Army security officials are calling on the public's help in thwarting terrorist activity with a new iWatch Army app.
"We know that citizens play an important role in preventing terrorist acts," said Mike Malcolm of Army Materiel Command's protection division. "When things seem out of place or not quite right, people need to know reporting is not only OK, it's crucial."
The iWatch Army smartphone app, now available for download, makes reporting suspicious activity easy, Malcolm said. "Many terrorist plots are disrupted because somebody saw something and reported it," Malcolm said. "We're hoping our workforce will take advantage of this app that puts reporting tools at their fingertips."
The iWatch Army app gives citizens a way to report suspicious activity on or near the installations where they work. It's available for both Apple and Android devices.
The application does not replace 911, nor is it intended to be used for emergency situations.
Users can submit a text, voice, photo or video message to report potential threats or concerns. Tipsters may choose to remain anonymous or disclose their identity. The app also allows users to choose to receive messages, such as emergency notifications and Amber alerts.
Malcolm said the program augments the Department of Homeland Security's existing iWatch antiterrorism campaign that encourages people to "See Something, Say Something."
Security officials are interested in reports about activity or behavior that may indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime, Malcolm said. The focus is on behavior, rather than appearance, to identify suspicious activity related to terrorism.
"For instance, a person's race, ethnicity, and/or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious," Malcolm said.
Examples of suspicious behavior include the following:
• Probing questions: Someone seeking information beyond a normal level of curiosity about security, buildings, operations, shift changes, etc.
• Observation, surveillance: Someone paying unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or sketching.
• Attempting to incite or pre-operational planning related to terrorism: Sharing media glorifying violent extremist acts in attempting to mobilize others to violence. Acquisition of suspicious quantities of weapons and ammunition, or materials that could be used to produce explosives such as hydrogen peroxide, acetone, gasoline, propane or fertilizer.
While installation personnel and family members will be the primary users of the app, anyone can download it and report suspicious activity.
"We understand that criminal and terrorist activities aren't confined to jurisdictional boundaries," Malcolm said. "Reports from outside the installation will be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency."
To download the app, call (256) 217-4390 from your smartphone. The system will talk you through the process and/or send you a link to download the app. You may also search for the app using the term iWatch Army.
The following communities are using the iWatch Army app to augment anti-terrorism efforts:
Anniston Army Depot, Alabama
Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky
Detroit Arsenal, Michigan
Holston Army Ammunition Plant, Tennessee
Iowa Army Ammunition Plan, Iowa
Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, Ohio
Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, Missouri
Letterkenny Munitions Center, Pennsylvania
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, Oklahoma
Military Ocean Terminal Concord, California
Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point, North Carolina Pine Bluff Arsenal
Radford Army Ammunition Plant, Virginia
Red River Army Depot, Texas
Redstone Arsenal, Alabama
Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, Pennsylvania
Joint Systems Manufacturing Center
Watervliet Arsenal, New York