FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — Headquarters, Department of the Army annually declares the month of August as Antiterrorism Awareness Month. One of the most important resources in reporting potential threats is the Army iWatch program.
This community program assists neighborhoods by providing tactics and procedures to stay safe from potential terrorist activities. The program focuses on behaviors and activities, not the individuals themselves.
“The iWatch program has been around for several years now, but the key I think is to constantly promote awareness of the program through training and other interactive mediums,” said Lee Wyatt, the 8th Theater Sustainment Command’s antiterrorism analyst. According to Wyatt, without a constant reminder on the specifics of “See Something, Say Something,” people tend to forget what to do.
As such, it is important to review the elements involved with the catch phrase. As a general rule, it is important for all Soldiers, civilians and family members to constantly be aware of their surroundings. Realizing that someone is taking pictures of normal government buildings from the outside might be suspicious if they are not a building occupant or related to garrison maintenance units.
In the same light, persons who remain in a vehicle for odd periods of time may be suspicious, or if they are seen asking probing questions about security postures. When suspicious activity is observed, the local police station should be called.
“If they are on an installation, they should call the Provost Marshal Office (PMO) or the military police desk to report. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend dialing 911 unless you witness an actual crime in progress, but it is important not to just walk by and let it go,” said Capt. Caleb Lin, the 8th TSC’s antiterrorism and force protection officer.
The Army iWatch program has been proven in the past to assist in the disruption of terrorist planning activities. Each report is used as a piece to the puzzle in generating the entire picture. Pattern analysis is used to disrupt nefarious operations by law enforcement.
When reporting, it is important to provide as much information as possible to law enforcement. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the pieces of information, report what you can. Lastly, do not put yourself in harm’s way to gather more information to report. Do not risk being seen by the person(s) who you are observing. Simply report what you can immediately and provide as much information as possible.
When in doubt call authorities. If you see, smell, or hear something that concerns you and it just doesn’t feel right, report it.