iWATCH aims to 'enlist' Army community as anti-terrorism sensor
July 28, 2010
FORT MONROE, Va. (TRADOC News Service, July 28, 2010) - iWATCH, an antiterrorism awareness program, will be implemented throughout the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command beginning Aug. 1 to support the Army-wide awareness campaign.
August is Antiterrorism Awareness Month for the Army. TRADOC Soldiers, family members and civilian employees may look for iWATCH brochures and posters circulated throughout TRADOC supporting the Army's campaign to ship and distribute antiterrorism awareness products to TRADOC centers of excellence and U.S. Army Accessions Command - down to recruiting stations and ROTC programs at universities across the nation.
IWATCH is touted as a nation-wide, up-to-date version of Neighborhood Watch, approved for adoption Army-wide by the service's senior leadership. One purpose of the program is to promote antiterrorism awareness across all commands. Another purpose is to "leverage every member of the Army community as a sensor to help identify and prevent potential terrorist acts," according to All Army Activities (ALARACT) message 110-2010 outlining the iWATCH program.
Essentially, iWATCH empowers Soldiers, family members, civilian employees and retirees with protecting places where they live, work or play.
"IWATCH is an antiterrorism awareness program that Soldiers, family members and the civilian workforce throughout our communities, both on and off installations, should all be familiar with to promote and enhance reporting suspicious activity or behavior," said Jim Kirkland, TRADOC's antiterrorism officer. "If it doesn't look right, then it probably isn't. If you see something, say something."
The program has two elements: "passive" and "active." The passive element is an individual's situational awareness of his or her surroundings. The active element of iWATCH involves individuals taking action to report suspicious behavior or activities to law enforcement for more investigation.
IWATCH was first developed by the Los Angeles Police Department to encourage and enable members of the community to help protect their community by identifying and reporting suspicious behavior known to be associated with terrorist activities. According to the San Jose Mercury News June 3 edition, when iWATCH was first revealed in October 2009, then-LAPD Police Chief William Bratton said it was "intended to be the next evolution of keeping America safe from terrorism by enlisting the 300 million Americans who care about this country, who care about our way of life, to work with their local police."
Although it's been nearly nine years since terrorists shocked the United States by attacking the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the threat of terrorism is far from diminished, according to ALARACT 220-2010 announcing August as Antiterrorism Awareness Month. "In an era of persistent engagement and the near-constant threat of terrorism, we must sustain a strong defense posture," stated the message. "Extremist ideologies and separatist movements will continue to threaten our Army and our nation. Army installations, facilities and operational forces must be capable of deterring and defending against the full range of threats, including terrorist attack."
The home-grown threat continues to increase in frequency, so iWATCHers should look for suspicious behavior by individuals as well as groups. Domestic-terrorism incidents by American citizens hit a peak last year, with the trend continuing for 2010 - in the statistics available for 2009, seven attacks on government facilities occurred, compared to four attacks occurring January through March (the cutoff on the statistics available) of this year. According to an article published in the on-line version of Time magazine Dec. 23, 2009, Rand Corporation expert Brian Jenkins calculated that more terrorist threats were uncovered in the United States in 2009 than in any year since 2001 - he said there had been 32 terrorism-related events on American soil since 9/11 and that 12 of those occurred last year.
This hits close to home for the U.S. Army, as most domestic-terrorism attacks are directed against government facilities and personnel - seven attacks out of 12 "terrorism-related events" (which could include a foiled attack) during 2009 were on government facilities.
"Home-based terrorism is here," Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, said recently. "And like violent extremism abroad, it will be part of the threat picture we must now confront."
But, suggested Danny Coulson, a former FBI deputy assistant director, one reason so many terrorism-related cases popped up in 2009 was the improved ability of U.S. authorities to detect plots, aided by Americans who have grown more alert to the danger. As Coulson said in the Time article, "More and more people will call in the police or FBI when they see something suspicious going on."
"Intelligence is the key to preventing terrorist attacks," said FBI Director Robert Mueller III in a 2006 speech. "We transform bits and pieces of information into actionable intelligence and then disseminate that intelligence to the people who need it - all within an exceptionally tight timeframe."
Citizen tips to local law enforcement are what the fight against domestic terrorism is built on. Local police are one of the best tools Uncle Sam has to thwart home-grown terrorists - Mueller called them "the feet on the street" and "the first to see new trends in crime and terrorism." Good community policing - establishing relationships and keeping abreast of trends in a neighborhood like the Neighborhood Watch program does - underpins efforts to detect a home-grown terrorist plot. And good community policing can't happen without citizen involvement.
"Our greatest weapon against terrorism is unity," Mueller said. "That unity is built on information-sharing and coordination among our partners in the law enforcement and intelligence communities. It's built on partnerships with the private sector and effective outreach to the public as our eyes and ears. It's built on the idea that, together, we are smarter and stronger than we are standing alone."
Headquarters TRADOC and its subordinate elements must implement command-specific iWATCH programs by Aug. 1. One of those programs will be reporting procedures at the local level in partnership with Installation Management Command, since reporting is to be done to either the installation's Directorate of Emergency Services or Provost Marshal. Or, call 1-800-CALL-SPY.
Another prong of iWATCH is antiterrorism training and awareness for Soldiers, family members and the civilian workforce. Commanders are encouraged to use products available on the Army Antiterrorism Enterprise Portal residing on Army Knowledge On-line (https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/605757). Products include posters, brochures and public-service announcements (videos) for both iWATCH and general antiterrorism awareness.
Other training and awareness requirements include, per Fragmentary Order 5 to the TRADOC Force Protection Operations Order of Feb. 10, 2009:
Aca,!Ac Annual AT Level I training this fiscal year for everyone done via Web-based training found at <a href="https://atlevel1.dtic.mil/at/" target="_blank">https://atlevel1.dtic.mil/at/</a>. Initial-entry-training Soldiers and all new civilian hires must receive face-to-face AT Level I training conducted by an AT Level II-trained AT officer. Units must maintain a record of this training and provide the percentage of completion to the next higher level of command no later than Sept. 30.
Aca,!Ac Local procedures for the workforce to react to an active-shooter situation and familiarization with responses (actions to evacuate, lock down or attack the shooter). (See iWATCH and Army Antiterrorism Awareness Web special, <a href="http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/index.html</a>, for Department of Homeland Security brochure on dealing with an active shooter, or download from the Army Antiterrorism Enterprise Portal, <a href="https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/605757" target="_blank">https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/605757</a>.)
Aca,!Ac Community members to know where and what to report in terms of suspicious activity on-post as well as off installations.
Aca,!Ac TRADOC tenants on Army installations to understand local reporting procedures.
Related stories on the Web special:
Aca,!Ac Behaviors and activities to look for and report, <a href="http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/index.html</a>
Aca,!Ac Profiling/stereotyping, <a href="http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/profile.html" target="_blank">http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/profile.html</a>
Aca,!Ac Role of Internet in terrorism, <a href="http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/extremists_on_Internet.html" target="_blank">http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/extremists_on_Internet.html</a>
Aca,!Ac Posters, brochures, videos, <a href="http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/iWATCHsupport.html" target="_blank">http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/iWATCH_2010/iWATCHsupport.html</a>