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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Compared with the past few years, summer holiday traveling has increased significantly in 2023. Not only has the continental United States seen an uptick in summer travel plans, but as other nations lower their COVID-19 visitation restrictions, more Americans are booking overseas trips.

Anyone thinking about taking a trip abroad, now or in the future, should remember the importance of antiterrorism awareness skills.

Antiterrorism awareness should begin even before a plane ticket is booked or a hotel room is reserved — with the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisories.

Travel advisories are color and number coded: Blue/One means exercise normal precautions; Yellow/Two means exercise increased caution; Orange/Three means reconsider travel; and Red/Four means do not travel.

Although a country may be listed under “do not travel,” it is not a complete exclusion from travel; the travel advisory list is used as an awareness tool. Through the list, people can make better-informed decisions about any future traveling plans.

Department of Defense employees and contractors wanting to travel abroad must also enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service for U.S. citizens to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Through STEP, individuals receive important information about any changing safety conditions while also providing an easier way for embassy staff to make contact in case of an emergency. More information on STEP and travel advisories is available on the U.S. State Department website.

Another requirement for DOD employees is reading the Foreign Clearance Guide, which explains the requirements DOD employees must meet before traveling abroad.

The Fort Leonard Wood Antiterrorism Office has additional information about traveling abroad to share as well. Employees here must complete FLW Form 3003 and schedule a country briefing about their destination. This briefing can be done by any AT Level 2 qualified antiterrorism officer, and provides information on areas to avoid, known criminal and terrorist organizations and local laws to be aware of.

Remember, antiterrorism awareness skills are important to have, whether an individual is at home or traveling abroad.