Antiterrorism Awareness Month begins
August 10, 2012
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- The Department of the Army has declared August Antiterrorism, or AT, Awareness Month to increase awareness and vigilance in protecting Army communities from acts of terrorism.
This designation is appropriate given that August falls one month before the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in September, according to Army officials.
This year marks the third annual observance.
In support of the national monthlong initiative to combat terrorism, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii directorates and chiefs will ensure their directorates and divisions conduct AT training and education, here and throughout the garrison, through Aug. 31.
"The purpose of AT Awareness Month is to create an awareness of antiterrorism throughout the entire department of the Army," said Donald Murry, antiterrorism officer, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, USAG-HI.
According to Murry, most training and education exercises for USAG-HI Soldiers and personnel were held last month during the annual AT exercise "Ikaika"; however, everyone is encouraged to actively participate in iWatch Army, a key component of the AT awareness campaign.
Billed as the 21st century Neighborhood Watch, iWatch is a community terror-watch program that utilizes Soldiers, their families and civilians as the garrison's "eyes and ears" to report any suspicious activity to base authorities.
Reports are then passed on to the FBI's eGuardian system, which connects law-enforcement agencies and intelligence organizations at all levels of government across the U.S.
The iWatch program is comprised of two elements: passive and active involvement.
The passive element involves individual situational awareness of surroundings and requests individuals be alert at all times for suspicious activity.
The active element requires individuals to take action and report these observations to law enforcement for further investigation.
"The key to applying iWatch methods is for every individual to get self-educated about the indicators of terrorist activity and about reporting suspicious activity," Murry said. "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," Murry added. "Remember, if you see something, say something."
Behaviors Army community members should be on the lookout for include:
•Strangers asking security-related questions;
•Unfamiliar people in secure areas;
•Anyone drawing or taking photos of important buildings, sensitive areas or access control points;
•People wearing bulky, ill-fitting or unseasonable clothing;
•Individuals purchasing supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons, or buying uniforms without having the proper credentials;
•Unattended briefcases, suitcases, backpacks or packages; and
•Unattended cars left in parking lots, no-parking zones or in front of important buildings.
"Antiterrorism is about people saying something," said Maj. Gen. David Quantock, provost marshal general of the Army and commander, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, in a recent Army news release.
"I think in this time, in this day and age, where there are people out there who mean us harm, it requires all of us to be part of this antiterrorism effort and keep our vigilance and our focus up," Quantock said.
"All I would say is if you see something, say something," Quantock added. "Get involved; don't be a bystander. Make a difference out there for your community, make a difference out there for your Army, and make a difference for your nation. By doing that, you may save someone's life some day."
To report a suspicious activity or behavior,
•Call police at Fort Shafter, 808-438-7114; or
•Call police at Schofield Barracks, 808-655-7114.