KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – The Headquarters Department of the Army 2022 Antiterrorism Program Awards were presented at this year’s Army Antiterrorism Virtual Training Seminar on March 14, with U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz receiving the award for Best Large Installation (population over 10,000) Antiterrorism Program.
USAG Rheinland-Pfalz Protection Antiterrorism Officer, Michael Hawthorne was recognized as the winner of the Lieutenant Colonel Ronald C. Francis Best Antiterrorism Program Manager Award.
Of the 34 Army-wide Honor Roll Honorees awarded, USAG-RP has five honorees: Ms. Nicole Alberico, Public Affairs Specialist; Ms. Mary Del Rosario, Public Affairs Specialist; Mr. Daniel Lopez, Antiterrorism Officer; Mr. Michael Schack, Emergency Manager; and Mr. Robert Taylor, Emergency Manager.
The nomination criteria for competitive categories included a rigorous set of requirements and standards that had to be demonstrated over the course of FY22.
Nominees had to demonstrate their respective antiterrorism (AT) program’s ability to: Plan, Execute, Train, Sustain and Coordinate. This means that programs had to build and integrate AT into all plans, standard operating procedures, and operational plans. Further, the programs would have to demonstrate how they execute AT defenses to prevent and respond to AT-related threats while conducting collective and individual training and exercises, as well as being able to sustain AT protection through evaluation and coordinated actions.
Chief, Protection, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), USAG Rheinland-Pfalz, Tom Leugers, describes what makes USAG-RP’s Antiterrorism Program so unique.
“Size matters; Rheinland-Pfalz is 100 miles across and half as deep. There are 31 installations. There is no other garrison like Rheinland-Pfalz in the Army. And- we support three Combatant Commands: U.S. European Command, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Central Command,” said Leugers. “That support takes a tremendous amount of effort. The level of coordination and synchronization we do here is beyond what any other garrison does. And we did it through 3 real-world missions and COVID. The ingenuity and creativity of our team is incredible. The community awareness is outstanding.”
Over FY 22, USAG-RP’s Antiterrorism Program team re-invigorated the garrison’s standing AT program and implemented a stronger, more comprehensive program just in time for response to real-world missions and events.
In October 2021, USAG-RP’s Random Antiterrorism Measures (RAM) Program was thrust into the spotlight as Operation Allies Refuge (OAR) and Operation Allies Welcome (OAW) brought more than 12,000 Afghans to the installations during the largest humanitarian evacuation effort in U.S. history.
Here, the evacuees were provided housing, meals, and protection. USAG-RP, in coordination with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command and mission partners activated existing and constructed new, comprehensive life support facilities to ensure a safe and secure environment during their onward movement.
The RAM Program uses random, multiple security measures that change the look of an installation’s force protection program and introduces uncertainty to defeat surveillance attempts and make it difficult for a terrorist to accurately predict security actions.
As USAG-RP housed and transported these personnel, the garrison Antiterrorism Officers (ATOs) continuously assessed the areas and adjusted the RAM as needed - often creating new RAMs to match the situation.
In support of the United States response to the Ukraine invasion, personnel and equipment moved in and out of the USAG-RP areas of responsibility safely. Again, the creation of situational RAMs was pushed to the front to protect personnel and equipment moving east.
According to Michael Hawthorne, USAG-RP Antiterrorism Officer and recipient of the Lieutenant Colonel Ronald C. Francis Best Antiterrorism Program Manager Award for FY22, “Our garrison’s Antiterrorism approach is to exceed standards. Our work has garnered the attention of higher headquarters, Installation Management Command Europe (IMCOM-E), U.S. Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) and now Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA). Our program utilizes a forward-leaning approach by considering threats of the future as we assess the environment - with the goal of being proactive rather than reactive when it comes to protecting our community.”
AT supports the sustainment of relative combat power through the application of protection resources to prevent a terrorist attack. As a protection function, AT plays a role across all operations and contributes toward the preservation of combat power through the application of the AT principles (assess, detect, defend, warn and recover).
The key to preventing terrorist attacks is integrating and synchronizing AT operations, activities, and measures across the full spectrum of Army operations to provide ready, relevant and responsive AT support to the warfighter, and USAG Rheinland-Pfalz is doing just that.
Another essential element for an effective AT program is community support. For USAG-RP, the success of their AT program is in large part due to the support of the entire Kaiserslautern Military Community of Soldiers, Civilians, families, local national workforce and surrounding host nation communities.
“This program and this award involves everyone, starting with the USAG Rheinland-Pfalz Command Team, who wholeheartedly supports the AT program and provides tremendous support for everything we do,” said Hawthorne. “Our tenant units strengthen the overall AT program by participating in exercises and drills. And the DPTMS staff, to include the Protection Team, works tirelessly together as a team with the shared goal of protecting this community,” he noted.
Adding, “We have great support from the AT staff at IMCOM-E and USAREUR-AF, who provide guidance and support, while our partners at Ramstein Air Base provide cross-service support that is so critical to enforce a holistic approach to AT across the extended communities. Finally, our public affairs office team always helps by putting together and executing AT awareness and messaging campaigns.”
Mary Del Rosario, Public Affairs Specialist for USAG-RP and FY22 HQDA Antiterrorism Honor Roll Honoree said, “We understand the importance of the antiterrorism program and how critical community-wide awareness and support is - so we developed a messaging campaign focused on educating the community to where they confidently understand the ‘If you see something, say something’ mentality and they know where to go to report things that are out of the ordinary. Knowledge is power, after all.”
By integrating AT into all operational planning and activities, all leaders acknowledge and accept their responsibility to protect missions and people – by preventing successful terrorist attacks. And every organization, unit, and person that is part of the Army community understands their role and responsibilities supporting leader efforts to build and sustain AT protection programs.
“This award means a lot to our staff and garrison. It is not an easy accomplishment, and it really validates our efforts as an Antiterrorism Program and garrison-wide team. It’s awesome to be recognized for our hard work as we continue to improve and provide the best protection efforts for the largest military community overseas,” Hawthorne said.
USAG Rheinland-Pfalz serves, supports, and secures the total force community enabling power projection for the European Theater.