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How Commanders and IGP could have avoided Pascoe Fiasco!

Loose Lips Sink Ships!

Written by Day

(June 27, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT (BLUF): By Protecting Critical Information and Practicing GOOD OPSEC (Operational Security) throughout the Force SAVE LIVES. I have provided elsewhere very thorough and comprehensive operational security measures a Force should have adopted, and must adopt. I request you to e-mail, mail or give this article to each and every one of your soldier friends in Sri Lanka, as a patriotic duty to protect the Force. I hope the recent and present Service Commanders have ‘thick skin’ if and when they read this article, and the present ones will take measures to protect the Force. Better late than never!

Sri Lanka could have easily avoided Pascoe Fiasco or busybodies and nosey-parkers like Pillai, Arbour, Alston, HRW, AI or anyone else I have failed to mention here landing by plane loads if the recent or present Service Commanders and IGPs had done their part or fervent duty by educating the Force on ‘operational security’ and not allowing ‘digital cameras’ carrying soldiers on the battle.

The soldiers need only carry guns and bullets, beans and water, map and radios, uniforms and toiletries at the most, to the battlefield, not digital cameras at all. If you want to record the battle for what we call ‘Historical Records’ in the military then it is the singular duty or sole forte of ‘Combat Cameramen’. That way there is 100% accountability, in case of leaked photos it is very easy to trace or find out who the culprit is. And take ‘action’ against him with some ‘physical pressure’ others will never ‘contemplate’ to leak ever.

We are supposed to learn from our mistakes and that of others. How come Sri Lankan security establishment failed miserably to learn ‘poignant’ and valuable lessons from Iraq and AFPAK where certain digital images taken by the Coalition Forces soldiers have caused outrage and furor all over the world; to lose the media war and to lose support against global war on terrorism? How anti Iraqi forces (AFI) or Taliban have exploited those images to popularize their ‘cause’, to increase recruitment, win sympathy or support in the wider world?

Sri Lanka is going to need the ‘Force’ again as I can clearly see the incipient signs that the LTTE is regrouping in other ways, shapes and forms and the powers that be and the sycophant military hierarchy bungling the ‘gains’ that are ‘reversible,’ by wallowing , nonchalantly and shamelessly, in profit or money making business adventures self-promotion, extravaganzas, and exuberance.

I thought of writing this article, out of total frustration and disappointment and anger and dismay at the way the recent and present Service Commanders and IGPs have been protecting the Force. We thought they knew better! We have been highly and sadly mistaken! They are still playing at being Service Chiefs and IGP, blissfully unaware or ignorant of the perils and dangers in store, collectively or individually, for the Force, national security and Country. There are two reasons why I needed to write this;

Reason 1: It seems that there has never been nor is any formal education on ‘OPSEC’ in place to save the Force in Sri Lankan military.

Reason 2: Two officially sanctioned newspaper ‘advertisements’ [Protecting Others with Their Lives-Kumudini Hettiarachchi goes behind the scenes with the Special Airborne Force (SABF)-Sunday Leader 13 June 2010 and BOMBING OF THAMIL SELVAM AND STRATEGIC LTTE LOCATIONS:Fighter pilots flirted with danger Sunday 28 June 2009 by Shanika SRIYANANDA – Sunday observer] Sri Lanka Air Force strangely allowed to be published in the media compromising ‘OPSEC’ (Tactics Techniques and Procedures=TTPs) and jeopardizing the lives of pilots and airborne forces.

I invite rather request you to read those two articles (hyperlinked here or Google) and compare with OPSEC measures I have mentioned elsewhere that were needed to have been taken to protect the Force. You will see the stark reality of the state of military affairs in Sri Lanka.

Sadly the priorities of the recent and present Service Commanders are misplaced and their shameless personal ambitions have taken precedence over the ‘professional’ ‘well being’ or ‘health’ of poor rank and file and policemen. The result has been/is irreparable and irretrievable damage to Sri Lanka’s national security. They while being in the state of denial will serve in uniform and will not retire but fade away to a plush ‘diplomatic’ appointment, ’governorship’ or ministerial ‘secretary’ position. The damage is done and they will leave a total mess for the young officer corps to clear or unravel in a future date at a prohibitively higher cost, possibly with cataclysmic or pyrrhic outcomes. In our life time Sri Lankans have suffered for nearly three decade; would you like to revisit and live in that dark, shameless and pathetic period or are you determined, collectively, to prevent as concerned citizens or well-wishers of Sri Lanka to save Sri Lankan Security Forces from becoming the scapegoat or Fall Guy because of the misadventures of corrupt, opportunistic, greedy and ambitious politicos and top brass? I hope and pray that you would opt for latter.

Let me give you some of pertinent examples below of what I am talking about and why they, the Service Chiefs and IGP, do not have ‘time’ to take care of the burning or hot button issues and how they cause waste of so many man-hours of other high ranking officers by involving the officers and soldiers in their (Service Chiefs and IGP) organized boondoggle projects, ‘photo ops’, and media events meant for nothing but self promotion. They need to put an end to these events in the name of the well-being of the Force and national security right now. Period.

Former Army Commander: He spearheaded the Final War. It was his duty to ensure what was allowed or what was not allowed on the battlefield. As a military commander one of his jobs is to be current on current affairs or world affairs and to read and learn lessons from other battlefields and theaters of war. Private England. Abu Gharib. Military Guards. Army Working Dogs (AWD). Army whistleblower. Digital camera. CD. Do you want me to put all these words in same sentence? White flag. Frederica all that Janz. Sunday Leader. SF. Prabakaran. Also in another sentence? I do not think so. He and ex-Navy chief both also dabbled in backdoor politics for quick self-actualization purposes.

As I am writing this, another general who was instrumental in Killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi- Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), as SF was instrumental in killing murderous Prabakarn, is being relieved of Command. Their crime, you may ask. Both failed practice to OPSEC, were not circumspect and showed ‘very poor judgment’. They both decided to talk to a ‘journalist’ for whatever reason and have paid dearly, in SF’s case maybe with his life and Gen McChrystal’s case, with his career and future.

Present Army Commander: He is pretty much preoccupied. You know his priority or his daunting task or Herculean task has been to find credible major generals to appoint to Courts Martial 3, 4, 5, 6, 7…..in store against SF. He will never succeed in our life time. Not gold but the ‘platinum standard’ for ‘integrity’ went down in the drain with the manipulation to retire Maj Gen CAMN Silva. I doubt Sri Lanka Army has ever had or will be lucky to have an officer of his integrity (above Caesar’s wife) or quality again.

If the Army Commander needs an army officer who fair, balanced and acceptable to all Sri Lankans in Courts Martial then only hope as I see it is to bring back Col VSM Jayewardene, SLA Field Engineers, the Under Officer, Intake 1 or Maj Gen Gamini Hettiarachchi, SLA Special Forces, from retirement, as I do not know whether Maj Gen CAMN is still living. If yes, May He Live Long and I wish all the health and happiness in this world for him for living life of an Officer and Gentlemen in the true sense of the words, for being the finest mentor and example to be emulated by countless number of soldiers like me and officers Sri Lanka Army has ever had!
I knew at the ‘Get Go’ the present commander is not going to be a very ‘promising’ Commander. I read his ‘bio’ to get a sense as I know how 2nd lieutenants passing out of Diyathalawa Military Academy secure a ‘slot’ in the 1st Armoured Corps. Most of them are ‘best cadets’ or top three, secured by or selected purely due to the aggregate mostly accrued in ‘written’ exam, ability to speak English and a city slicker.

Before I knew the heroics of late Lt Col Lalith Jayasinghe, 2SF, I always admired the battlefield performance of Col Prasanna W’masooriya (Jagath Alw’s friend from GR and VIR) who, afterschool, underwent Banca Karate in the Nalanda College premises, under Mr. Siridasa Liyanage. Sri Lanka Cricketer Hemantha Devapriya was in his class too and had hard time with the ‘front kick’, and I do not want to say ‘why’ in public! I used to go to Nalanda grounds to play football and take a peek at the karate class. Moreover Prassanna Wick was the fastest cadet in his intake that included, if my memory doesn’t fail me Maj Gen Prassanna Silva-SF, Maj Gen Kamal Gunarathne-GR and Maj Gen Mahesh Senanayake-SF, with backpack on, fully loaded with ‘28-items’ when they ran to ‘the Board and back’ in Diyathalawa. Take a look at Colonel Prassana Wick’s ‘combat medals’ and that of the present Commander and make or come to your own judgment!

Navy Commander: They say a picture tells of a story. How about three pictures? You would think they will tell of three stories. Unfortunately these three pictures tell of thousands of sad stories in the present military in Sri Lanka! I am not sure SLG will be able to publish these three photos in decent size due to space limitations but at least I hope they will publish thumbnails for you to get a sense.

I would like to draw your attention to the picture taken at the Navy Hospital (NH) on 12 June 10. For a reader who is not ‘geographically oriented’ to Navy HQ and President House (PH) and their layout will not really understand what I am about to tell. On 12 Jun 10, apparently, 1st Lady just thought of taking a stroll and ‘casually’ dropping in at Navy Hospital to commiserate with sick and injured sailors and donate some medical equipment. She was in a ‘sports tee’ and an ‘Adidas’ track bottom. That is why I said ‘casually’. Lest you would think she arrived in a bullet-proof, sirens blaring, heavily protected motorcade with police outriders! Not at all! She could just walk to the Navy Hospital. Because of security reasons I would not tell you which back entrance she could take from the President House. I bet she did not walk more than 100 yards at the most from the PH to NH but I will tell you this too that she surly climbed down the ‘concrete steps’ near a building when Admiral Tisara Sam (from Royal College-he likes to be identified that way rather than telling; my bro Isuru went to the same school the prisoner he is holding went to!) used to have his office when he was a Lieutenant Commander! Let you visualize in another way how short the distance is our Navy friends used to say they could see when ‘Hema’ played netball with Air Force ‘chicks’ when late RP was occupying the President House! Malathi’s (Thisara’s wife) stroll to NH is a few meters longer; from the Navy House walk towards old Immigration Office road and make a left and walk down about 125 meters at the most!

This donating the medical equipment easily could have been what we call in the military, a ‘woman thing’ without ‘organized fanfare’ (a low key state of affairs between wives or ladies). He as CofN organized a ‘dog and pony’ show for a ‘photo op’. You do not know what sort of ‘jumping through the hoops, coaching, cleaning, and political correctness’ that goes with this sort of ‘photo op’ visits. Take a look at the book signing photo; five officers above the rank of Commander, Captain, Commodore and Rear and Vice Admiral are looking on while some junior officers and doctors being mere spectators. These organized visits for ‘photo ops’ create uneasiness and nervousness for the entire Navy Hospital and Naval HQ.

Thisara is not a bad person, and that is his nature. But as a navy officer he will avoid ‘hardships’ but not ‘showboating’! I should mention it here; Malathi was a fine lady then, never wanted to bask in limelight.

Take a look at other two photos; one was taken in Kandy and the other at the Galle Harbour. So CofN with his entourage rushed all the way from Colombo to Galle and Kandy to show 1st Lady around a ship and explain ship craft. Those numerous visits take away the focus from the battle or proper soldiering needed by the Force. Not to forget resources, outlays or wherewithal and valuable man-hours lost or wasted in vain. That is why the word ‘deputizing’ is there. Let wives or lady officers take care of 1st Lady, dear sir! As I always say a day has 24 hours, you can and need to do a lot of worthwhile jobs. Due to these detractors priorities are mixed up, The Force is left flapping in wilderness, busybodies land in Sri Lanka by plane loads to pillory and implicate GOSL. These things happen not only on the present CofN’s watch but sadly happened on the Wasantha’s watch too, a heck of lot of ‘Vanitha’ Seva; oops ‘Seva Vanitha’ took place!

I know by now some people are really mad at me. What to do! Do not be averse to the truth and sometimes the truth hurts! In lighter note; S.L.B Rosa of then CTB (Sellappuliyage Lucian Benedict Rosa) from Ampitiya, Kandy, the greatest long distance runner Sri Lanka has ever produced would have ‘wished’ that he had a pair of ‘Adidas‘ track bottom, like the one that 1st Lady had worn to the Navy Hospital on 12 June 10, when he ran, as the popular legend has it, ‘barefoot’ to win double gold Medals in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters events at the sixth Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand. I hope the poor talented athletes from backward areas will get some good quality ‘Adidas’ track bottoms from the 1st Lady. I know for sure Ashroff Omar of MAST LANKA would donate some as he has always sponsored and is willing to sponsor some of the poor and needy athletes in Sri Lanka!

Air Force Commander: I do not have to explain it here anymore than asking you to read those two articles I had mentioned elsewhere (and hyperlinked). In the pathetic and shameful race to seek the personal glory to show my ‘Service’ is better that other’s he is, maybe inadvertently, divulging a lot of TTPs. My fear is other Service Commanders and IGP would follow suit, starting a tit-for-tat advertisement series, not to be outdone! What I am surprised at is when I was a soldier I used to pass through Palaly Airport, If my recollection is correct Wing Commander Roshan Gunathilake had pasted a sheet of paper with Dos and Don’ts for SLAF flyers on a wall. The last Don’t was; Low Flying Thrills but Kills! He as the SLF Air Wing Commander at Palaly in the 80s he was concerned of the lives of flyers, ‘the higher or superior beings, of his elite class in the air force, But when it comes to the ‘lesser beings’ of ‘the Regiment’ Branch, are they cannon fodder or ‘expendable to the Air force Chief? Sir, please say to all Sri Lankans, No! And say those two occasions were inadvertent sort of faux pas and showed your ‘poor judgment’ and “I will prevent that in future”!

I do not want to be ‘nasty’ to you but if you really like to ‘advertise’ please tell all Sri Lankans in a newspaper article about your ‘pilot son’, his ‘qualifications’, who ‘interviewed’ your son at the SLAF Selection Board and his performance at ‘Solo’ flight, where once upon a time a Salgado used to pinch the ears of rookie pilots so bad causing to piss in the pants, as his selection as a cadet in GD (General Duties) branch is so controversial to many in the Force. That way you can come ‘clean’.
IGP: As all others he has or had a personal agenda; he was preoccupied and studying for his Ph. D, writing his dissertation or thesis related to LTTE terrorism and national security in Sri Lanka. He got his Ph. D Scroll, ‘removed the mortar board and the gown’ and returned to Sri Lanka and then donned the khaki uniform and cap with the ‘elephant emblem’ and threw a ‘Dan Sela’ (free food) inviting Senior Gazetted officers. Now while his going through his bills and adding them to pay out of his pocket, the poor ralahamis (constables) 1500 in all, pulling security ON AN EMPTY STOMACH, according to a DIG hurling a bouncer, in and around the ongoing Asia Cup cricket match venue in Rangiri dambulla, while bedding down at night in the nearby temples and schools. What a pathetic story! Why he (IGP) could not or is unable feed the poor, lowest level in the Police Department but is more than willing and ready to feed a bunch of very senior police officers and their ‘bull-dozer wives’, who need to be, not in a fancy restaurant or Officers Mess gobbling down sumptuous, high calorie dinner meals but in a ‘officially sanctioned weight control program’ for their health and that of the Police Department! I do not want to let you know what the elite commandos in STF call him either.

Isn’t it pathetic I as a soldier, with courtesy of the websites like SLG , and you as a reader have to take the initiative or the lead to look into the well-being of the Security Forces when that is the absolute duty of highly-paid, heavily protected and well taken care of incumbent top brass? As I had predicted in my numerous articles that things are not going to rosy for Sri Lanka. The latest I am reading is the European Union is sort of demanding a written commitment from the Sri Lankan government that it would inquire into entire gamut of human rights issues related to the war against LTTE terrorists by July 1 as a prerequisite for extension of the GSP plus facility for a limited additional period has demanded.

There are so many silent professionals who have graduated from western or foreign military training schools. Some of these officers beating the elitist of elite officers and troops of the host nation to graduate at top of the class. But these true Sri Lankan worriers, silent professionals, are not into braggadocio or blowing his own trumpet to a journalist. They do not come and even tell their friends or wives. Remember, their performance records come to Sri Lanka and there is a person who has most of them and he knows who has done well and who has not. If you remember, he told the wider world how Late Lt Col Lalith Jayasinge had performed in his class that was even after his death. So we do not want to hear from your own commander how you performed we have means to know it.

To tell you a real story; Do you remember the Iranian Embassy siege in London and the elite British SAS (Special Air Service) commandos mounting an operation to free the hostage? Do you remember the visuals of an SAS commando on fire and running out of the building? The entire operation was beamed live on TV. A woman sitting at home and watching the operations as it was happening started to cream and cry aloud. You know why? Her husband was the SAS commando on fire, and ONLY then she knew her husband an operator in the 22nd SAS! But you ask a girlfriend of a young Sri Lanka army, navy, air force or STF officer, strangely but funny, her boy friend is her in Commando, SF, SBS, SLAFABF or STF !

Squadron Leader Soyza, when you go home next time to see your family and parents in Balapitiya, and you decide to visit the ‘Boat House’ by the bridge where the ‘Madu Ganga’ is flowing into the sea (Indian Ocean) take a boat ride with the family to the Madu islets to see how coir or cinnamon is processed and worship at the ‘marooned’ temple, do not be petrified if a foreigner taps on your shoulder and praises you being in the SLAF Airborne Force and VIP security squad and ask you how you became a ‘mountain and jungle warfare expert, to put on the seventh heaven then inviting you for a stiff drink (we call alcohol-the Poor man’s Truth Serum) in a beach restaurant, the stranger’s bikini-clad wife joining you, showing you a lot of cleavage and slits and holes, only thing you have to do is to ‘praise’ (use double-speak, I mean!) your Commander for the 15 minutes of free fame he gave for you and others, in the media!
Now let’s all go to class room and take OPSEC 101.

What is OPSEC (Operational Security)? OPSEC denies the enemy information critical to the success of friendly military operations. It contributes to the security of Security Forces and Police Special Task Force and their ability to surprise enemies and adversaries. OPSEC identifies routine activities that may telegraph friendly intentions, operations, capabilities, or military activities to enemy. It acts to suppress, conceal, control, or eliminate these indicators.

(I may add; think before you say something stupid to a journalist or a stranger or whoever does not have need-to-know.)

Operations security protects critical information from adversary observation and collection in ways that traditional security programs cannot. While these programs such as information systems security protect classified information, they cannot prevent all indicators of critical information, especially unclassified information; they cannot prevent all indicators of critical information, especially unclassified indicators from being revealed.

In concise terms, the OPSEC process identifies the critical information of military plans, operations, and supporting activities and the indicators that can reveal it, and then develops measures to eliminate, reduce, or conceal those indicators.
In order to set up the trap the enemy needs to know where the vulnerability is. Therefore protect your vulnerabilities by briefing and educating troops on OPSEC and SAEDAMAP (Subversion and Espionage Directed against Military and Police). Military leaders at all levels should instill loyalty in troops by commanding their respect by leading them from the front and showing concern for the issues a solder or his family has, if any. In that way, a soldier is not disgruntled and with a bit of SAEDAMAP and OPSEC training he spontaneously will protect his livelihood, he will protect his force on his own free will against all odds. I know for a fact a properly led and motivated force provided with purpose and sense of direction has no need to breach the ‘trust’ of the ‘community’.

THE THREAT IS Real and active; always collecting; looking for vulnerabilities; a real & present danger to our forces; NOT always an “enemy”……criminals; NOT always what they appear….Internet / Phone; Identity Theft; unintentional disclosure; other “Adversaries”

LIMIT WHAT YOU SAY ABOUT; Military movements (deployment/redeployment dates, flight information etc.)… next Tuesday IS a specific date; any issues with the unit: anything concerning security; equipment issues (what, no flak vests?); locations of units (it’s OK to say you are in Ampara…..but not to say that you are on STF Camp, Arugam Bay)

OPSEC is NOT Counter-Intelligence. OPSEC is NOT Censorship. OPSEC is NOT an invasion of privacy.

Remember, the Sri Lanka military wants you to tell your story of life in the battlefield or in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police or Civil Defence Corps. But the military requires you to maintain OPSEC and protect the force when telling your story. The measures taken in implementing OPSEC policy for Web Logs (BLOGs) or media releases is not a violation of your human rights.

Remember, your telling of your ‘war stories’ or releasing your ‘photo’ to the media is not a good or fine way into a ’girl’s heart’ (or rather to be a ‘bogus war hero’ in search of some easy and free ‘carnal knowledge’) or your ‘Service Commander’ forcing you to be the subjects of his ill-advised or foolish exercise of or rush to advertising the operators or military men, be they commandos, SF, STF, SBS, ABS or fighter pilot in full-page media advertisements disclosing information of very sensitive nature and jeopardizing the proper, smooth, safe day to day functioning of an elite outfit. In both ways you operators, remember, can end up in a black or white body bag!


Critical information is defined as information important to the successful achievement of a country’s military objectives and missions, or which may be of use to an adversary of that country.

Critical information can either be classified or unclassified. Critical information that is classified requires OPSEC measures for additional protection because it can be revealed by unclassified indicators. Critical information that is unclassified requires OPSEC measures because it is not protected by the requirements provided to classified information. Critical information can also be an action that provides an indicator of value to an adversary and places a friendly activity or operation at risk.
A list of critical information is below but not limited to:
1. CURRENT/FUTURE OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES FOR A CUNTRY’S SECURITY FORCES. (Mission, strategies and strategic planning, mission of the relief units upon arrival in area of operations, objectives/times, pre-planned targets, pending changes to convoy routes and times, times and locations of troop movements)
2. SCOPE OF SPECIFIC OPERATIONS. (Force capabilities/limitations, tactics/techniques/procedures, Electronic Warfare (EW) support and Close Air Support, unit readiness posture, QRF (Quick Reaction Force) reaction times and locations, transition team ( Special Forces or Commando team training providing security to, working with, assisting or advising the personnel (paramilitary /NGO/INGO/VIPs) while living with them or force protection measures and defensive battle drills, mission scope of specific operations of military units, sequence of geographical objectives during clear, hold, and build operations)
3. INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE, AND RECONNAISSANCE (ISR) ASSET SUPPORT. (Collections techniques, comptabilities/limitations, associated mission nicknames or codewords; specific ISR assets that support a particular Task Force; ISR vulnerabilities during surveillance and gaps in the ISR structure)
4. DETAILED DIAGRAMS OF CAMPS/BASES, PHOTOS SHOWING LAYOUTS OF BASES, MAPS, AND GEOSPATIAL DATA. (Guard Force schedules, QRF Schedules and response time, changes to security measures or radio call signs and names of Forward Bases)
5. SPECIFIC PERIPHERAL OPERATIONAL DATA. (Special duty rosters, itineraries/time tables, meetings, conferences, working groups, drivers/aides)
6. COMMUNICATIONS INVOLVED WITH OR IN SUPPORT OF THE OPERATION. (Capabilities/limitations, call signs, frequencies, information network vulnerabilities, computer passwords, special equipment, Task Force computer Portal, radio procedures for units when conducting operations in the theater of war or on the battlefield)
7. ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT TO THE OPERATION. (Call up rosters, travel plans, planning rosters, joint manning documents, shortfalls, and unit organizational charts)
8. PERSONAL INFORMATION OF MILITARY, LOCAL OR FOREIGN, AND LOCAL AND FOREIGN NATIONALS WHO ARE INVOLVED OR IN SUPPORT OF THE OPERATION. (Identities, passport/visa info, assignments, level of security clearance, badges, home of record, addresses/phone numbers, data relating to family members, Killed In Action or Wounded-In-Action (KIAs/WIAs)
9. LOGISTICAL SUPPORT TO THE OPERATION OR SPECIAL ACTIVITY. (Deployment of equipment, maintenance status of vehicles, status of weapons, equipment, spare parts, convoy routes/times, supply delivery, POL delivery, contracting data, and funding data, staging areas, vehicle composition and convoy routes for unit equipment moving in theater, logistical support to division operations or special requirements)
11. NEW TACTICS/TECHNIQUES/PROCEDURES (TTPs) BEING CONSIDERED, EXERCISED, OR EVALUATED. [Counter IED (Improvised Explosive Devices) TTPs, Battle Drills associated with troop movements)
13. BATTLE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT (BDA). (Casualties – WIA and KIA, Casualty Assistance Forms, details of catastrophic incidents-helicopter crash, SLN Ship sunk, Main Battle Tank destroyed, IDF (Indirect Fire) attacks, IED attacks.
15. REPORTS. (SITREPS (Situation Reports), Logistical Reports, Computer Network Reports (P2P), After Action Reviews)
16. DETAINEE INFORMATION. (Lists of names and locations, health status, etc.)

THE DON’TS OF OPSEC: Discuss future operations or missions; Unit strengths, weaknesses or readiness; WIA, KIA, Equipment damages or details; Details about camp security; VIP visits; Routes to use or not use; Enemy strengths or weaknesses; Discuss deployment / leave dates and times; Discuss people’s names and billets; Speculate about future operations; Spread rumors about operations; Assume the enemy is not trying to collect information on military operations, you, or your family.
OPSEC MEASURES YOU SHOULD PRACTICE DAILY: Be aware of your surroundings; Keep sensitive discussions in designated secure areas; Keep a need-to-know attitude (if they don’t need to know, don’t tell them); Safeguard sensitive but unclassified information; Don’t talk about operational business in-mess halls, Gyms or around locals (basically anywhere someone you don’t know could be listening)

CELL PHONES- Things to remember when using a cell phone- Cellular communication is not private and is vulnerable to detection, interception, and monitoring. It is same for the land phones.

Be aware of your surroundings. Do not use a cell phone when classified or sensitive information is being discussed in the area.

Cell phones are never off. Do not bring cell phones to areas where classified information is discussed.

Do not leave your cell phone unattended. Ensure it is properly secured.
DATA STICKS: Very easy to use, and lose or steal! Today data sticks has more capacity and can store so much data than the punched card computer Moratuwa University was using in the 70s.

Users of removable storage media will ensure the device is afforded the physical protection in the storage, use, transmission, and destruction of the device commensurate with its level of classification.

Data sticks are not archives. Do not store unnecessary information on your data stick. When you are finished using the information delete it from your data stick.

Use of personally-owned removable storage media on military information systems should be explicitly PROHIBITED.

Weblog (blog) E-mail, Facebook, YouTube, Tweeter etc-You lose control of the information the moment you send an email, video or post it or tweet. You never know what the recipient will do with the information you send.

IMAGES AND VIDEO: Images, personal photographs, and video taken with digital or film cameras (including camera phones/ watches, PDA attachments, Webcams, SLR 35mm, disposable cameras, etc.) and video recording devices that reveal sensitive information are unauthorized for distribution or transmission on public domains.

Photograph and video recording restrictions must include, but are not limited to Status boards, projected screens, and work areas inside unit command posts (even if only in the background of a photo)

• Sri Lankan Security Forces, or enemy personnel killed, wounded in action, or hospitalized
• Detained persons in a cell, cell block, prison yard, or similar area
• Ground or aerial photographs (including sketches, or graphic representations) of classified military equipment or installations designated as restricted areas
• Training exercises, maneuvers, movement operations, combat operations
• Munitions caches, ammunition storage sites/facilities
• The physical environment in which military operations are planned or take place
• Aircraft crashes, accidental firings or launchings of major weapons

LAUNDRY Check your pockets before you turn in your laundry. Ensure you do not have any classified or sensitive information in your laundry. There can be ID cards, badges, thumb drives, cameras, orders, maps, overlays, photographs, and courier cards.
THRASH on curb or in the dumpster is open source. You learn a lot by going through their thrash. Adopt a 100% shred/burn policy. All paper products, classified or not, will be properly shredded or properly burned. Destroy all CDs. One man’s thrash is another man’s intel(ligence). Be careful what you throw away.

Cross cut shredding is the best way or technique to shred paper products, Shredders must have 1/8 inch cut anything bigger is not properly shredded and must be burned thereafter. When Burning ensure that no piece of paper is left unburned and readable. This applies to mailing labels from packages and envelops received by individual soldiers.

LTTE and JVP insurgents have used military uniforms as a means to get close to SL Security Forces to conduct both offensive operations and intelligence collection. Although some uniform items can be purchased on open market, Soldiers cannot allow themselves to contribute to the problem by carelessly discarding unserviceable uniforms or military items such as webbings, backpacks etc in the trash. Properly dispose of Uniforms and unserviceable equipment by burning.


Know who your OPSEC manager is and report violations As soon As Possible (ASAP).
Report potential or actual vulnerabilities to your OPSEC Manager or Commander immediately.

Congrats, You Have Successfully Graduated From OPSEC 101!

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