A listing of OPSEC indicators, by staff function, are defined in AR 530-1, Operation Security, as all actions or
information, classified, or unclassified, obtainable by an adversary that would result in disclosure of friendly
intentions and preserving friendly military capabilities. The OPSEC Survey Report, which essentially
comprises the OPSEC estimate, should provide a good general understanding of what these indicators are for a
specific unit or activity.
Planning guidance is distributed to all sections involved in OPSEC planning. Planning guidance keeps all
planners moving in the same direction at the same time. It makes concurrent planning easier. The planning
guidance may be presented orally, or through written guidance.
Within each section, the planning guidance coordinated by the operations staff will be used to identify
appropriate protective, or OPSEC measures. In order to do this, OPSEC planners must be able to visualize what
will happen--from initial planning through post execution phases--and evaluate detectable sources of
information that might convey OPSEC indicators.
Friendly force vulnerabilities must be identified. This is accomplished by comparing the OPSEC indicators to
the foreign intelligence collection capabilities.
Essentially when performing the vulnerability assessment, operations and intelligence staffs work together to
identify overlaps between indicators and foreign intelligence collection capabilities. Where there is an overlap,
there is a vulnerability which must be protected.
After the vulnerabilities are identified, risk analysis is performed. This is accomplished by estimating the
impact of foreign intelligence collection of the indicator on mission accomplishment; identifying potential
OPSEC measures to reduce the vulnerability; and performing cost vs benefit analysis.
Cost vs Benefit Analysis.
The application of any OPSEC measure incurs the cost in time, equipment, funds and/or manpower. Even
OPSEC measures as routine as setting up camouflage nets take a certain percentage of the manpower, a certain
amount of time to erect. On the other hand, nonselection of any OPSEC measure may incur risks to the
survivability of a force or the successful completion of the mission. These costs associated with the
implementation of OPSEC measures must be carefully balanced against the benefits to the operation derived
through their implementation.
OPSEC measures are described as falling into the three categories: countersurveillance measures,
countermeasures, and deception measures.
Countersurveillance measures are those measures taken to deny or prevent foreign observation of friendly
operations or activities in order to protect the true status of these operations. These OPSEC measures are
routinely incorporated into security standing operating procedure (SOP) which include camouflage, smoke,
frequent patrolling and signal security techniques.
Countermeasures are those actions taken to offset a specific foreign collector or collection system.
Countermeasures employ devices or techniques with the objective of impairing the operational effectiveness of