August is Antiterrorism Awareness Month

Commander's Message
Garrison Commander
Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem

As the garrison commander, one of my top priorities is antiterrorism - doing everything possible to prevent acts of terrorism from ever occurring on our installations.

Still, the threat of a terrorist incident or event happening is ever constant - it can happen anytime, anywhere Any act of terrorism is a life-changing event that not only has a lasting memory for the individuals who are victims or witnesses, but for our nation as a whole.

We all take it personally and feel violated when Americans are attacked, especially when the attack is on our homeland.

DA has designated August as Antiterrorism Awareness Month.

Antiterrorism Awareness Month was created to instill and sustain heightened awareness and vigilance to prevent and protect our community and critical resources from acts of terrorism.

During the month, leaders, Soldiers, Civilian employees and Family members should work to better understand key AT concepts, principles, roles, responsibilities and suspicious activity reporting procedures.

Additionally, this campaign should be a time to strengthen relationships with local civilian emergency response agencies, such as police, fire and medical emergency response agencies, to hone responses to acts of terrorism and other dangerous events.

AT training and educational events have been scheduled throughout the month for Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem employees.

The local training and awareness campaign is designed to enhance Soldiers, Civilian employees and Family members' current level of AT knowledge and awareness.

A few of the themes we will be using during the month will be: basic AT training, education and awareness for Soldiers, Civilian employees and Family members; directorate-level AT roles and responsibilities; enhancing AT preparedness through emergency response planning and active shooter emergency response procedures.

Take some time to review upcoming AT awareness messages that will be published in the Sentinel, on Army Awareness posters located on bulletin boards, on banners and through the new DA iWATCH program.

The focus on AT tends to waver for many people, depending on the news.

When they hear that a terrorist event has occurred at another installation, especially one that is geographically close, they remind themselves of the importance of vigilance to deter similar events from happening here.

When a period of time has passed without a similar story, their vigilance lags.

In July of last year, Gallup published the results of a USA Today Gallup poll showing Americans' collective worry about terrorism.

The poll showed the lowest recorded level of worry (34 percent) since August 2004. The response was down sharply from the all-time high of 59 percent recorded in October 2001, just after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The poll found 30 percent of responders said they are not too worried about being a victim of terrorism and 34 percent said they are not at all worried.

It is imperative that we all stay vigilant at all times. At any time, any of us may encounter an individual or activity that could be terrorism related - we must each take responsibility for being alert to those threats and responding appropriately. The military is not immune to terrorist attacks.

In fact, U.S. Soldiers and military bases are often a preferred target for both foreign and domestic terrorists.

Over the past few months, several incidents of potential attacks at American military bases were reported through national media. Fortunately, those threats were dealt with quickly, usually because of the observations and quick response by security personnel and other individuals.

By being alert as we go about our daily business, we become more able to recognize when individuals act "different."

The most important factor we can remember is to report suspicious or unusual activities to law enforcement personnel immediately.

Let the professionals respond, investigate and determine the seriousness of the situation.

Community awareness is the best line of defense when it comes to preventing terrorism.

We all have a responsibility to help ensure our military and civilian communities are safe places to work and live - AT is most successful when everyone is involved. Are you paying attention'

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16