KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - August is observed as Antiterrorism Awareness Month, a time to provide education and awareness to increase vigilance.

This year, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz antiterrorism officers are focused on educating the military community on safe travel practices and the importance of reporting suspicious behavior and activities.

"The first priority for all leaders in Europe is to prevent an attack and to protect our military members, their families and our civilian personnel," said James Miller, garrison antiterrorism officer.

Miller said personnel can reduce potential risk while traveling or visiting attractions by doing the following:
• Check with the Security Office and complete any required area-specific training
• Check the Department of Defense Foreign Clearance Guide before planning a trip at https://www.fcg.pentagon.mil
• Register all trips in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at https://step.state.gov

"Be aware of your surroundings at large public gatherings, concerts, sporting events, festivals and celebrations - these all present ideal opportunities for a possible attack," Miller added.

Garrison Antiterrorism Officer Sandra Hoffman emphasized the importance of reporting suspicious activities, such as the following:
• People drawing or measuring important buildings
• Strangers asking questions about security forces or security procedures
• A briefcase, suitcase, backpack or package left behind
• Cars or trucks left in no-parking zones
• Intruders found in secure areas
• A person wearing clothes that are too big and bulky or too hot for the weather
• Chemical smells or fumes that worry you
• Questions about sensitive information such as building blueprints, security plans or VIP travel schedules without a right or need to know
• Purchasing supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons or purchasing uniforms without having the proper credentials

"If you see something, say something. To make a report, you can contact the joint U.S. Forces Law Enforcement Desk or visit the garrison website (https://home.army.mil/rheinland-pfalz) and click the iSALUTE icon at the bottom of the page," Hoffman said. The LE desk may be reached at DSN 489-6060/7070 or Civ. 0631-536-6060/7070.

Although the official antiterrorism awareness observance is during August, USAG RP Commander Col. Jason Edwards said people should focus on protecting themselves and remaining vigilant year round.

"It is imperative Soldiers, Families and our Army Professionals remain vigilant at all times. We can reduce our risk by being aware of our surroundings. Understanding threats and how to avoid them while following the appropriate reporting procedures helps protect ourselves and our loved ones," Edwards concluded.