Terrorism is an enduring, persistent, worldwide threat to Army forces. Extremist ideologies and separatist movements continue to have an anti-western and anti-U.S. orientation, which threatens the nation. However, everyone must remain vigilant to all threats, which includes insider threats as well as those outside of the gates of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
During Antiterrorism Awareness Month, the joint base’s priorities are to educate that threat awareness and reporting are the cornerstone of the antiterrorism program and are key to preventing acts of violence, said Vihn Cayton, the JBM-HH antiterrorism officer. Law enforcement and security protect the force, but they cannot do it alone.
One of the ways the Army is using to combat terrorism is through Army iWATCH. According to the program, iWATCH is a nationwide modern version of neighborhood watch designed to encourage and enable members of the community to help protect their communities by identifying and reporting suspicious behavior that is known to be associated with terrorist activities. The passive element of iWATCH is individual situational awareness of their surroundings. The active element of iWATCH involves individuals taking action to report suspicious behavior or activities to law enforcement for further investigation.
One of the goals of the program is ensuring individuals aren’t complacent. Complacency, if present, provides the enemy with a critical intangible of war — opportunity. The Army understands the security challenges and threat opportunity and is fully capable of managing complacency when and where necessary.
To combat that, individuals must use the antiterrorism mindset. Antiterrorism provides the defensive element of the Army combating terrorism program. Effective antiterrorism measures integrate a multitude of security programs, which ensure protection of people, information, infrastructure, installations, facilities and forces.
Examples of antiterrorism include:
· An installation access control point with security guards represents physical security, which is a key aspect of the Army’s antiterrorism plans and programs.
· A Family member who reports unauthorized photograph of military facilities represents awareness and reporting of suspicious activities.
· A Soldier who protects “for official use only” information represents operational security.
· A commander who leads the development of antiterrorism plans and directs random antiterrorism measures represents Army leadership, vigilance and strong defensive posture.
· Individual with heightened awareness contribute to a safer security environment. People, including Soldiers, Department of the Army civilians, contractors and Family members who maintain situational awareness and report suspicious activities dissuade terrorist activity by extending the reach of law enforcement and security forces. They provide extra eyes and ears for anything out of the ordinary. By doing this, the entire Army community supports sustained vigilance against terrorist threats.
As the Army restores balance and builds essential capacity for the future, four Army imperatives frame the work ahead: sustain, prepare, reset and transform. These imperatives cut across the entire force. As such, effective antiterrorism plans, information management, counter-measures, training, education, awareness and resources must integrate holistically to support the Army imperatives.
“In conjunction with the Army antiterrorism program, we educate our communities on the terrorist threat and how to report suspicious activity or behavior,” explained Cayton.
This article originally ran in the Pentagram on August 27, 2020.