Awareness is key to Army's antiterrorism efforts

By Hayley SmithAugust 22, 2017

The threat of terrorism constantly plagues the U.S. Army, whose main concern is the safety of its Soldiers, civilian employees, and their families. To combat this, the Army implements a year-round comprehensive antiterrorism program highlighted each August, which is designated as Antiterrorism Awareness Month.

"Antiterrorism is a security program that greatly intersects with physical security and emergency management," Jessica Kirkendall, Crane Army Ammunition Activity security specialist, said. "While most conventional security programs deal with asset or mission protection, AT is more concerned with people protection."

Antiterrorism focus areas for August 2017 include violent extremism, suspicious activity reporting, and rules for operating and owning an unmanned aerial system (UAS). These systems are commonly, albeit incorrectly, referred to as drones.

Many people may not realize how these issues can affect them, especially in regards to violent extremists.

"Extremism is just what it sounds like- any type of viewpoint, ideology, or belief that is so incredibly left or right of what everyone else believes, it's called extremism," Kirkendall said. "Anyone, regardless of where they live, who adheres to such beliefs is an extremist. Violent extremists actually commit a violent act in the name of their ideology or encourage someone else to do so. High school and middle school-aged children are particularly targeted for recruitment by violent extremists."

In light of these potential threats, the Army depends on its Soldiers and civilian employees to help keep people safe. That includes encouraging individuals to report any suspicious activity seen on Army installations. To aid with this, the Army has implemented branch-wide programs known as iWatch and iSalute to help individuals report information. The iWatch mobile app allows people to directly contact local law enforcement or submit a tip to a base's law enforcement personnel. Those who wish to report questionable activities to Army Counterintelligence can do so through the iSalute online reporting form. If iWatch or iSalute is not available at a certain location, individuals are encouraged to contact base or local security.

One of the greatest challenges with reporting programs is the reservation people feel when deciding whether or not to report something, especially if it concerns a fellow Soldier or civilian employee. Individuals will often think that the suspicious activity may actually be benign, that someone else has already reported, or that terrorism threats only come from outside entities and choose not to make a report. This is not the correct course of action.

"When in doubt, report it," Kirkendall said. "Do not assume that somebody else has already reported it. Continue to call security or 911 until you actually get a hold of somebody and report.

It's better for them to receive three reports on something than none."

The final focus of this year's Antiterrorism Awareness Month is the use of UAS. These machines are becoming more and more common in everyday life, but it is important for people working for the Army, both those in uniform and non-servicemembers, to understand policy for the use of UAS on Army bases.

Commercial and recreational use of UAS is banned on all Army installations without the prior approval of the installation's senior commander. In addition to special approval for UAS use, all federal and FAA regulations must be followed, including possible pilot certification. Failure to do so may result in criminal prosecution. Beyond these requirements, many installations have local UAS policies, and those interested in operating UAS on Army bases should contact base security for more information.

Ultimately, security is everyone's responsibility.

Established Oct. 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is one of 14 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial bases under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants.