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By Barbara Gersna
1st Theater Sustainment Command
August is designated Antiterrorism Awareness Month to encourage everyone working in the Department of Defense and their families to heighten their awareness of threats and encourage vigilance to stop terrorist attacks.
The 1st Theater Sustainment Command is participating by providing annual antiterrorism training to everyone in the unit throughout August every Monday and Wednesday.
The training provided to 1st TSC Soldiers and civilians covers information that can be used to deal with terrorist incidents or activities. It offers an overview of antiterrorism, insider threat, active shooter, reporting procedures, historical examples and best practices and tactics to use if confronted with an act of terrorism.
Trust your instincts. The old adage remains relevant today – if you see something, say something. Additionally, if it doesn’t look right, report it. If it doesn’t smell or sound right, also report it. These are the main messages from the training.
Include as much information as you can remember when making a report to your installation or local police. Some important notes to take and report, include: date and time, what happened, what you saw, description of those involved, car and type used, plate number, and how often you’ve seen it.
Report suspicious activities and behaviors such as people trying to access secure areas, drawing and taking pictures, and asking a lot of unusual questions without providing their access badges. It is also important to remain vigilant in large crowds and at installation access points. The training also highlights practices individuals can implement to protect themselves and their families.
“We should also be sensible about what we post on social media,” said Sgt. 1st Class Elias Solano, antiterrorism and force protection supervisor, 1st TSC. He encouraged participants at the training to wait until after their vacations to post photos or to share that they went out of town.
“According to the Al Qaeda handbook, terrorists search online for data about government personnel on all matters related to them,” Solano added.
Solano encouraged attendees to change some of their travel patterns too. “Take a different route to work once in a while,” he advised. “Arrive ten to fifteen minutes earlier if you can.”
Transitioning to insider threats, Solano discussed this topic in more detail. A disgruntled employee, someone who wasn’t selected for a promotion, or someone who is angry and demonstrating signs of aggression could all be threats.
“An insider threat can be described as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. An insider threat is the most likely scenario we could ever experience, since we work on an installation and in a secure building,” Solano explained for those who work and live here on the Fort Knox installation.
Finally, Solano addressed active shooter procedures. If ever faced with an active shooter, run, hide, and fight, he said. He encouraged those who serve at the front desk on staff duty to read the guidance for what they must do in an active shooter scenario, because in addition to protecting themselves, they must also protect the force.
Additionally, all staff should know where to meet for accountability after an “all clear” is announced. Procedures and meeting locations should be posted where Soldiers can reference them and leaders should ensure that all Soldiers are aware of the procedures and routinely discuss them during safety briefs.
Run. Hide. Fight. Stay alert and report suspicious activities. “It’s better to report something that doesn’t seem right,” Solano concluded.
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