GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- August is Army Anti-terrorism Awareness Month and as a military community overseas, it's important for the public to maintain vigilance in thwarting terror attacks and traveling safely.

Earlier this month, the State Department issued a worldwide alert to U.S. citizens traveling abroad warning that al-Qaida and its affiliates are planning terrorist attacks that may materialize before the end of August.

While the main area of concentration is North Africa and the Middle East, it is important to remain alert in any travel scenario.

Recent events, such as the murder of a British Soldier in civilian clothes outside of his barracks in May and the stabbing of a French soldier in Paris three days later, demonstrate the importance of personal vigilance worldwide as officials cannot predict or defend against every asymmetric threat.

"Acts of terrorism are always preceded by planning and surveillance," said Jerry Hollo, anti-terrorism officer for the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. "These actions are detectable if you remain aware."

According to the Institute of Homeland Security Solutions, more than 40 percent of foiled terrorist plots between 1999 and 2009 were discovered via observations from the general public; each started with a simple tip of suspicious activity.

"Individual vigilance is the best defense to reduce risk," said Hollo, pointing to the anti-terrorism program.

This program is used to deter against terrorist attacks or surveillance attempts by employing security measures that alter the security signature of the installation, thereby disrupting the terrorist's attack-planning cycle. It is an integral element of the Grafenwoehr Protection Program and participation by all tenants is required by regulation.

Using a variety of additional security measures in the baseline security posture prevents overuse of security forces, as would happen if a higher force protection condition were maintained for an extended period.

Germany saw two failed terrorist plots in 2006 and assaults on 32 police officers in 2012. While the garrison continues to work with host nation authorities to mitigate this type of violence, assistance from the community is welcomed.

"I think everyone has a clear understanding of what normal looks like," said Hollo. "So if there is something out of the ordinary, something that is not normal, report it."

To report suspicious activities call:
Grafenwoehr Military Police:
DSN: 476-2490 / 3397
CIV: 09662-83-2490 / 3397

Hohenfels Military Police:
DSN: 466-2812 or 114
CIV: 09472-83-2812

Garmisch Military Police:
DSN: 440-3801 / 3827 or 114
CIV: 08821-750-3801 / 3827

German authorities:
110 for police
112 for fire / ambulance

Be sure to include the date, time, and location of activity; number of persons involved; number and types of vehicles involved; type of activity observed; and describe what you saw or heard.

For additional information on suspicious activity indicators, contact usarmy.grafenwoehr.imcom.list.usag-grafenwoehr-dptms-at@mail.mil for a pamphlet on what to look for, whom to contact, and how to report.

Additionally, the travel advisory is in effect for a minimum of 30 days and more information can be found at the link above.

Page last updated Wed August 14th, 2013 at 00:00