TARP: A Team Sport
March 1, 2013
The U.S. Army and its servicemembers have been the targets of threats, internal and external, since its inception as the first Continental Army. Although the names have changed over the years, the threats have not.
Since World War I, the Army has trained its personnel to identify indicators of threats that may pose a potential danger to its force, operations, technology and information systems, and the responsibilities of each to report such information.
Through the past five decades, Army policies and regulations which mandate the training have been modernized several times to address new threats. However, that training was still largely focused on post-Cold War espionage and state-sponsored terrorism until November 2009.
Following the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, the Army transformed Army Regulation 381-12, formerly known as Subversion and Espionage Directed against the Army, to the Threat Awareness and Reporting Program, in order to address a broader range of modern threats, which still include espionage and international terrorism, but now includes a new and increased focus on insider extremist threats.
"Countering the emerging terrorist threats while remaining vigilant to espionage can only be achieved through increased education and a close sharing of counterintelligence information, not only across the Army but the greater intelligence community" said Brig. Gen. Robert Walter, Jr., deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. "The updated AR 381-12 addresses the threat and makes the reporting responsibilities very clear."
Consider this scenario:
After Advance Individual Training and the Basic Airborne Course, Pfc. Donald Jones received an assignment to an infantry unit at Fort Bragg, N.C.
During preparation for an upcoming deployment, Jones hoped to learn some valuable skills during daily training opportunities with his battle-tested squad leader, Sgt. Joel Blane. Jones' first opinion of Blane was that he was a little outspoken, however, he started to observe that Blane's outspoken behavior was more of a visceral hatred of politicians.
During training one day, Blane made the comment, "Our country would be better off if someone put a bullet in the head of these rogues," referring to the country's leadership. A few days later, a Soldier in the platoon asked Blane an income tax related question and Blane denounced taxation of active duty Soldiers and expressed sympathy for tax evaders.
Then one day after work, Blane invited Jones to see the ammo reloading equipment in his garage and, while there, Jones noticed there were several posters of prominent politicians and an unrecognized Army general, each with sniper scopes superimposed over their faces. When Jones asked Blane about the posters, Blane revealed that he was in a secretive militia that was "prepared to reclaim our country if necessary" and he called his home "the arsenal of democracy," all the while boasting about his collection of 50 weapons, including semi-automatic assault rifles.
"Blane's behaviors are covered in a several sections of AR 381-12," according to Howard J. Hagan, Army counterintelligence coordinating authority, Army G-2X/Office of the Army deputy chief of staff, intelligence. "There is clearly a requirement to report this incident according to the regulation, but this particular scenario is interesting because it truly demonstrates that TARP is a team effort.
"The TARP program is manned by counterintelligence personnel who receive all reports and route them according to the threat indicators," Hagan continued. "This particular example represents more of a potential domestic threat than a counterintelligence threat, so if Pfc. Jones called, the tip would be routed to law enforcement and tracked. If it occurred on post, CID would be the law enforcement contact, but since this scenario occurs off-post, local law enforcement would be notified. Furthermore, Sgt. Blane has not yet broken any laws, so law enforcement would likely refer the issue to the chain of command, where the situation would be monitored."
In the scenario all the moving parts of TARP come into play. Behind the scenes, TARP is a thoroughly managed and fully integrated program, the success of which lies with all Army employees.
"It's important that every Soldier, Army civilian and contractor know exactly what the threats are and what their reporting options are," said Tamyka McCord, counterintelligence covering agent, 902nd Military Intelligence Group, who provides TARP briefings to Fort Belvoir, Va., employees. "Some threats are imminent and the best response is to contact local law enforcement. However, for many, the preferred response is to contact your local security manager or counterintelligence office."
The Army has established a web page for ease of reporting. Individuals can visit the public iSALUTE page outside of the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) portal at www.inscom.army.mil/isalute/ - which can also be found on all Army.mil sites or on the AKO homepage under "Select Links." The new public iSALUTE page provides individuals a greater capability to provide details regarding the incident they are reporting. One of the major new features includes the ability to report what type of incident the individual wants to report in accordance with AR 381-12. Definitions for each type of reportable incident are also included on the website. A second significant new feature is a text box for the reporter to provide a brief unclassified description of the incident. Individuals can also call the TARP program's toll-free hotline at 1-800-CALL-SPY.
Each call or online report is directed to a processing center and then steered to the specific counterintelligence "covering agent" that handles the reporter's unit. Within 24 to 72 hours of receiving the report, the covering agent will make contact and arrange for an immediate face-to-face interview to discuss your observation.
There is also the Provost Marshall General's iWATCH tab on Army websites. This complementary program concentrates on antiterrorism activities and links Army communities with law enforcement through a modern neighborhood watch and reporting program. Law enforcement and counterintelligence programs are working together to help protect the Army, and like iSALUTE, iWATCH encourages the reporting of suspicious activities. The key point for all Army community members is that a simple observation that is reported can lead to actions that may stop an attack.
TARP training is an annual requirement for all Soldiers, Army civilians and contractors. Everyone is also encouraged to review AR 381-12, particularly the behavioral indicators in Tables 3-1, 3-2, and 3-3 that expand TARP beyond the old SAEDA approach and give an idea of the diversity of possible threats.
"We are one team, and we each have a responsibility to protect our force," McCord said. "We can't afford to have another Fort Hood-type incident happen and then retrospectively conclude how it could have been prevented. It is far better for you to report a potential problem and have it turn out to be nothing than later realize how you could have stopped an incident had you only done something."
Bottom line, when in doubt, report.