By Lee Porterfield
Special to GUIDON
The purpose of Antiterrorism Awareness Month is to instill heightened awareness and vigilance Army-wide and to prevent and protect Army-critical resources from acts of terrorism. However, the fact that the Army chooses a month to highlight the program shouldn’t be seen as an indicator that we shouldn’t pay attention each and every day.
As a member of the Fort Leonard Wood Protection Working Group, I think the approach this team takes is relevant to the success of our program here.
Force Protection is a much broader approach to recognizing and acknowledging the wide spectrum of threats to our community. This includes everything from the weather, criminal activity, disgruntled employees and potential terrorist targeting. As risks and vulnerabilities are identified, mitigation measures are developed and emplaced.
These plans are exercised routinely and monitored for effectiveness. Ultimately, they result in a very comprehensive plan that lays a solid foundation for a safe community and an acceptable level of risk.
Throughout this month there will be a series of articles highlighting key points for increased awareness of goals, objectives and measures.
A key element we want to highlight this month is the importance of community involvement. Beyond the team of dedicated professionals whose jobs and mission are specifically focused on these programs, we have designated individuals across the installation who bring diverse perspectives on these risks and issues — we also rely heavily on each of you. Your personal situational awareness not only improves the safety of you and your family, but can impact the entire community.
If something is out of place and doesn’t look right, report it, let the professionals take it from there.
Third parties usually witness activities or behaviors by homegrown violent extremists, or HVEs, that could trigger early intervention by community members or law enforcement, yet less than half of these witnesses report their observations, according a review of 57 case studies of HVEs identified between 2009 and 2012.
Encouraging increased reporting and intercession by third parties who observe behavior indicative of radicalization or mobilization to violence could improve the success of efforts to curb extremist acts in the U.S.
There are many variables currently impacting the potential risks we face, everything from politics to economics, and unfortunately, the bad guys are also vigilant and persistent. But together we can make a difference, and Fort Leonard Wood has demonstrated and documented many examples of how someone taking the extra step to report something may have averted an incident of greater magnitude.
What Activities Do I Report?
Here are examples of behaviors and activities to report:
— People drawing or measuring important buildings
— Strangers asking questions about security forces or security procedures
— A briefcase, suitcase, backpack or package left behind
— Cars or trucks left in “No Parking” zones in front of important buildings
— Intruders found in secure areas
— A person wearing clothes that are too big and bulky and/or too hot for the weather
— Chemical smells or fumes that worry you
— Questions about sensitive information, such as building blueprints, security plans or VIP travel schedules without a right or need to know
— Purchasing supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons or purchasing uniforms without having the proper credentials.
See something — do something
Report it immediately, even if it just doesn’t look right.
For the Fort Leonard Wood area, call 573.596.6141
Or, report it online at www.wood.army.mil/LEC/iWatch/iWatch.htm.
(Editor’s note: Porterfield is an Antiterrorism/Force Protection operations specialist at Fort Leonard Wood.)