By By Reginald Rogers/ParaglideAugust 13, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - The events that happened on Sept. 11, 2001 have caused United States citizens to become more vigilant in their efforts to combat terrorism. Now, nine years later, the Army and Fort Bragg continue to keep anti-terrorism awareness at the forefront.
This month, the post is observing anti-terrorism awareness month and post official are urging the Fort Bragg community to become more vigilant in fighting terrorism.
Combating terrorism is a combined effort, said Don Mollett, Fort Bragg's Installation antiterrorism officer. No one system can protect everyone, but when the community works together, it greatly diminishes the possibility of a terrorist attack, he said.
As part of the Anti-Terrorism Awareness campaign, Fort Bragg officials implemented the iWATCH Army program on Aug. 1. The iWatch, program is a modern version of Neighborhood Watch, which was developed by the Los Angeles Police Department to encourage and enable its citizens to identify and report suspicious behavior in their communities.
According to an Army iWatch report, the program's purpose is to promote antiterrorism awareness and leverage every community member to act as a sensor to help identify and prevent potential terrorist acts.
"When people become active in protecting their communities, it gives a sense of empowerment and accomplishment to the individuals," Mollett explained. "No one wants to feel helpless about security and no one wants to be the person who could have made a difference, but didn't. We are living in a world that has many dangers and terrorist who want to do us harm. Together, we can and will overcome those threats and show the world that you can be safe in your communities and places of work."
Master Sgt. Roderic Drake, the XVIII Airborne Corps protection noncommissioned officer in charge, said it's important for community members to call in any suspicious activity.
"Fort Bragg has the 90-REACT (907-3227) system for reporting suspicious activity. These reports go directly to all the law enforcement elements for action," he explained. "Of course, you can always call
9-1-1 and any Soldier should always follow up by keeping their chain-of-command informed."
Soldiers often receive anti-terrorism training with their units, but according to Drake, the XVIII Airborne Corps Protection noncommissioned officer in charge, the post is hoping to educate its Family members as well.
"Army Regulation 525-13, dated Sept. 11, 2008, defines the Army's Antiterrorism Policy. Part of that policy is that commanders at all levels will ensure antiterrorism awareness and readiness of all personnel, to include Family members, assigned or attached," Drake explained. "This emphasis takes the form of encouraging Family members to voluntarily complete Antiterrorism, Level 1 awareness training, and requiring it before Family members travel outside the continental United States on official orders."
Mollett said the command also plans to achieve its goal of educating Family members through other means.
"We're looking to make them more aware by using all the tools at our disposal, such as Bragg TV, local newspapers, posters, signs and word of mouth," Mollett added. "Every Soldier, civilian and worker on Fort Bragg should spread the word and pass along information to friends, Family and co-workers."
Both men agreed that the fight against terrorism starts with the individual.
"First, always vary your habits and do not set patterns," Mollett said. "Secondly always be aware of your surroundings. If something looks strange, report it. It is better to report something and it turn out to be nothing, than to assume it is nothing and it turned out to be a terrorist attack. Lastly, apply common sense and risk management process to every thing you do."
They also agreed that by taking the necessary steps to ensure that they are not inviting or leaving the door open for terroristic acts, individual citizens can minimize the threat.
"We're all in this together. It takes the awareness and cooperation of the community to detect, deter and expose any potential terrorist activity," Drake added.