By Mr. William Garbe (ARNEWS)July 17, 2012
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 17, 2012) -- Speaking up about suspicious activity is always the first-line defense against terrorism, said a top Army antiterrorism official.
"Antiterrorism is about people saying something," said Maj. Gen. David Quantock, provost marshal general of the Army. Quantock discussed the Army's antiterrorism initiatives in advance of the upcoming Antiterrorism Awareness Month in August.
"I think in this time, in this day and age, where there are people out there that mean us harm, it requires all of us to be part of this antiterrorism effort and keep our vigilance and our focus up," Quantock said.
As part of Antiterrorism Awareness Month, Soldiers will be educated about and reminded to participate in the iWatch program. That program operates like a neighborhood watch program, Quantock said.
Soldiers, civilians and families are encouraged to recognize and report suspicious activity to law-enforcement agents. Reports filed in iWatch are then passed to the FBI's larger "eGuardian" system, which connects law-enforcement agencies and intelligence organizations at all levels of government, across the United States.
While technology is an important part of detecting and preventing terrorist activity, at the most basic level, antiterrorism efforts are actually cost-free; they involve Soldiers, their families, and Army civilians to simply keep their eyes open and to remain alert to that which stands out as unusual.
"Antiterrorism [efforts] can be people like you and I walking around our post, camp and stations," Quantock said. "That's probably the most important, most cost-effective way."
The general said unusual or suspicious activity could include vehicles parked illegally, unseasonable or ill-fitting clothing, and persons loitering around or taking pictures of a sensitive area, post or access control point.
"All of these kinds of things that look suspicious really need to be reported to law-enforcement officials, and they'll do something about it," Quantock said.
The general said consequences of not being vigilant could include a compromise of national security or military and civilian deaths or injuries.
Integrating antiterrorism measures into the contract support process is also an Army initiative. Quantock said military contracts over $150,000 must now undergo an antiterrorism review to ensure contracts do not violate operational security. He also said measures must be taken to make certain contractors have been properly vetted and trained before being brought into the Army community.
"We have many folks working around (and) on our installations, supporting our installations," Quantock said. "We've got to make sure that they're actually trying to help us and not trying to hurt us."
Quantock also said the lessons from the November 2009 shooting at Fort Hood have helped the Army identify insider threats.
"From looking at the Fort Hood study we have found many gaps and seams in our personnel, our behavioral, and our law-enforcement systems that really needed to be brought together," Quantock said.
The general said the military training and culture of getting involved and taking action goes hand in hand with antiterrorism.
Unlike civilians out in the community, who might fear involvement in, or cooperation with a police investigation, even if it means catching a wrongdoer in their own community, Soldiers, he said, take pride in doing what is right.
"All I would say is if you see something, say something," Quantock said. "Get involved. Don't be a bystander. Make a difference out there for your community, make a difference out there for your Army, and make a difference for your nation. By doing that, you may save someone's life someday."