By Devon L. SuitsArmy News Service
WASHINGTON — Terrorism continues to be a persistent threat, as violent extremist organizations and individuals with radicalized ideologies are still a known danger to Army installations and personnel, an antiterrorism expert said Aug. 10, 2021.
August is Antiterrorism Awareness Month and an opportunity for all Soldiers, civilians and Family members to increase their understanding about extremism, terrorism, insider threats and cybersecurity vulnerabilities, said James Crumley, the antiterrorism deputy division chief for the Office of the Provost Marshal General.
“Each member of the Army community should be actively involved in combatting against these threats through sustained vigilance and prevention,” Crumley said. “These efforts support the Army’s top priorities of people and readiness.”
The threat to national security is becoming increasingly more dynamic and complex, Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth wrote in a letter to the force to highlight the 12th annual monthlong observance and call to action.
The Army’s protection efforts and personnel must evolve to match the ever-changing threat, Wormuth added.
Army leaders must commit to eradicating extremist activity across the force and apply deterrence efforts, all while empowering personnel to speak up and report a potential risk, Crumley said.
“Lessons learned from past terrorist and extremist attacks revealed at least one bystander who had observed a pre-attack indicator failed to report. If you see something, say something,” Crumley added.
Crumley said timely reporting is critical to the investigation process and allows military and civilian law enforcement a chance to verify a potential threat.
“An actively involved community is key to preventing a terrorist or extremist attack or an insider threat,” the secretary wrote. “Please take time during Antiterrorism Awareness Month to review your protection plans and empower your communities. Every person is a sensor in our protective network.”
Cyber threats are constantly changing in both complexity and scale. Adversaries continue to develop and employ a range of methods to try and bypass cybersecurity systems to gain access to the Army’s networks, Crumley said.
To stem this growing risk, the Army has implemented an array of cybersecurity measures, coupled with proper and sufficient training, to thwart off attacks on the Army’s networks, he added.
“Whether we are in our workspace or teleworking, the Army community still has to protect our cyber-related information from the enemy. We cannot afford to have this critical information compromised,” Crumley said.
While online, personnel should be watchful and avoid links or attachments from unknown or unsolicited sources. Individuals should only use trusted websites and inspect all web addresses before selecting them on their internet browser, he said.
Adversaries also employ various tactics through social media and other websites to try to misinform or disinform the Army community, he added. Individuals are reminded to check the facts and sources of all materials and verify information with multiple legitimate sources when possible.
“You don’t want to take action on something and cause harm or damage to yourself or the Army because you acted on misinformation,” he added. “If it sounds outlandish, then you probably need to check if the information is valid.”
Insider threats pose a risk to the Army’s resources and personnel. Actions by an individual or a group could include espionage, terrorism, unauthorized disclosure of information and the loss or degradation of assets and capabilities, the letter read.
Early identification and intervention measures help protect the Army’s people, information and critical assets, Crumley said. Personnel who have any information about an insider threat should report it immediately to their chain of command or law enforcement officials.
Crumley acknowledged the complexity behind identifying and reporting an insider threat. In some cases, these individuals could be co-workers, leaders, peers or friends, he said.
“Allow the chain of command or other leadership to do what is necessary to verify (an insider threat). At the end of the day, you may be saving lives or protecting critical Army information and assets,” he said.
Terrorism, extremism or insider threat reporting can be completed through the Army’s iSALUTE, iWATCH or Criminal Investigation Command (CID) websites.
The Army’s iWATCH program includes antiterrorism awareness resources to help service members and their Families identify and report potential activity. The iSALUTE site allows personnel to report threat incidents, extremist behavioral indicators and other counterintelligence matters.
Individuals can also report a crime or submit a crime tip through the Army CID website or on a smartphone using the CID Crime Tips mobile application.