
force profiles.

Avoid setting patterns.

Conduct an analysis of

Identify OPSEC
It is absolutely necessary that
you know the threat. 
This information will assist in
determining vulnerabilities to the
threat and it will become even more
important when the time comes to
implement countermeasures or deception

Examine each part of the
operation to find OPSEC indicators. 
Compare those indicators with
the threat collection capabilities.  A vulnerability exists when the threat can collect an
indicator, correctly analyze the
information, make a decision, and take
timely action to degrade friendly

Conduct an analysis of

Identify possible OPSEC
measures for each vulnerability.

Select at least one OPSEC
measure for each vulnerability.

Assess the sufficiency of
routine security measures (personnel,
physical, cryptographic, document,
special access, and automated
information systems). 
This will provide OPSEC
measures for some vulnerabilities.

Perform risk assessment. 
The purpose of this step is to
select OPSEC measures for
This step is designed to
determine if a risk to an operation’s
success exists should the threat
detect friendly indicators, patterns,
or signatures. 
Only the commander responsible
for the mission can make this
decision.  He must balance the risk of operational failure against the
cost of OPSEC measures.

Consider the impact of an
OPSEC measure on operational

Consider the probable risk
to mission success (effectiveness) if
the unit does not implement an OPSEC

Consider the probable risk
to mission success if an OPSEC measure
does not work.

Decide which, if any, OPSEC
measures to implement and when to do

Check the interaction of
OPSEC measures. 
Ensure that a measure to
protect a specific piece of critical
information does not unwittingly
provide an indicator of another.

Coordinate OPSEC measures
with the other elements of C2W.

Apply appropriate
countermeasures to deny threat
information of specific friendly
intentions, capabilities, and

Implement measures that
require immediate action. 
This applies to current
operations as well as planning and
preparation for future ones.

Document or task OPSEC
measures by using an OPSEC annex to

Brief OPSEC requirements to
planners, participants, and support

Note.  OPSEC
measures are command-directed actions
executed by individuals, who must be
aware of their responsibilities.

Monitor OPSEC measures
during execution. 
Monitoring is a continuous
process of evaluating intelligence and
It is necessary to monitor
countermeasures for effectiveness
because unevaluated countermeasures
can lead to a false and dangerous
sense of security.

Make adjustments to improve
the effectiveness of existing
These adjustments are necessary
to obtain the best protection for our
military operations.

6.   Define OPSEC review, assessment, and survey.

OPSEC review is an
evaluation of a document to ensure
protection of sensitive or critical

OPSEC assessment is an
analysis of an operation, activity,
exercise, or support function to
determine the overall OPSEC posture
and to evaluate the degree of
compliance of subordinate
organizations with the published OPSEC
plan or OPSEC program.

OPSEC survey is a method to
determine if there is adequate
protection of critical information
during planning, preparations,
execution, and post-execution phases
of any operation or activity. 
It analyzes all associated
functions to identify sources of
information, what they disclose, and
what can be derived from the

Evaluation Preparation: 

Setup: Provide the soldier with the materials listed in the

Soldier: Tell the soldier to maintain
OPSEC procedures to protect critical aspects
of operations from exploitation by threat




1.   Defined OPSEC.

2.   Defined indicators.

3.   Identified threat capabilities.

4.   Identified OPSEC measures.

5.   Implemented OPSEC measures.

Identified critical



Determined what protection
was needed.



Identified key questions
the threat are likely to ask about
friendly intentions, capabilities, and



Identified friendly force



Avoided setting patterns.



Conducted analysis of



Identified OPSEC



Found OPSEC indicators.



Conducted an analysis of



Identified OPSEC measures
for each vulnerability.



Selected OPSEC measure for
each vulnerability.



Assessed the sufficiency of
routine security measures.



Performed risk assessment.



Considered the impact of an
OPSEC measure on operational



Considered the probable
risk to mission success if the unit
does not implement an OPSEC measure.



Considered the probable
risk to mission success if an OPSEC
measure does not work.



Decided which OPSEC
measures to implement.



Checked the interaction of
OPSEC measures.



Coordinated OPSEC measures
with the other elements of C2W.



Applied appropriate
countermeasures to deny threat
friendly information.



Implemented measures that
require immediate action.



Tasked OPSEC measures using
OPSEC annex.



Briefed OPSEC requirements
to planners, participants, and support



Monitored OPSEC measures
during execution.



Made adjustments to improve
the effectiveness of existing



6.   Defined OPSEC review, assessment, and survey.

Defined OPSEC review.



Defined OPSEC assessment.



Defined OPSEC survey.



Score the soldier GO if all
performance measures are passed. Score the
soldier NO GO if any performance measure is
failed. If the soldier fails any performance
measures, show him what was done wrong and
how to do it correctly.


















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