Practicing security at the source: getting back to basics

“As we strive to protect our information from falling into the wrong hands, there can be no complacency,” said Jim N. Mattis, secretary of defense.

In a memo written June 21, 2018 to all Department of Defense employees, Mattis urged all to remain vigilant when safeguarding sensitive information.

Air Force Instructions, DoD Manuals, online training modules and many other sources help guide personnel to be the best both safely and legally.

“You keep your fellow airmen safe by safeguarding and properly adhering to operational security standards and safeguarding classified material.” said Edward Connolly, 633rd Air Base Wing information protection chief.

According to Connolly, critical information may not be secret on its own, but when compiled together by enemy agents it can pose a greater security threat. Trained adversaries can use these small pieces and link them together, like a puzzle, to highlight what we are planning and doing. The key is stay up-to-date with your security training so you can easily identify any potential risks.

“Look at everything and ask yourself if you need this and should you take this information home?” said Connolly. “If you’re willing to accept small risks in your day-to-day tasks you’re only training yourself to accept the larger risks down the road.”

In an effort to prevent these risks, DoD personnel all undergo operational security training annually. Connolly warned service members, however, not to become desensitized within their work environments which may lead to security violations under the DoD Information Security Program manual, number 5200.01.

“Personnel must confirm sensitive material is properly marked and stored according to DoD standards outlined in various training materials including the annual cyber awareness online training modules,” added Kerri White, 633 ABW information protection specialist. “When transmitting data DoD members, at all levels, need to use appropriate servers while conducting government business.”

White also warned against complacency, stating it can be a major threat to service members and our Department of Defense workforces supporting efforts down range or stateside who are charged with upholding proper security techniques and procedures.

The Joint Base Langley-Eustis information protection office said personnel can remain proactive in understanding their security responsibilities by reviewing the following list to thwart off internal and external threats:

Keep your online training up-to-date
Review the installation security SharePoint page for the latest updates and procedures
Review the Center for Development of Security Excellence (CDSE) website for security education, training, and certification products
Review the DoD security classification guidelines to ensure proper labeling and storage of sensitive material
Review your local security plan
Contact your designated security manager or information protection officer for clear guidance.

DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub ( The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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