In observance of the U.S. Army's tenth annual Anti-terrorism Awareness Month, the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington (JFHQ-NCR/MDW) increased vigilance by hosting the Anti-terrorism Officer Basic Course, coordinating a Joint All-Hazard Response Anti-terrorism static display and providing a series of actionable security tips to service members and civilians.

The Anti-terrorism Officer Basic Course, taught by a U.S. Army Military Police School Mobile Training Team, was held at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Aug. 5-9. The course is designed to prepare Anti-terrorism Officers with the skills and knowledge needed to serve as advisors to commanders and provide anti-terrorism awareness training to their organizations.

"A credible and effective AT program is always focused on the protection of our people and those things or places that are critical to the success of our mission, whatever it may be," said Col. Shannon M. Lucas, JFHQ-NCR/USAMDW Provost Marshal. "This is not an easy task, and it requires vigilance and a commitment to carrying out the duties and responsibilities that come with being an ATO."

ATOs are responsible for building and maintaining an organization's anti-terrorism program, creating public awareness and constantly evaluating their programs strengths and weaknesses to increase effectiveness. The 60 participants in the course included military and civilian personnel from all branches of the armed forces.
"This course is in high demand, and we are fortunate to have this Mobile Training Team at Fort Belvoir, as it is not only convenient, but cost effective," said Marvin Solomon, Chief, JFHQ-NCR/MDW Anti-terrorism/Operations Security Branch. "This is one of the largest classes we've had in nine years. We hope it provided a forum for professional development, as well as for exchanging ideas and stimulating discussion on a wide range of anti-terrorism subjects."

In addition to hosting the ATO Basic Course, JFHQ-NCR/MDW also coordinated a Joint All-Hazard Response Anti-terrorism static display at the Fort Belvoir Main Exchange Aug. 7. Attendees learned about internet and social media safety, emergency plans and kits, fire safety, iWATCH ARMY, anti-terrorism awareness, heat safety for children and pets, and other topics. First responders, the Safety Bee, military working dogs and other personnel were on hand to answer questions and provide information on how to recognize and report suspicious activity to protect on and off-post communities within the national capital region.

"The key to a secure installation or facility is an aggressive anti-terrorism 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.

Throughout the month, the JFHQ-NCR/MDW team engaged the workforce with Anti-terrorism Awareness Month static displays and a digital information series to heighten awareness and protect U.S. Army critical resources from acts of terrorism.

In February 2010, the Department of the Army designated August as Anti-Terrorism Awareness Month as an appropriate reminder of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the lead into National Preparedness Month, held annually in September.