In observance of the U.S. Army’s annual Anti-Terrorism Awareness Month, the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington (JTF-NCR/USAMDW) increased vigilance by hosting the Anti-Terrorism Officer Basic Course (Level II), coordinating the 2022 Joint All Hazards-Response Static Expo and providing a series of actionable security tips to service members and civilians.
The Anti-Terrorism Officer Basic Course (level II), taught by a U.S. Army Military Police School Mobile Training Team, was held twice at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, August 1-5 and 8-12. The course is designed to prepare Anti-Terrorism Officers (ATOs) with the skills and knowledge needed to serve as advisors to commanders and provide anti-terrorism awareness training to their organizations.
“This is where ATOs learn to do vulnerability assessments, they learn how to write AT plans, and they go through the regulations so that they’ll know how to set RAMS (Random Anti-Terrorism Measures) and what RAMS are,” said Dr. Anita Greenlee, Anti-Terrorism, Insider Threat, and OPSEC Program Manager, JTF-NCR/USAMDW.
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 80 participants in the course included military and civilian personnel from all branches of the armed forces.
“When you have someone in your company, battalion, brigade, who is school trained, to recognize and assist you in a program that will assist in deterring, is what is ideal for any organization. There is no one single point of failure or contact,” said Greenlee.
In addition to hosting the ATO Basic Course, JTF-NCR/USAMDW also coordinated the 2022 Joint All Hazards-Response Expo featuring print products, static displays, visual aids and physical demonstrations by Joint Interagency Emergency and Consequence Management Response Teams at the Fort Belvoir Main Exchange August 10.
“We bring all of the entities that we work together with, and we allow the community to see the organizations you can reach out to. The expo is to bring out awareness to the community and to provide those of us who work together a chance to see each other,” said Greenlee.
The theme for this year’s Expo was “Partners in Preparedness.” First responders, CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) Emergency Response Team, 55th Ordnance Company “EOD,” Secret Service, American Red Cross, Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS), Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and Pentagon Force Protection Agency were among many were in attendance 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.
“It’s really cool that [the community] can come out and see what we do. A lot of folks don’t know this asset is out there. We are an NCR asset,” said SFC Daniel Peter, NCOIC ERT CBRNE at Fort Belvoir Hospital.
Attendees learned about anti-terrorism awareness, emergency response plans and kits, fire and heat safety for children and pets, operations security, iWATCH Army, internet and social media safety, and reporting criteria and methods, and other topics.
Throughout the month of August, the JTF-NCR/USAMDW 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.
“Giving us an entire month allows us a chance to hit the thirteen pillars of protection. During AT month, we want the community to know it’s not just a tactical but an all-the-time protection ability that we have. And if you do it in one day, it’s not enough - so we can spread it out,” said Greenlee.
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 a lead into National Preparedness Month, held annually in September.