Alaw enforcement agency in the United States that has implementedeffective operational security (OPSEC) PROCEDURES SINCE 9/11
OPSECis a proven systematic process through which the government of theUnited States and its subsidiary contractors can repudiate toprobable opponents information about intentions and capabilities bypinpointing, controlling and guarding evidence that is generallyunclassified usually about planning and executing sensitivegovernment events. Homeland security is an example of a US based lawenforcement agency that has executed OPSEC procedures effectivelysince 9/11.
Initially,OPSEC dominated the army and the marine before the 9/11 terroristattacks focusing on particular crimes. After the 9/11 attacks thefocus shifted and law enforcement units such as the (Department ofHomeland Security) emerged and felt the need to increasecounterterrorism efforts at local, state and federal levels. Assuggested by the name, OPSEC protects all the operations in theUnited States including those that are in plan, the ones in progressand the completed ones. OPSEC can only be successful if a high levelof secrecy is maintained.
Whenapplied formally, OPSEC follows a sequence of five steps but anemergency or a dynamic situation may be handled without reallyadhering to the sequence. The first step is to identify criticaldata. Obtaining critical data enables the adversary to cause friendlyfailure of mission or any other degradation of mission. The secondstep involves threat analysis. This entails the determination ofpersons or groups that are a representation of a threat to theacquired information.
Analyzingthe vulnerabilities is the third step in the procedure. During theanalysis it is important to explore the organization’svulnerabilities thoroughly especially in matters regarding physicalsafeguards as well as electronic or network safeguards. Vulnerabilityanalysis is the process of friendly examining the projects,processes, and mission to pinpoint vulnerabilities that are natural,inherent or self-induced. The fourth step involves assessing therisks. Here, every analyzed vulnerability allotted a risk level. Thefinal step is to apply the countermeasures. Starting with thevulnerability of the highest risk, a plan is constructed to lessenthe risk factors. The most fundamental element of the final step isto come up with a strategy to mitigate or eliminate the risk totally.
Problemsassociated with the lack of an effective OPSEC
OPSECis not only practiced by the militiamen or the Homeland police unitsbut also ordinary citizens. An ineffective OPSEC causes deteriorationin the security of families and the society in general. Without aneffectively operational OPSEC, the family members of those directlyinvolved in government missions would be at risk because they willnot know how to view their day to day activities from their enemies’points of view.
Thegovernment would also be exposed to adversaries since there will notbe ultimate secrecy within the law enforcement units. This will lowerthe country’s security increasing its vulnerability to terrorists.Terrorist attacks affect citizens at all levels and that’s whyeveryone should watch out and adhere to OPSEC. Without an effectiveOPSEC, there won’t be awareness of the surroundings by people andpeople will surrender unclassified information easily to unsuspectingenemies and that has adverse results. OPSEC is a state of mind thatshould be instilled into individuals at all levels. The informationthat goes on the internet with an ineffective OPSEC even at the statelevel can lead to adversaries acquiring leads to important federalgovernment information.
Caruson,Kiki, Susan A. MacManus, Matthew Kohen, and Thomas A. Watson. (2009).“Homeland Security Preparedness: The Rebirth of Regionalism,”Publius, Winter, pp. 143–168.
Holden,Gwen A., (2010). Building a Homeland Security Strategy: State andLocal Law Enforcement on the Line, Washington D.C.: University ofPennsylvania, Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, Forum on Crime andJustice. Retrieved fromhttp://www.sas.upenn.edu/jerrylee/programs/fjc/paper_oct03.pdf