Quote of the week

The RAF was a comparatively tightly organised, high tech force, by and large with more modern equipment and operational command techniques than the Navy, and more so the Army. One consequence was that they were able to collate and distill information fast for their own purposes.

The upshot was that they had more up to date PR to hand on a regular basis.

Thanks to old_rat Posted: 16 Jan 2009 17:41

Monday, 13 January 2014

Security Must Make Sense

an interesting exchange over on Twitter tonight between some military security authorities and a plane spotter over at RAF Waddington.  The anonymous ( like me) military Tweeter took a member of the public to task over the operational content of some of his or her tweets.

One or two civilians were quick to point out that the information is already available at open source #OSINT.  so hardly fair, or polite IMHO to launch in to another unknown poster in open forum.

As a callow youth I was a conduct after capture instructor (CACI) on a flying squadron and had to brief the aircrew on the kind of security measures they would need to put in place, as individuals, as a team in an aircraft and within a squadron launching a number of aircraft on the same mission.

As individuals they were advised to take in to account the type of information that an adversary might have collected on them and their families.   Individuals and groups were briefed and advised on what threats they were likely to face if captured and they needed to do to help counter them.  

This is not new to the RAF we have had personnel attacked by the IRA in the past in England and in Germany, aircrew taken prisoner in Iraq, airmen and their families attacked by the Irgun and Lehi in Palestine.  We teach aircrew how to evade capture, how to interact with rescue forces such as our dear friends from the US CSAR community, flying their Pedro missions that  we have come know and to trust in Afghanistan. 

If that fails, finally we teach them how to behave if captured.  Most of that falls in to a discipline called Operational Security or OPSEC.

I would expect a responsible service such as the RAF to have OPSEC as its first line of defence, Force and Platform Protection would help to keep the platforms safe whilst in the air and Information Security  or INFOSEC to protect sensitive data before, during and after a mission.  In the RAF we call the use of multiple layers of security "defence in depth"

At RAF bases in the UK and other friendly countries security and counter intelligence personnel will know that they can often depend on the trust and support of the local community to act as their eyes and ears.  Plane spotters often have a key eye for the "absence of the normal and presence of the abnormal"  

Any base security officer and airman worth their salt will recognise that cordial relations with those with benign intent, every reason to be on the perimeter  and a sense of public responsibility will be the first to report anything to the base authorities.  The overwhelming support out friends and allies over at Lakenheath have had from the local community is more than enough testament to the goodwill towards both Air Forces.

Being a good neighbour is not just about community relations, it is also about good security.