Security Operations (SECOP) is a process that identifies critical information to determine if friendly actions can be observed by adversary intelligence systems, determines if information obtained by adversaries could be interpreted to be useful to them, and then executes selected measures that eliminate or reduce adversary exploitation of friendly critical information.
- Identification of Critical Information: Identifying information vitally needed by an adversary, which focuses the remainder of the OPSEC process on protecting vital information, rather than attempting to protect all classified or sensitive unclassified information.
- Analysis of Threats: the research and analysis of intelligence, counterintelligence, and open source information to identify likely adversaries to a planned operation.
- Analysis of Vulnerabilities: examining each aspect of the planned operation to identify OPSEC indicators that could reveal critical information and then comparing those indicators with the adversary’s intelligence collection capabilities identified in the previous action.
- Assessment of Risk: First, planners analyze the vulnerabilities identified in the previous action and identify possible OPSEC measures for each vulnerability. Second, specific OPSEC measures are selected for execution based upon a risk assessment done by the commander and staff.
- Application of Appropriate OPSEC Measures: The command implements the OPSEC measures selected in the assessment of risk action or, in the case of planned future operations and activities, includes the measures in specific OPSEC plans
An OPSEC assessment is an intensive application of the OPSEC process to an existing operation or activity by a multidisciplined team of experts. Assessments are essential for identifying requirements for additional OPSEC measures and for making necessary changes in existing OPSEC measures. Additionally, OPSEC planners, working closely with Public Affairs personnel, must develop the Essential Elements of Friendly Information (EEFI) used to preclude inadvertent public disclosure of critical or sensitive information.