August is Antiterrorism Awareness Month
The Army Antiterrorism Program protects personnel, information, property and facilities in all locations and situations against terrorist and violent extremist threats. (Photo Credit: courtesy asset ) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. -- Effective antiterrorism and community vigilance are crucial to countering terrorist and extremist threats, especially in the National Capital Region. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall antiterrorism officer James Hickman networks with other antiterrorism officers in the NCR to analyze threats and assess risks to people, systems and facilities.

During the second week of August, the Directorates of Operations and Emergency Services teamed up with a wide array of agencies across the NCR with static displays outside of the JBM-HH Main Exchange. Hickman said the engagement with the public reminded them there is a huge network of teammates in the area who work night and day to provide critical services and make (JBM-HH) a safe place to live and work.

“Together, we partner with outside agencies to foster a safe environment to live and work,” he said. “Our collaboration and teamwork have resulted in a safer environment.”

Residents, employees and service members on JBM-HH can do their part to help mitigate threats on the installation by doing proper reporting. Hickman said although the old adage “see something, say something” can get old, it is true.

“The worst thing we can do is assume the right people already know,” he said. “Call 911 if you witness an emergency. If you witness something strange that does not appear to be an emergency, you can report it to the military or civilian police at one of the gates.”

When reporting suspicious activity or behavior, it’s important to remember the acronym SALUTE, which stands for size, activity, location, unit, time and equipment. By remembering details about people, places, conversations and vehicles, patrons can help authorities mitigate the threat.

Additionally, Department of Defense employees can use annual Threat Awareness and Reporting training and Operational Security training to counter terrorism.

“Too often we view annual training requirements with a check-the-block mentality; however, we must remain vigilant as we continue to live in a world where terrorists are willing and able to travel great distances to conduct reconnaissance and train in order to harm and undermine our way of life,” Hickman said.

Although OPSEC level II training is primarily for program managers, Hickman said it is a solid course of instruction to assist leaders at multiple levels.

“OPSEC and antiterrorism go hand in hand,” he said. “A simple way to keep one another safe is to consider who needs to know. If it is close-hold information, don’t share it. If it is information printed in your office that appears important, it’s probably wise to destroy it either with a burn bag or shredder.”

OPSEC does not end when employees punch out at the end of the day, however; everyone can practice OPSEC on social media.

Hickman said there’s nothing wrong with showing pride in one’s work, but not everything needs to be shared on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

“Sometimes, the greatest way to share your pride is by reaching out to your Public Affairs Office to request support,” he said. “After content has gone through a short but thorough review by the PAO, we can share a link or file on our social media that probably tells our story better than we would have if we had done it alone – and no one gets hurt.”

While adversaries look for the latest tactics, techniques and procedures to exploit weaknesses and routines, Hickman said the biggest threat to the JBM-HH mission is showing up with an attitude of complacency or disrespect.

“It really comes down to respecting yourself and your teammates and remembering we are all part of one really big team,” he said. “When we work hard and encourage one another, that can actually reduce the number of insider threats and disarm frustrated citizens who might be considering acts of violence against government institutions.”