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Advancing OPSEC Through ‘Train the Trainers’ Course

NPS operational security (OPSEC) lead Marine Corps Col. Todd Lyons, center, introduces instructor Jay Rutter, kicking off the Naval Operations Security Program Manager Course in Ingersoll Hall, Jan. 9. The two-day course trains the trainers who lead and develop OPSEC programs tailored to the challenges and requirements of their unique units and installations.

NPS hosted the latest Naval Operations Security (OPSEC) Program Manager Course, Jan. 9-10, designed to teach OPSEC trainers across the Department of Defense enterprise how to develop programs to meet the needs of their commands.

NPS Senior U.S. Marine Corps Representative Col. Todd Lyons, lead for NPS’ internal OPSEC program, welcomed a cohort of military and civilian members from across the campus and beyond, noting that the course is designed to train the trainers who will then lead and develop OPSEC programs tailored to the challenges and requirements of their unique units and installations.

“When you go back to your commands, the intent is that you aren’t going to be the OPSEC police. The intent is that you are able to permeate OPSEC considerations into everything you do so it becomes as natural as breathing,” said Lyons.

Leading the training was Jay Rutter from Information Warfare Training Group San Diego. He posed questions to the trainers to draw out OPSEC concepts and fundamentals so they could start thinking how to apply them to the unique needs of their commands and installations.

“It’s not that we aren’t going to do the mission,” said Rutter. “But what is the risk? How do we mitigate the risk and move forward smartly? And how do we let the commanders know when they are taking a risk and how much of that risk is there?”

An example of OPSEC at work is NPS’ own unique program, Lyons says, which is continually adapting, and has shaped the training taught at NPS. Like any university, paramount is the timely release of scholarly information through theses and publications. The NPS OPSEC Working Group partners with campus leaders and faculty to ensure information slated to be published across varied public domains is examined through the OPSEC lens, ensuring a comprehensive assessment of the risks associated with releasing that information is understood.

Course instructor Cryptologic Technician First Class Cameron Ross, who presented different case examples during his teachings, had a specific hope for the trainers and their future programs.

“We want everyone to have the same base level understanding of what OPSEC is so they can take that back to their units and commands and implement a plan to keep their risks minimized,” said Ross.

“When they leave here they will have all the resources they need to create and manage an OPSEC program that can continue on after they move on to different assignments,” he continued. “In time, we hope every command will have an OPSEC program that is maintained and updated with the changing times and personnel.”

At NPS, a well-established and prioritized OPSEC approach has empowered people to identify potential issues and risks, ask the right questions, and know who to engage for help. Conducting this training at the university, Lyons says, continues advancing OPSEC into every area we operate in.

Contact information for NPS’ OPSEC managers can be found on the myNPS Intranet page along with more information on OPSEC that relates to critical information, personal identifiable information, academic institutions, social media and security.

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