by Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
2/11/2014 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- With
security forces Airmen patrolling Air Force bases around the clock;
staff can have sense of security in their work environment. However,
wing safety relies on more than just entry control.
Personally Identifiable Information is used regularly on military
installations. If it is not handled properly, lives can be damaged.
"You can never be too careful," said Martha Smith, Airmen and Family
Readiness Center human resource specialist. "Because of the computer age
we live in, your information can be distributed around the world a few
moments and your identity is in the hands of an imposter."
Information such as social security numbers, age, marital status, race,
telephone numbers, email addresses, medical and financial information
are all considered PII.
Enemies, both foreign and domestic, are constantly trying to steal PII
and are not biased with their targets, leaving everyone vulnerable to
Smith's information was leaked into the public domain six years ago,
forcing her to deal with numerous cases of fraudulent charges, loss of
credit and identity theft.
"It's been a nightmare," she said. "Not everyone has the Air Force Core
Values. They're not all nice, and some people won't hesitate to take it
[PII] and hurt you. We have to be hyper-vigilant at all times."
In order to safeguard sensitive information, PII must be enclosed in
Privacy Act cover sheets and should not be left unattended unless it is
in a secure location. The information needs to be properly disposed of
when it is no longer needed.
Disposal methods include: tearing, erasing, burning, melting chemical
decomposition, pulping, pulverizing, shredding and mutilation.
"Protecting PII is a responsibility of every Air Force Member," said Lt
Gen. Michael J. Basla, Secretary of the Air Force Information Dominance
chief and chief information officer. "Loss of PII poses a risk to
personnel as well as the security of our installations and systems."
Air Force email accounts will automatically be locked if PII is detected
in outgoing emails. Emails may be encrypted to protect sensitive
information and prevent accounts from being locked.