USAG-HI focuses on antiterrorism efforts

| August 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

Donald Murry
Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii

August is Antiterrorism Awareness Month on post



WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — Two recent incidents emphasize the importance of staying alert and at the ready to report suspicious activities.

In one incident, many lives were lost and destroyed when a Norway-based extremist conducted a two-pronged attack, in and around Oslo, Norway; however, in the other incident, quick reporting of suspicious activity thwarted potential danger.

Police in Killeen, Texas, and the FBI arrested a Soldier who was absent without leave and in possession of a large quantity of ammunition, weapons and bomb-making materials, July 27. When questioned, the Soldier admitted to planning an attack off the installation of Fort Hood, Texas.

A gun store clerk had reported that the Soldier was displaying suspicious activity. The clerk’s alertness most likely prevented looming threats.

These real-life examples are why senior leaders have approved the Army’s adoption of the iWATCH Antiterrorism Awareness Program, a nationwide, modern version of the Neighborhood Watch Program.

iWATCH was originally developed by the Los Angeles Police Department to encourage and enable members of the community to identify and report suspicious behavior that may be associated with terrorist activities.

Antiterrorism — defined as the defensive measure used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals, information and facilities to terrorist acts — is especially emphasized during the month of August, Antiterrorism Awareness Month, which promotes antiterrorism awareness and leverage. Every member of the installation should act as a sensor to help identify and prevent potential terrorist acts.

Two elements embody the iWATCH program: active and passive involvement.

The passive element of iWATCH is individual situational awareness of surroundings. Individuals must be alert at all times for suspicious activity.

The active element of iWATCH requires individuals to take action and report suspicious behavior or activities to law enforcement for further investigation.

Reporting suspicious activity is the essential component of iWATCH. The program seeks to ensure everyone knows how to report suspicious activity.

If you see something, say so. Report any suspicious activity to the garrison law enforcement desk, immediately.

Everyone can make a difference by recognizing what to report and reporting it to security or law enforcement personnel.

Law enforcement personnel cannot be everywhere, and they need the eyes and ears of the entire installation community to help in quelling terrorism.

Remember, if you see something, say something.

What’s suspicious?

•People drawing or measuring important buildings.

•Strangers asking questions about security procedures.

•Briefcases, suitcases, backpacks or packages left unattended.

•Vehicles left in no-parking zones in front of important buildings.

•Unfamiliar people in secure areas.

•Persons wearing clothes that are noticeably too big or too hot for the weather.

•Chemical smells or fumes that seem out of the ordinary for the specific location.

•People asking questions about sensitive information, such as building blueprints, security plans or important travel schedules.

•People purchasing supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons, or purchasing uniforms without having the proper credentials.

To report suspicious activity

•Call 655-7117 for Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Army Airfield and Helemano Military Reservation.

•Call 438-7114 for Fort Shafter, Tripler Army Medical Center and Aliamanu Military Reservation.

•Call 438-2650 for Fort DeRussy.

•Call 969-2429 for the Pohakula Training Area on the Big Island.

•Call 911 if off post.

Antiterrorism Tips

•Maintain situational awareness of your surroundings at all times. Report suspicious activity or behavior to local authorities.

•Protect your personal information at all times. Do not reveal details of your personal life, such as where you live and work, association with the military, email address or phone numbers to anyone you don’t know and trust.

•Do not discuss personal information or military missions in public, on the telephone or on the Internet.

•Take extra precaution using social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Avoid posting or providing personal information.

•Make sure your home’s doors and windows are always locked.

•Participate in a Neighborhood Watch program to establish a shared responsibility for the safety and security of your local community.

•Be prepared for an emergency that may require your family to “shelter-in-place” or relocate on short notice. Make a family emergency plan and ensure all family members understand what to do in each of these scenarios.

•Know the emergency evacuation procedures for the place where you work.

•Know the bomb threat procedures and how to report threats to local law enforcement or security  authorities.

•Understand what to do in an “active shooter” threat scenario.

•Know the locations of safe havens and carry emergency telephone numbers.

•Never travel alone;

always travel in groups of two or more. Think ahead and choose safe travel modes and routes.

(Editor’s Note: Information was compiled from iWatch and Army news releases.) 


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Category: News, Safety

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