WASHINGTON (Aug. 22, 2014) -- More than 80 military and civilian participants from around the United States attended a five-day Antiterrorism Officer Basic Course, held at Fort Belvoir, Va., Aug. 18 --22.

Hosted by the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington Provost Marshal/Protection Directorate, this basic course teaches what defines terrorism and antiterrorism, as well as teaching students how to implement random antiterrorism measures.

The course also focuses on preparing threat assessments, conducting risk assessments, terrorism case studies with lessons learned, and how to conduct unit AT program reviews.

"Antiterrorism Officers (ATO) play a critical role in the success of their organization's antiterrorism program," said Marvin Solomon, JFHQ-NCR/MDW Force Protection analyst and site lead. "They are responsible for building and maintaining the program, creating public awareness, and must constantly evaluate their programs strengths and weaknesses to increase its effectiveness."

August marks the Army's fifth annual Antiterrorism Awareness Month and the focus is to promote awareness and vigilance to protect the Army family against terrorists.

The basic course was designed as a forum for professional development, while encouraging the exchanging of ideas and stimulating discussion on a variety of antiterrorism subjects.

"The key to a secure installation or facility is an aggressive antiterrorism program that incorporates threat awareness, threat mitigation and reduces or eliminates procedures, practices or physical security deficiencies that make us vulnerable to attack," said Solomon.