1. OPSEC Indicators. OPSEC indicators are those friendly actions and open sources of information that adversary intelligence systems can potentially detect or obtain and then interpret to derive friendly critical information.

2. Basic OPSEC Indicator Characteristics. An indicator's characteristics are those elements of an action or piece of information that make it potentially useful to an adversary. There are five major characteristics.

  1. Signature

  2. Associations

  3. Profiles

  4. Contrasts

  5. Exposure

3. Examples of Indicators. The following paragraphs provide examples of indicators that are associated with selected military activities and information. This short list only scratches the surface of the almost infinite sources of indicators associated with the wide range of US military operations and activities that could be exploited by an adversary. This list is designed primarily to stimulate thinking about what kinds of actions can convey indicators that betray critical information for specific friendly operations or activities.

  1. Indicators of General Military Force Capabilities

  2. Indicators of General C2 Capabilities

  3. General Indicators from Communications Usage

  4. Sources of Possible Indicators for Equipment and System Capabilities

  5. Indicators of Preparations for Operations or Activities. Many indicators may reveal data during the preparatory, as compared to the execution, phase of operations or activities. Many deal with logistic activity. Examples include:

  6. Sources of Indicators During the Execution Phase

  7. Indicators of Postengagement Residual Capabilities

12-20-1996; 17:11:46