FORT LEE, Va. – America is facing “significantly evolved threats” that have become increasingly complex and volatile, according to a National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin released in May.
The range of threats outlined in the NTAS document include domestic terrorists, individuals and groups engaged in grievance-based violence, and those inspired by hostile foreign influences. “Such threats are further exacerbated by the impacts from the ongoing global pandemic,” the bulletin announced.
Also increasing in prevalence is hostile individuals, extremists and domestic terrorists using social media and other online forums to stir up hatred or encourage violence. It was one of the methods used to instigate the insurrectionist act on the nation’s capital in January.
The Fort Lee Protection Branch – Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security – is highlighting the contents of the NTAS Bulletin because it lends credence to the importance of the Army’s Antiterrorism Awareness Month information campaign. Team Lee members should recognize how the threat level has evolved and understand that it requires serious attention and vigilance by everyone connected to the military community.
DPTMS officials also said, “It is evident these organizations are winning support from individuals within our own communities.” This increased likelihood of “insider threats” is clearly concerning because they already have the installation and facility access necessary to do great harm to personnel, equipment and/or infrastructure.
“While this adds another dimension to the types of threats military communities face, the response from a force protection standpoint remains the same,” the DPTMS experts emphasized. “Soldiers, government civilians and family members need to remain aware of their surroundings, immediately report any suspicious activity to law enforcement and take proactive individual steps to reduce or eliminate vulnerabilities.”
Team Lee members should be familiar with the Army’s guidelines for online conduct. Individuals can find articles such as the one published by Consumer Reports last year that offer tips on filtering hate speech out of social media and reporting it. The previously provided link to insider threat information includes a listing of malicious intent indicators.
Out in the community, individuals should “trust their instincts” when looking for potential signs of surveillance and/or targeting, the DPTMS experts further advised. Suspicious behaviors like a stranger loitering too long in one spot, asking excessive questions, showing too much interest in an individual’s job or a facility’s security procedures, or overtly watching/photographing a particular building or crowded venue are dead giveaways and should be immediately reported.
“Most of us know what right looks like in familiar community settings and our own neighborhoods,” DPTMS officials observed. “If an individual or object (such as a suspicious package) looks out of place, report it. Those of us in the antiterrorism awareness business can’t emphasize that enough … we all need to say something if we see something that just doesn’t look right whether on Fort Lee or at home.”
To report suspicious or illegal activities on post, call the military police desk at 804-734-7400. Off-post, contact the local law enforcement agency or dial 9-1-1 for emergencies.
As a closing thought, the DPTMS officials reiterated the opening point that threats to the nation and its military are both real and increasing in complexity. Because the Army represents the strength of the nation, it wouldn’t matter if an attack on its communities was successful or not, as it would demonstrate the terrorists’ ability to strike at the heart of American strength.
“The effective application of antiterrorism measures represents defense against terrorists,” DPTMS officials said. “The strength of our security is the backbone of our prevention and protection, and reflects the strength of the nation as a whole.”