• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

OPSEC...Am I right out of 'er or what?

Kiwi99

Member
Reaction score
0
Points
160
From day one of the Afghan mission we in the military have had OPSEC stuffed down our throats from the highest levels of our chain of command down to the lowest levels.  And OPSEC is extremely important, that's a fact.  We all obey it and we all correct others who are un-knowingly or intentionally violating it.

So why is it that every other week when I read the paper I am forced to read the comments from some Canadian commander announcing to the world that in a few days or weeks or even tomorrow, Canadian troops will be conducting a major offense in some place.  They make an effort to ensure they announce the name of the place correctly, and then proceed to make other comments. 

Now, in the world of OPSEC, isn't announcing plans to the world somewhat contradictory?  Announcing to the enemy that we will be moving into their area gives them a chance to bug out (which they do very easily) and plant even more IEDs which invariably kill and wound our soldiers.

Now, like I said in the title, I may be out to lunch.  But in my mind these kind of announcements are the biggest violation of OPSEC around.  So, here are my questions for the smarter minds (really are or self professed) to answer;

1.  Why do the Commanders announce these things prior to an operation?
2.  What do we gain - lose from these statements?
3.  What do the troops on the line feel about tomorrows objective being announced to the enemy today?

Thanks all.

Kiwi
 

NSDreamer

Full Member
Donor
Reaction score
0
Points
210
The days of things like Op Neptune are gone it seems doesn't it...
 

Fusaki

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
0
Points
410
Kiwi99 said:
So why is it that every other week when I read the paper I am forced to read the comments from some Canadian commander announcing to the world that in a few days or weeks or even tomorrow, Canadian troops will be conducting a major offense in some place.  They make an effort to ensure they announce the name of the place correctly, and then proceed to make other comments. 

It's information operations, my friend. ;)

Information is - first and foremost - a weapon.  Because of its ability to influence the enemy, we use it tactically.  In 2006, for example, we made it clear to the Taliban that our intention was to take Pashmul.  By essentially telling them "after school, behind the monkey bars," the non-combatants had the opportunity to clear out of the way and an elusive enemy allowed themselves to be concentrated in a small area.  Because of this, we killed loads of bad guys, and I've heard arguments that at the time we actually came fairly close to breaking the back of the insurgency.

More recently, we talk about modern COIN as a race to establish government that is perceived as legitimate in the eyes of the people.  It's a population-centric strategy as opposed enemy-centric.  As our thinking on the subject evolves, IO comes closer and closer to center stage with more traditional "kinetic" objectives becoming the sideshow.  That's why information - like any weapon - needs to be tightly controlled.  The troops on the ground are told obey OPSEC (which doesn't rule out talking about everything, only specific things) and the guys who do IO full time develop the news briefings the higher-ups give.
 

Arctic Acorn

Full Member
Reaction score
0
Points
210
Wonderbread is spot on: They call it "shaping"...it's thats a bit of a buzzword most people don't fully understand though (including myself)

There's lots of things that fall under OPSEC  that shouldn't see the light of Facebook. When folks talk about the importance of PERSEC and OPSEC, they're generally including pretty obvious stuff like pictures to the folks back home (such as, oh, pics of themselves in the CP...in front of the battle map...with the BG Freqs posted on it....). Also, respecting the media blackout whenever there are casualties...no phone calls to Cpl Bloggins' mother saying 'He's okay I just talked to him', when the guy is on a one-way trip to the Role 3. That kind of stuff...

By the time Commanders announce operations like what you're talking about, there really isn't much insurgents can do about it by that point.
 
A

aesop081

Guest
Kiwi99 said:
So why is it that every other week when I read the paper I am forced to read the comments from some Canadian commander announcing to the world that in a few days or weeks or even tomorrow, Canadian troops will be conducting a major offense in some place.  They make an effort to ensure they announce the name of the place correctly, and then proceed to make other comments. 

Commanders know very well the implications of the announcements as it is usualy part of the broader plan. This is usualy not apparent to the pointy end. You have to accept that commanders look not only at the effect that the announcements have but also at second and third-order effects.
 

dogger1936

Sr. Member
Reaction score
0
Points
160
Its so the taliban have time to move everything over to another town. ensure their IED's are set and head out. This ensures death and injury to our side and our manouver group being so large/slow offers them plenty of time to pack up and leave again if required. Then if a few of them want to prove themselves or get ordered to they will swing by on motorcycles and do some shooting at us.

 

Fishbone Jones

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
946
Points
1,060
dogger1936 said:
Its so the taliban have time to move everything over to another town. ensure their IED's are set and head out. This ensures death and injury to our side and our manouver group being so large/slow offers them plenty of time to pack up and leave again if required. Then if a few of them want to prove themselves or get ordered to they will swing by on motorcycles and do some shooting at us.

Of course Assange, and Wikileaks, will ensure any holes in the security fence are torn down and Timmy knows our jamming frequencies and such. After all, the real reason for letting all this info go is to level the playing field right? Heaven forbid we even think of holding the advantage over our enemy. Don't want some UN, or NGO, agency petitioning our Gov't for being unfair in a life or death struggle with terrorism, right?
 

Journeyman

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
1,110
Points
940
Maybe it's to make the roto more challenging.....





......so they can get one of those coveted Unit Commendations  :stirpot:
 

Kiwi99

Member
Reaction score
0
Points
160
0tto Destruct said:
By the time Commanders announce operations like what you're talking about, there really isn't much insurgents can do about it by that point.

Sure there is...it's called the f#$k outta town and leave some IEDs behind.  Do you think it takes them as long to plan a withdrawal as it takes as to plan an advance?  They call it jumping on the back of a motorbike and leaving town ASAP, after leaving behind a few more bombs etc.

I would place a monetary bet that every time one of these announcements is made that there is more IEDs being planted and a far lower chance of contact with the enemy. 
 

Searyn

New Member
Reaction score
0
Points
110
Kiwi99 said:
Sure there is...it's called the f#$k outta town and leave some IEDs behind.  Do you think it takes them as long to plan a withdrawal as it takes as to plan an advance?  They call it jumping on the back of a motorbike and leaving town ASAP, after leaving behind a few more bombs etc.

I would place a monetary bet that every time one of these announcements is made that there is more IEDs being planted and a far lower chance of contact with the enemy. 

or maybe it's misinformation. If an announcement is made for a specific town/city perhaps it's being done with the intent to scare the taliban out of said town and into an ambush or into a new town that is the actual target. Or it's just to get them moving around and easier to identify and then track.

"How does the top brass know where the insurgents will move to?" you ask.

I have no idea, but the top brass has resources no one else does. Perhaps they do what they do for reasons other than getting their own troops killed... I'm sure you don't get to be generals that high up by being completely inept.
 

Journeyman

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
1,110
Points
940
Searyn said:
I have no idea....,
Seen.

Searyn, you've been a pretty good guy so far, amongst the posters who aren't in the CF yet. But I'm thinking that this is one of those threads where you may be better off sitting on the sidelines.

Just sayin'
 

captloadie

Sr. Member
Subscriber
Reaction score
73
Points
330
What is the greatest threat to our troops out there? I would hazard an educated guess that it is IEDs. So, if I want to reduce IEDs, what would I do as a senior commander? Maybe I would try to eliminate those who build/plant them, and reduce the stockpiles of raw materials they use. Hmm..., how would I do that I wonder. Well, I'd want to catch them building them and planting them I guess. But now, what's a good way to entice them to expose themselves? Gosh, what if I announce a potential area I plan on attacking, and watch to see how they react, then scoop them up?

Maybe, just maybe this is what I'd do.
 

Journeyman

Army.ca Legend
Subscriber
Reaction score
1,110
Points
940
...are you serious??  You want to encourage the planting of IEDs as a method of ID'ing Taliban??

I'm guesing as a former Traffic Tech posted to Holland, you don't have a lot of operational experience outside the wire. Maybe you should leave that to the real soldiers.....and the people posting coments to the Toronto Star  ::) 
 

captloadie

Sr. Member
Subscriber
Reaction score
73
Points
330
Actually, your insulting quite a few good traffic techs I know by including me in their hallowed ranks.

And you are right, I have zero time outside the wire. In fact, I'll openly admit I'm way out of my lanes on this one. I was just proposing a reason to advertise a possible upcoming mission. I guess I should have pointed out that I wasn't advocating using the Combat Arms as bait to catch a rat, despite the fact that historically this is an oft used tactic.

I'll now shut up.

 

Greymatters

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
0
Points
410
CDN Aviator said:
Commanders know very well the implications of the announcements as it is usualy part of the broader plan.

I would disagree - commanders think they know very well the implications of their statements.  If every one of them always knew what they were doing all of the time, none of them would ever make mistakes.  But they do make mistakes, sometimes small and sometimes big.  It cant be helped when they are forced to make choices between tasks, objectives, missions, and personal goals, and not all of the choices are what is best for the soldier in the field. 

Unfortunately, short term goals (i.e. operational) can disrupt other short term goals (i.e. tactical) and sometimes prevent long term goals (i.e. strategic) from being accomplished.  Political objectives can interfere with military objectives.  Money spent on improving the forces in one area means less money for 'things we really need' in another area.  Efforts to improve domestic morale and civil support can at the same time provide information to the enemy force.  Stealth on the battlefield and 100% OPSEC can be successful but lead to a complete lack of information that the enemy forces (and domestic we-know-betters) fill with propaganda.




 
Top