FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 24, 2012) -- It is official. The Kentucky Army National Guard has the bragging rights to a world class operational security program. Don't believe it? Just ask the United States Army.

Kentucky's J2-Intelligence Directorate received second place in the 2011 United States Army Operations Security Award in the Organizational Achievement Award Category. They came in just behind the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.

"We can accept that," said Col. Charlie Harris, director of Kentucky's J2 shop. "We figure it's probably good that the space and missile command has a top-rated security program too."

"The Kentucky Guard is it," said Sgt. 1st Class Debra Faris, the J2 noncommissioned officer in charge. "This award is just another affirmation of what we do best, and that's taking care of our Soldiers."

Nominees came from every corner of the Army's security world, both overseas and in the continental United States, from the active duty, Army Reserve and National Guard.

"Winning this award says a lot about the Kentucky Guard's commitment to operational security and the burden of responsibility that we all carry," Harris said. "We're proud of the work we do here at the J2 shop, but it's not just us. Everyone in the chain of command, from our senior leadership down to our most junior private, has a stake in good security practices, and we couldn't do it without their support and compliance."

Kentucky's OPSEC program was judged in several areas, including critical information list, red hash notes and an organizational inspection program, operational security integration into state training and missions, and training contractors.

"In the end is lives are at stake," said Faris. "Like the old saying goes, 'loose lips sink ships.' It just takes a little bit from here, a little bit there to complete the puzzle and that puts lives at risk."

This is the second year in a row that Kentucky has received the prestigious award.