By Scott Prater | Mountaineer staff
Ever wonder why military police select some vehicles for inspection at the post’s entry gates, even when drivers hold proper identification and credentials? How about why some people get asked to open their bags at the commissary or exchange?
“Those are both random anti-terrorism measures (RAMS),” said Phill Edenfield, anti-terrorism officer, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. “It’s important for organizations to conduct these RAMS program measures because if there are people out there who are observing our entry control points, it makes it harder for them to recognize any type of pattern.”
August is the Army’s Antiterrorism Awareness Month, an annual observance that helps sustain vigilance across all Army communities, at home and abroad.
As the nation reels from the most recent active shooter incident in El Paso, Texas, Fort Carson’s anti-terrorism effort reminds Soldiers, Family members, civilians and contractors to remain vigilant about reporting the warning signs that so often appear in individuals prior to such occurrences.
“We can’t have another incident like the one that occurred at Fort Hood in 2009,” Edenfield said, referring to the shooting spree perpetrated by an Army officer who killed 13 and wounded more than 30 others. “It is our inherent responsibility to protect our service members, our community and our installations.”
So, what type of behaviors and activities should people watch for?
Edenfield referred to iWatch Army guidance, which states that anyone drawing or measuring important buildings; strangers asking questions about security forces or security procedures and unattended briefcases, suitcases or backpacks, would be a few scenarios that should raise alarms.
“Likewise, anyone in an office environment who makes anti-federal government statements or threatens violence against organizations or people would be considered to be behaving suspiciously,” Edenfield said. “The perpetrator in the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting, for example, had been making anti-federal government statements for some time prior to the incident.”
Though Edenfield said most Soldiers receive anti-terrorism briefings annually, many spouses and community members do not. Hence, the annual anti-terrorism month observance helps inform community members of ways they can assist in the antiterrorism effort.
“Individuals are our first line of defense,” Edenfield said. “A lot of times people fear reporting something because they don’t want to get involved, yet it’s that Family member or coworker who will notice a change in behavior or a sudden outbreak of extreme comments.”
In a recent Department of the Army memo, Ryan D. McCarthy, performing the duties of the secretary of the Army, stated terrorism is an enduring and pervasive worldwide threat to our nation and the Army.
“As the National Defense Strategy clearly states, ‘the homeland is no longer a sanctuary,’’’ McCarthy said. “As such, every member of the Army community plays a vital role in protecting people, facilities and critical assets from the terrorist threat.”
Soldiers, Family and community members should not only watch for the above-mentioned behavior, according to iWatch Army, but also for vehicles left in no-parking zones in front of important buildings, intruders found in secure areas and persons wearing clothes that are too big and bulky or inappropriate for hot weather. It’s also helpful for community members to report chemical odors or fumes and to take note of persons asking about building blueprints or security plans.
“Along those lines, it’s also important for people to know who and where they should report suspicious behavior or activity,” Edenfield said. “Emergencies should always be reported by calling 911, but nonemergency suspicious behavior can also be reported to military police here at 719-526-2333 or 719-526-5615.”
Community members can also report suspicious activity by calling the 308th Military Intelligence Battalion at 719-526-4808 during duty hours or 719-243-9443 after duty hours. Report by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The CONUS hotline at 800-CALL-SPY (800-225-5779) is available nationwide. Also, iSALUTE provides an email address for anonymous reporting of suspicious behavior at https://www.inscom.army.mil/isalute/.
“At Fort Carson, suspicious activity can be reported to the Criminal Investigation Command (CID) office at 719-526-3991, military police or the Installation Antiterrorism Officer at 719-524-2733,” Edenfield said. “Suspicious activity at on-post schools can be reported at Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8’s Safe2Tell number: 877-542-7233.”