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Holiday Season Vigilance

On 19 December 2016, Anis Amri crashed a 25-ton commercial truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack. This attack method, recently coined as vehicle ramming, and other low-tech attack methods (such as edged and blunt weapons attacks) are increasingly common. As Retired Soldiers, families, and friends begin to celebrate the 2017 holiday season, awareness of the various threats and ways to protect oneself are important to sustain vigilance.

The Department of the Army, Office of the Provost Marshal General, Antiterrorism Division, develops and disseminates a wide range of antiterrorism awareness information and products. One way to share this information with Retired Soldiers is through Army One Source (AOS) at http://www.myarmyonesource.com/default.aspx. To locate the antiterrorism information on AOS go to the heading labeled “Family Programs and Services,” scroll down to “Go To,” then “iWATCH Army—See Something, Say Something.”

Some of the measures you should be aware of include:

  • Maintain continuous situational awareness of your surroundings
  • Know where the nearest police stations and hospitals are located
  • Carry emergence phone numbers when traveling outside of your home area
  • Do not get into public transportation without confirming the authenticity of the vehicle and drive
  • Do not share your personal information with strangers or on social media
  • Do not post your travel plans on social media
  • Be cautious when posting pictures to social media (ensure you disable to the geo-locating function on your mobile device)
  • Trust your instincts, report suspicious activity or behavior to military police or local law enforcement for investigation
  • If traveling overseas, register your travel plan with the Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step/.This free services permits travelers to enter information about their upcoming trip abroad so the traveler can better receive updates on travel warnings, travel alerts, and other information for a specific country.
  • You can obtain up to date information on overseas security conditions from the State Department by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada; on a regular toll line the number is 1-202-501-4444; on their website at http://travel.state.gov/.
  • Persons traveling to Europe can also obtain additional information from the U.S. Army Europe travel portal (http://www.eur.army.mil/TravelSafe/).
  • U.S. Army Europe also maintains a “Stay Safe” Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/staysafeantiterrorism).

Constant vigilance and maintaining situational awareness helps protect our Army communities. The antiterrorism awareness information on AOS provides substantial resources for Retired Soldiers to stay informed, be prepared, and remain ever vigilant!

Always Ready, Always Alert … because someone is depending on you