By Col. Deborah B. GraysJanuary 30, 2009
FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- Security officials estimate there will be some kind of terrorist attack during the first year of office of our newly elected commander in chief. It's everyone's job to make sure that doesn't happen at Fort McPherson or Fort Gillem, Ga.
February is designated as Antiterrorism Awareness Month at our installations, and the Sentinel staff will present articles that explain preventive antiterrorism measures you can take, basic steps to take if a crisis hits and how antiterrorism intelligence information is received and processed with recommendations, then formulated for my potential action.
You need to pay attention to these articles and refresh yourself on the antiterrorism training you received. At the end of February our command exercise will test the knowledge and reactions of our leaders, evaluating how prepared we are and how we can improve.
Perhaps you are familiar with the law enforcement term BOLO - "be on the lookout." I want you to put the BOLO mindset into action and stay vigilant for things that "just aren't quite right." Is there suddenly an unidentified or odd-looking package in your office area, hallway, dormitory room or bathroom' Is someone taking photographs on post that you don't think is authorized to do so' Is someone parked in his or her car at the MARTA station, just watching the front gate' If you can answer "yes" to any of these questions or you come across someone or something that just doesn't seem right, you need to take immediate action and alert the appropriate personnel. From your office phone, dial 911. From your mobile phone, call the Fort McPherson police station at 464-2281 or 464-2282. Dial 404-469-5981 or 469-5982 for Fort Gillem's police station.
Your "suspicious" package could turn out to be a box of envelopes from the local office supply store left in the hallway by the FedEx or UPS delivery person because the office door was locked and no one was available to sign for it. That's okay. We would much rather check these things out and find there is nothing to them than to assume everything is fine and then have an incident at one of our installations.
Earlier, I said security is your job, but it's more than a "job." It's our individual duty to be as prepared as possible and to repel threats whenever possible. When, despite our best efforts, a threat lands at our doorstep, we should rapidly and appropriately respond to and neutralize that threat. The time to learn and prepare for it is not when the threat happens, but well before it happens. Our actions during a time of crisis need to be mechanical and well rehearsed. That's why focusing on antiterrorism is so important and conducting exercises critical.