Shredding documents is first in OPSEC defense

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. William Mays
  • Keesler Operations Security program manager
Would you believe that something as simple as sifting through the trash can give our enemies valuable opportunities to threaten Keesler's operations security and even your personal credit?

Recently, several commanders, OPSEC managers and recycling center employees came together to see what intelligence could be collected from a dumpster dive. Since the Air Force and Keesler have 100% shred policies, we were looking to see how much Privacy Act, personally identifiable information and for official use only information we could find. A receptacle, which is used by three units, was picked up from a preselected location on the base and brought to the recycling center.

The recycling center personnel transferred the contents of the dumpster into smaller bins for inspection. Each bag of trash was then pulled open and inspected. In no time, the overwhelming smell of rotting trash had permeated the recycling center. Amidst all of that trash, we found a lot of nonshredded paper. None of the paper contained classified information. However, we were still able to find sheets of paper with names and addresses, Social Security numbers, documents marked FOUO and even credit card information
with security codes.

Shredding all paper serves a three-fold purpose. First, it enhances the OPSEC program by making it virtually impossible for our adversaries to glean usable information from our trash. Second, it makes it extremely difficult for criminals to steal identities of people associated with the base. Third, it increases the revenue that the base makes from the recycling center. This returned revenue can be used to buy various items for the base including new shredders.

If your squadron needs a shredder, please call 228-377-2754 with your requirements. The National Security Agency also has a website to assist you in determining what product is needed to render your media useless:

If you have any other OPSEC questions or needs, look no further than your squadron bulletin board. Your local OPSEC coordinator should have their name posted along with the alternate on a KAFB Visual Aid 10-5.