By Steve Roberts, Wisconsin National Guard Anti-terrorism coordinator
When the Army announced August as “Anti-terrorism Awareness Month” I wanted to help identify what I could do to help illustrate that the threat remains real and there are procedures we can do to help protect ourselves. The purpose of having an ‘awareness month’ is to increase antiterrorism awareness for all service members, civilians and family members and to prevent and protect the Army community and critical resources from acts of terrorism.
Terrorism remains an enduring, persistent, worldwide threat to our nation, National Guard units, and communities. The anti-terrorism program is the defensive element in the fight against terrorist tactics. Our provost marshal office recently published a threat assessment that identified likely criminal and terrorist threat actions, and what we can do to protect ourselves.
You may be thinking “So what can I do to help protect the nation from terrorists?” That’s a great question. There are many things you can do, and may already be doing, to keep us safe.
Specifically, you can report suspicious activity. You may have heard of the Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. This is a way you really can make a difference.
The Wisconsin Fusion Centers have instituted WiWATCH (http://www.wiwatch.org) to provide a portal to educate the public and provide a means to report suspicious activity.
One thing that makes the National Guard so great is that we have service members, families, and civilian employees in communities throughout the state. We all observe things throughout the day, whether at our civilian jobs, during military duty, on vacation, or just driving around town.
As always, if you see obvious criminal activity or an emergency you should call 911.
But if you see behavior that could potentially indicate the planning or rehearsing of terrorism or other criminal activity, you can report using the WiWatch link above or by calling 1.877.949.2824 (877.WiWATCH).
Examples of reportable behaviors and activities include purchases of unusual amounts of items that could be used for criminal activity, such as large quantities of disposable cell phones; or observing someone asking questions at a level beyond mere curiosity about a facility or a building’s purpose, operations, or security procedures.
I think if we can get the word out about ‘See Something, Say Something” it may become as ingrained into our culture as the “Loose Lips Sink Ships” operations security campaign did during World War II. If we can help explain more about the use of the WiWatch link, please give us a call.