Events last month underscore realism of domestic terrorism threat
August 15, 2011
BAMBERG, Germany -- The Oslo bombing and Utoya island massacre in Norway are a stark reminder of acts of terrorism.
Political, state sponsored and domestic terrorism all take some sort of reconnaissance. People who report individuals preparing to commit an act of terror can save lives and put a wannabe mass murderer away for life.
A gun storeowner from Killeen, Texas, last month reported to police on an individual who appeared suspicious. That report lead to the arrest of Pfc. Jason Naser Abdo, a Soldier who was found to be in possession of explosives, according to Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin.
Abdo has been charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device in connection with a bomb plot, according to a press release from the FBI.
Had the owner not provided a tip to authorities about Abdo’s suspicious behavior, Baldwin said “we would probably be here today giving a different briefing had he not been stopped.”
This August is the Army’s Anti-Terrorism Awareness Month second year, said Daniel Lalonde, U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg anti-terrorism officer. The campaign’s focus is to increase the community’s awareness of venues for reporting suspicious activity with intent of try to prevent a terrorist act, like the shopkeeper in Killeen did.
This year’s Antiterrorism Awareness themes are:
*Recognizing and reporting suspicious activity and high-risk behavior
*Active shooter response procedures
*Application of Antiterrorism doctrinal procedures
*Integrating Antiterrorism into the operations process
The Army is rolling out a series of informational flyers, posters and programs to focus on terrorism awareness. A major goal of the month-long theme is to further implement the iWatch program, meant to educate community members in recognizing and reporting suspicious activity.
iWatch draws on the coordinated efforts of security organizations on a garrison.
According to Lalonde, understanding and exercising terrorism-awareness practices is crucial for U.S. Soldiers, Families and civilians overseas.
Lalonde said he feels that those living both on and off post should be aware of changes in their environment or neighborhood.
“The things they should be looking out for are cars that don‘t belong in the area, people taking photographs of the post…anything out of the ordinary that just doesn’t look right,” he said. “In my opinion the most important people to reach are the Soldiers, Families and kids.”
To ensure that people digest the iWatch material displayed both around post and on the internet, AT personnel will be working with the tenant units to provide training.
“Each tenant unit has an AT officer assigned to that unit,” Lalonde said.
The AT office will further promote vigilance and awareness during the month through online forums.
Information will be posted on Warner Barracks’ Facebook and homepage. Community members can also report suspicious activity through the iSALUTE link on the homepage. SALUTE is a common acronym used in the military for filing a reporting. The acronym stands for Size, Activity, Location, Unit, Time and Equipment.
“The iSALUTE program is a great venue for community members to report activity,” Lalonde said. “It basically provides the who, what, when, why and where.”
Suspicious activity can also be reported to the Military Police by call 0951-300-8700.