ANSBACH, Germany (October 17, 2023) — In a world where safeguarding sensitive information is paramount, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach (USAG Ansbach) has emerged as a beacon of excellence, standing tall as the 2022 Army Operations Security (OPSEC) Award winner in the Organizational Achievement category. This Army-wide award recognizes outstanding achievements in implementing creative and innovative OPSEC measures to protect critical information and assets in military operations.
The award is a significant achievement for the burgeoning garrison, which has been steadily increasing support to accommodate additional units this year, including the recently activated 7th Engineer Brigade and 1st Battalion, 57th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, increasing the lethality of this Power Projection Platform in Central Europe.
According to the Garrison Commander, Colonel Aaron Dixon, the award showcases the dedication and hard work of the entire garrison team.
"There is absolutely nothing more important than the security of our troops and our families. Our USAG Ansbach team relentlessly strives to set and exceed the highest standards in operational security for our community. This award exemplifies the tireless efforts of our team and their unwavering dedication to our mission," said Dixon. "I am immensely proud of their achievements and their commitment to keeping our community safe."
The garrison's journey to this prestigious accolade was nothing short of remarkable. Throughout CY22, the team navigated intense operational challenges, overcoming constraints and obstacles to create a safer, more security-conscious community.
Covering a vast expanse of more than 13,000 square kilometers and comprising seven kasernes and two training sites, USAG Ansbach faces unique geographic challenges. The command OPSEC program oversees critical infrastructure amongst 699 facilities, totaling 7.4 million square feet, with a rapidly increasing population of more than 10,000 Soldiers, civilians, family members, and retirees living and working in the Ansbach area. The program also manages two Department of Defense Education Activity-Europe schools.
The OPSEC program manager, Richard Jackson, and the garrison Security Manager, Alonzo Edwards, were critical to this success story. Driven by a passionate commitment to improving security posture and community awareness, these two individuals reinvigorated a struggling program with a robust, multi-faceted strategy.
Their approach to OPSEC was not just theoretical; it's practical and encompasses various initiatives aimed at safeguarding sensitive information. The Ansbach OPSEC program is in strict compliance with all regulatory and audit guidelines, designed to encourage every community member, from military personnel to civilian staff, contractors, family members, and retirees, to incorporate OPSEC into their daily routines. Both employees and family members are encouraged to store and dispose of information properly, reducing the risk of inadvertent data exposure.
Among these initiatives is the annual Community Shred-Fest program, synchronized with garrison-wide clean-up activities. The program, offered to units and families across the garrison, provides secure and proper disposal of documents, adhering to the Army Records Information Management System (ARIMS) program. It encourages the correct handling of Personal Identifying Information (PII) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) at the office level, reducing the risk of OPSEC, INFOSEC, or PII incidents. This effort was also in tandem with the relocation of the Garrison Headquarters and 13 garrison directorates from Barton Barracks to Bismarck Kaserne in mid-2022. The shred fest not only ensured the destruction of more than 9 tons of sensitive documents, but also saved money on moving costs by purging records and files before relocation.
USAG Ansbach's OPSEC program profoundly impacts the garrison's mission. It streamlines processing time for reviews and prevents the release of information that could compromise the organization's integrity.
Over the course of 2022, the USAG Ansbach Public Affairs office completed quarterly reviews of more than 24 publicly accessible Army websites and actively monitored official social media platforms for services across the garrison. Their efforts included over 900 page updates and social media posts that supported the garrison's social media plan, increasing transparency in operations without compromising operational security. The Public Affairs team also maintained a watchful eye on more than 40 community-related social media pages to ensure adherence to OPSEC standards.
Another initiative is the OPSEC Minute, a monthly community messaging program sent to all units and supported organizations in the Ansbach footprint. These messages serve as reminders of OPSEC procedures, with some containing QR codes that provide access to information about Garrison OPSEC events or common OPSEC issues. The goal is to increase awareness of day-to-day situations and reinforce how to handle them securely.
"I am deeply honored to be a part of the exceptional team at USAG Ansbach, where our collective commitment to operational security has made a tangible impact on our community's safety," said Jackson. "This award reflects our joint efforts in creating a culture of vigilance and ensuring a safer community through strong OPSEC practices."
USAG Ansbach's success in implementing the OPSEC program serves as a model for other military organizations. The garrison's commitment to operational security and the protection of critical information is an example of the Army's dedication to maintaining a solid and secure national defense.
The garrison's achievements in OPSEC are a testament to the commitment to ensuring a well-informed OPSEC mindset throughout the community. By embracing OPSEC training and providing unwavering support to tenant units and organizations, we are well-prepared to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities swiftly. These remarkable efforts have earned us a safer, more vigilant community. Congratulations to the entire USAG Ansbach team for this outstanding achievement!
The U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach military community is located in the Franconian region of Bavaria and is spread across six sites and nine kasernes dispersed around the city of Ansbach and the village of Illesheim. Today, Ansbach is home to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, the community's largest tenant unit, as well as the 7th Engineer Brigade, 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and 1st Battalion, 57th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. The garrison takes pride in supporting more than 10,000 Soldiers, civilians, family members, and retirees living and working in the Ansbach area.
For more news from U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, visit: https://www.army.mil/FranconianNews or https://www.facebook.com/usagansbachcommunity/