FORT EUSTIS, Va. (Sept. 22, 2014) – With recent cuts and budget tightening, every organization within the Army is doing its best to accomplish the mission with fewer resources.
By developing innovative processes, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Operations Security team has increased the effectiveness of the organization’s Operations Security, or OPSEC, efforts and initiated a new program using cost-effective methods to help protect Soldiers and sensitive information.
Army Regulation 530-1, Operations Security, mandates units at battalion level or higher, must have an assigned level II OPSEC officer. These OPSEC officers perform a vital role in building an effective program, which helps protect the unit’s critical and sensitive information; and trains, informs and advises unit personnel on compliance with Army policies and procedures.
A Soldier or civilian must attend a three-day Headquarters, Department of the Army OPSEC Officer training course to get OPSEC officer level II trained.
Meeting the need to have qualified, trained level II instructors can be costly.
“That’s where we got smarter. We realized we had to get OPSEC officers trained, and we had to do it with little to no resources,” said David Speigner, TRADOC’s OPSEC officer.
“A few years ago, we started working with the Headquarters DA (Department of the Army) OPSEC Program Manager to get some of our personnel level III instructor qualified so that we could teach our own courses. DA’s OPSEC Support Element, or OSE, began the process to certify our OPSEC officers at some major installations. This certification requires not only teaching skills, but also a vast knowledge of OPSEC and its relationship to other supporting security disciplines,” he said.
According to Speigner, the certification course has one of the hardest exams in the Army, with only a 50 percent pass rate.
“Our OPSEC officers took up the challenge, and we now have level III instructors at 12 of our 14 installations. These installations can now run OPSEC level II classes as needed, with some conducting several a year. By next year, we hope to fill the remaining two sites, and then maintain those instructors over time,” said Speigner.
TRADOC can now train more people at less cost, and also offer support to other units within their local area, according to Speigner.
“TRADOC leads the way within the Army on numbers of trained and qualified OPSEC instructors. More importantly, the organization is looking forward to establishing partnerships with other Army Commands to facilitate level III OPSEC-trained instructors,” he said.
“Becoming an instructor provides no additional pay or promotion. It takes long hours of preparation and [passing] a tough test, with a less than 50 percent pass rate. Why would someone take on this challenge?” Speigner asked.
“Because they care about the mission and they care how OPSEC supports it. They do it so they can provide their commander with his own internal training asset, and it doesn’t cost him anything but some time,” said Speigner.