Planes, Trains, and Security Memos: The DoD's Guide to Globe-Trotting

By Alfred Tripolone and Story by Monica Brooks, USAG-Natick Security ManagerMarch 14, 2024

Welcome to the first edition of "Secure Talks," your go-to corner in our newsletter for a lighthearted take on the often-serious realm of Department of Defense (DoD) security protocols. As we edge closer to the anticipated spring break and the upcoming summer vacation, this month's focus zeros in on travel and the essential reporting requirements that accompany it. Remember, even James Bond had to fill out his paperwork (off-screen, of course).

"Leaving on a Jet Plane? Don't Know When You'll Be Back Again?"

Before you pack your sunglasses and embark on your adventure, remember, Uncle Sam wants to stay informed. Reporting your travel plans isn't just a courtesy; it's akin to sending an RSVP to an event hosted by national security. Think of it as letting your security team know you're ready to dive into the world of international intrigue.

The Checklist: More Important than Your Passport

Imagine you're Indiana Jones, setting off to find a lost artifact. Your travel checklist is your map. Without it, you're just a professor in a fedora. This list includes but isn't limited to: notifying your security officer, notifying your anti-terrorism officer (ATO), updating contact information, and attending any required pre-travel briefings. Remember, "It belongs in a museum!" only works if you've completed your paperwork.

"I'm Just a Traveler, Standing in Front of a Security Officer, Asking Them to Approve My Itinerary"

Much like Julia Roberts in "Notting Hill," your travel itinerary may need to be approved depending on where you’re planning to travel. Your Security Officer and ATO can help with this process. Present your itinerary with confidence and charm, no less than 14 days out, and don't forget the magic words: "This trip is essential for national security…. And much needed relaxation."

Travel Briefings: Not Your Average Bedtime Story

These briefings might not be as gripping as your favorite spy novel, but they're crucial. You'll learn about everything from local customs to potential threats. Think of it as a live-action version of "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" but with more acronyms and less catchy theme music.

When in Rome...Report as the DoD Does

While abroad, keep in touch. If your situation changes, or if you encounter anything suspicious (other than the mystery meat at dinner), report it. Your updates are the breadcrumbs Hansel and Gretel wish they had, leading back to safety.

"E.T. Phone Home" – The Importance of Check-Ins

Just like E.T., the DoD wants you to phone home. Regular check-ins ensure that if you need assistance, help knows where to find you. It's less about tracking your every move and more about ensuring you're not inadvertently recreating a scene from "Taken."

The Return: More Than Just Jet Lag

Upon your return, debriefings are the name of the game. Share your adventures, the good, the bad, and the unexpected. This isn't just storytelling time—it's a way to improve safety protocols for future missions. Think of it as giving a rose (or thorn) ceremony to your trip, "Bachelor"-style.

"There's No Place Like Home"

After navigating foreign lands and dodging security faux pas, returning home is sweet. Not just because of the familiar comforts, but because you've successfully navigated the DoD's travel labyrinth, all while keeping national security top of mind.

In the world of DoD travel, the adventure is in the journey and the meticulous reporting. So, the next time you're tasked with globetrotting, remember: it's not just about the destination, but also about keeping the paperwork as tidy as your travel itinerary. Safe travels, intrepid explorers! May your briefings be brief, and your debriefs be debrief.

"Just When You Thought You Were Out"

In the spirit of the labyrinthine journey ahead, and echoing the reassuring words from the movie Labyrinth, "Should you need us," for any security concerns or guidance, please do reach out. Whether you find yourself navigating the maze of security protocols or need a guiding light through the complexities of your mission, I’m here ready to assist!

USAG-Natick Security Manager Contact Information:

Monica Brooks
Garrison Security Manager
US. Natick Soldier System Center, 10 General Greene Ave, Natick, MA 01760
Office Phone: 508.206.4022
DSN: 312.206.4022

Remember, no matter the twists and turns on your path, your security team is just a call or an email away. "Should you need us," we’re here to ensure your journey is both safe and secure.

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