Force Protection is everyone's business

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The further we get from the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the more complacent people seem to become about the threat from global terrorism. Without security and law enforcement personnel at every turn, it takes a total team effort to protect the Whiteman AFB community. Each person, regardless of their military affiliation, plays a vital role in the protection of the base.

"'Force Protection is everyone's business' may sound cliché, but nothing could be more true," said Lt. Col. Christopher Neiman, 509th Security Forces Squadron commander. "Team Whiteman and the surrounding communities have traditionally used the Eagle Eyes program to great effect. With the insidious attacks in Boston fresh in mind, our best defense remains our combined awareness and follow-through; if you see something, say something!"

Unfortunately, terrorism has become a grim reality and the number of attempted attacks has increased over the past years, according to Robert Striegel, 509th Bomb Wing antiterrorism officer.

"Our intelligence and law enforcement communities are doing a tremendous job thwarting many potential terrorist plots; however, as terrorists change their tactics, techniques and procedures, we too must change our methods of protecting the community," Striegel said. "We may not always agree with some security precautions put in place but they are there to ensure the safety and security of you and your family."

In today's environment members must not allow themselves to become complacent. By being alert and notifying law enforcement professionals of any suspicious activities on or near the base, members can help prevent incidents from happening. The Department of Homeland Security began the campaign "See Something, Say Something."

The U.S. Air Force has a similar program called the "Eagle Eyes" program, which encourages all personnel to be aware and report suspicious behavior to the proper authorities.

Signs to look for and report:

Surveillance -- Someone recording or monitoring base activities.

Elicitation -- Any person or organization attempting to gain information about military operations or people. This includes through the use of social media networks.

Suspicious Persons Out of Place -- People who do not seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood or anywhere else.

Suspicious Mail -- Be alert for suspicious letters or packages that arrive at your office or home. Consider mail suspect if it has no return address; markings are poorly typed or written; it has excessive postage or tape; an unknown powder or substance is present on it; the package is rigid, bulky, lopsided or uneven; it is addressed to title only, instead of an individual; if there are any protruding wires; or if there are oily stains, discoloration or odors present.

If you receive a suspicious package, do not handle it. Isolate it, and do not open, smell or taste it. Activate your unit's emergency plan, notify your supervisor and contact OSI and SFS immediately.

Test of Security -- Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches or to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures.

Acquiring Supplies -- Purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, uniforms, badges or any other controlled items.

Dry Runs -- Putting people into position and moving them about without actually committing a terrorist act.

Deploying Assets -- People and supplies getting into position to commit the act.

And finally, always remember to practice good operational security. This applies to military members and their families. Posting sensitive information on social media sites may seem harmless however, complaining about work schedules or disrupting weekend plans on social media sites such as Facebook could paint an operational picture for our enemy. This could put people at risk if put in the wrong hands.

Nobody wakes up thinking they will be a victim of a terrorist attack. Through continual awareness by the Whiteman community we can ensure the safety and security of our families.

To report suspicious or criminal activity, call Eagle Eyes at 660-687-3700