By Brian GebhartJuly 29, 2011
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 26, 2011) -- August is the 2nd annual Anti-terrorism Awareness Month -- an Army sponsored program designed to enhance awareness to prevent and protect people and information from terrorism.
During AT Awareness Month, the Army is pushing information to installations, stand-alone facilities, and units, so that these communities are able to prepare, prevent and protect themselves from terrorist acts.
"The timing of the month in itself is certainly not by accident. We're recognizing that we are coming into the 10th anniversary since 9/11," said Col. Mark S. Inch, the Army's deputy provost marshal general. "Last year was the first year that we designated August as the Anti-terrorism Awareness Month, and we found it very beneficial for having done so."
Knowing that threats from terrorists -- those with extremist ideologies that attempt to influence others through acts of violence -- are prevalent in our world, is the first step, Inch said.
"It's been a persistent threat, it will be a persistent enduring threat and that's why we always have to remain vigilant," said Inch. "Clearly, the threat in today's society is not going to go away."
One focus of AT awareness is recognizing indicators and suspicious activities that could be potentially threats.
"Suspicious activity is not necessarily illegal activity," said Inch, as he described scenarios such as people loitering or taking photos. "Report it, and let us match it with other information that is available."
AT Awareness Month plays hand-in-hand with other Army programs, including iWatch Army -- a program that centers on identifying suspicious behavior and knowing who to report to.
The Army sends out informational posters, guides and brochures which spotlight several factors including principles, assessments, active shooters, and exercises.
"We print out 400,000 copies of these and send them out to every Army major command, every standalone facility, every installation, the Army National Guard, the reserve centers, and ROTC," said Alex Mascelli chief of the Army antiterrorism branch.
"It's clear that we're getting out into the different communities," said Inch. "Every year we host an anti-terrorism conference in order to share the best used practices, which also helps inform us on what material to produce at this level."
While the program has only run for a year, the feedback from the individual communities has been encouraging.
"Though it's difficult to measure the impact," said Inch, "it's very easy to see that it's positive."