18th Wing goes to great lengths for OPSEC Published March 6, 2008 By Staff Sgt. Christopher A. Marasky 18th Wing Public Affairs KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members of the 18th Wing Operations Security team are going to extremes to ensure that the wing is adhering to OPSEC principles. The team members randomly visit units on base and dive into the dumpsters to try and find sensitive material that has been thrown away, as part of an overall effort to raise OPSEC awareness here at Kadena Air Base. Examples of sensitive material that people might not think about would be Social Security numbers, recall rosters, organizational charts or anything with personnel information. OPSEC is the Department of Defense process to ensure the security of unclassified, but sensitive information, through a six-step process. "The whole process is designed to protect information from our adversaries," said Capt. Jeffrey Schrum, 18th Wing OPSEC program manager. "We have to think what informationthe adversary wants, and what would cause the most damage to the mission if we lost that information." The process begins by first determining critical information for the wing and individual units. The second step in the process is to determine threats to the installation and individuals. Once threats have been determined, vulnerabilities to the information have to be determined as the third step. The fourth step in the process consists of reviewing the critical nature of information, andthen comparing both the threats and vulnerabilities to that information to determine the risk. From there OPSEC measures are created, and the costs of those measures are weighed to determine their effectiveness before the entire cycle is begun anew. "This process is cyclic in nature, so you are always assessing new threats and vulnerabilities," said Captain Schrum. "Ten years ago the internet wasn't a big threat to information loss. Today it's a bigger threat as more people have access to it, and more people are posting things without understanding the risks." One measure that Captain Schrum suggests to improve security is to shred everything. For those units that create a large amount of paper to be shredded, Kadena doesn't have a mass destruction facility, but the Camp Foster recycling center does. Military members wishing to use their facility for destruction purposes can call 645-3139 the day before to schedule an appointment. One important OPSEC measure that often gets overlooked is making sure that family members are practicing better security as well, said Master Sgt. Kenneth Horn, 18th Wing superintendent of wing plans. "A lot of people just assume the program is a military thing, but it applies to everyone." The focus on improving OPSEC here at Kadena is having an effect, judging by the results of their dumpster diving excursions, said Sergeant Horn. "The base has been doing better since we first started," he said. "It's getting a lot harder to find things now, and there are a lot of units where we don't find anything." The improvement in OPSEC procedures doesn't mean that Airmen here can let down their guard though, said Sergeant Horn. "The enemy is always listening whether you are on duty or off," he said. Airmen here at Kadena are reminded that if they see any suspicious activity on base, to call Security Forces at 634-2475 to report. Members who feel individuals might be trying to elicit information from them, should contact the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at 634-3590.