I now know things that I shouldn't

  • Published
  • By Dave Wrede
  • 341st Civil Engineer Squadron
Technology can be a wonderful thing. With e-mail, instant messenger and Web cams, we can keep in contact with people on the other side of the world. I recently saw my son, stationed in Iraq, through a Web cam. It was great to see him and talk to him as if we were in the same room.

Cell phones are pretty much the same way. It's great to be able to talk to people and give important information in a more timely manner -- coordinate work schedules or be reminded to pick up that gallon of milk on the way home from work.

Thanks to this new technology, I now know things that I shouldn't.

Recently, while standing in line at a financial institution, three individuals in front of me were in the process of talking of a joint account, which took some time. While standing and waiting, two of the individuals -- an enlisted person in civilian clothing and an officer in uniform -- made cell phone calls. I heard them discussing things I have no right to know.

The enlisted person is scheduled for PCS. I know the dates and that his work center will be soon be severely undermanned due to several more PCSs. I also know their names and a general time frame of their impending departures.

The officer really surprised me. He was discussing the personal problems and potential disciplinary actions resulting from the actions of a member of his squadron. I don't know the affected individual's name, but I could find his squadron and, with a couple of impersonations, I bet I could find out more information.

The point of this diatribe is to remind everyone that you never know who your audience is. Your intended audience could be the other party on a cell phone, but your actual audience is everyone within earshot. Be mindful of what you say and where. Do not discuss information on cell phones that you would not discuss in public. 
Practicing good OPSEC, protecting PA every Airman's responsibility

By Conn McKelvey
341st Missile Wing OPSEC program manager

What Mr. Wrede witnessed is, unfortunately, all too common
in our modern world. Technology is a classic double-edged sword! It offers
us great conveniences and abilities, but it does the same for those who wish
to do us harm. What does not change is that practicing good OPSEC and
protecting Privacy Act information is every Airman's responsibility. That
has not changed for thousands of years.

In the 6th Century BC, Aesop noted:
"The haft of the arrow has been feathered with one of the eagle's own
plumes. Sometimes we supply our enemies with the means of our own

Col. Fortney's policy on OPSEC and the 341st Missile Wing Critical Information List are located on the AF Portal Web site and they clearly delineate both what we must protect and what our responsibilities are.

If you witness poor OPSEC, point out to the individual what they are doing wrong, report it to your unit OPSEC coordinator, or contact me at 731-6029.