Commentary

May 16, 2013

Identifying seven signs of terrorism

Commentary by Miguel Mendez
355th Fighter Wing Anti-Terrorism Office

Every day we see signs of unsafe acts and bad driving habits by ordinary folks. Some common examples would be people walking or jogging late at night without reflective clothing in the same direction as the traffic flow or people talking on cell phones, eating fast food or reading maps while driving, but can you identify the seven signs of terrorism?

There are seven easily identifiable signs of terrorism: surveillance, elicitation, tests of security, acquiring supplies, suspicious persons out of place, dry runs and deploying assets.

Surveillance is when someone is recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of cameras, binoculars or other vision enhancing devices, map drawing and note taking.

Elicitation is when people or organizations attempt to gain information about military operations, capabilities or people. These attempts can be made in person, by mail or phone.

Tests of security are any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches or attempts to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures to assess strengths and weaknesses.

Acquiring supplies involves purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons and ammunitions. This includes acquiring military uniforms, decals, badges, flight manuals or controlled items.

Suspicious persons out of place can indicate people who don’t seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood or business. These areas include remote border crossings where the presence of people outside of the security agents would be suspicious, or ship yards where the possibility of stowaways exist.

Dry runs involve putting people into position and moving them around according to the plan, without actually committing the terrorist act. This is especially true when planning a kidnapping, but it can also pertain to bombings. This can also include mapping out routes, and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow.

Deploying assets is when people and supplies are moved into position to commit the act. This is your last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.

These individual actions may seem insignificant by themselves, but if put in the right hands, they may guide experts to discover the terrorist act before it occurs.

The Global War on Terrorism relies on everyone’s input, not just the intelligence and law enforcement communities.

Everyone has heard it, “Force protection is everyone’s business,” and “Every Airman is a sensor.”

It is imperative that all personnel are aware and participate in the Anti-terrorism and Force Protection Program that help safeguard the personnel and resources on D-M.

We often have personnel ask, “What types of suspicious activities should we be reporting?”

All members assigned to D-M, to included tenants and contractors, should report suspicious activity or questioning.

Some examples of suspicious questioning include, but are not limited to, inquiries concerning Department of Defense structures, functions, personnel, procedures at the facilities, training or infrastructure.

The safety and welfare of every individual and asset at D-M fully depend on a proactive Anti-terrorism and Force Protection program. Our strongest weapon against terrorism is reporting suspicious activity. This causes terrorist organizations to re-examine their target and choose another less-guarded target.

Everyone needs to remember “If.” “If you see something, say something!”

Your primary reporting agency is the Air Force’s Eagle Eyes Program at 228-8888. You can also contact the 355th Security Forces Law Enforcement Desk at 228-3200.




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