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Sustaining antiterrorism awareness – always ready, always alert

WASHINGTON — In 1951, when Douglas MacArthur quoted an early twentieth century ballad observing that “old soldiers never die; they just fade away,” he was closing his career after 52 years of service. Like MacArthur, Retired Soldiers remain an integral part of the Army community and we need their experience and vigilance to help counter today’s terrorist threat.

Today’s Army faces a persistent and constantly evolving terrorist threat which is committed to attacking our military communities and our nation. To counter this threat we must gain and sustain antiterrorism knowledge throughout the Army community. Building antiterrorism awareness is the hallmark of our protection efforts. We must ensure each member of the Army community, including Retired Soldiers, has the knowledge of the threat and understands personal protection measures to help prevent terrorist acts. We must also seek to make every member of the community an active participant in identifying and reporting suspicious activity or behavior that may help prevent a terrorist attack. By doing so we can instill heightened awareness and vigilance to prevent and protect our people, information, and facilities from terrorist activities.

Make no mistake, every member of the Army community plays an important role in preventing terrorist acts – Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier. By extending antiterrorism awareness to our Retired Soldiers we expand our ability to protect Army communities from terrorists. By understanding the indicators of potential terrorist activities, and reporting suspicious behavior to military police or local law enforcement, Retired Soldiers serve as “sensors” (eyes and ears) to enhance and extend the protection posture of our police and security forces.

Terrorists can attack anywhere, anytime – the threat is real. Over the recent months the continued threats on social media from the Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant (ISIL; also commonly referred to as ISIS) and their influence on domestic extremists demonstrates the lengths that terrorist groups take to threaten our nation and our military communities. ISIL has also expanded their tactics to include cyber-attacks and attempts to exploit private and sensitive information of our military personnel and their families. These risks pertain directly to Retired Soldiers, just as they do the entire Army community.

Because Retired Soldiers frequent Army installations and other related sites (such as veteran’s facilities and commemorative events), Retired Soldiers are included on the list of potential targets, either directly or by virtue of their proximity to broader terrorist targeting. As such, Retired Soldiers, their surviving spouses, and their children, can help counter the threat and perhaps prevent a terrorist attack through persistent vigilance and a watchful eye. Retired Soldiers, like the other Army community members, should know the indicators of suspicious activity or behavior that may be related to terrorist activities and how to report this to military police or local law enforcement.

The iWATCH Army program provides useful information on the indicators and what type of information should be reported. iWATCH Army brochures and other useful antiterrorism awareness information (such as the “Precautions for the Use of Social Networking Sites for Antiterrorism Awareness and Community Outreach”) can be found on the Army One Source website (myarmyonesource.com) under Family Programs and Services, go to iWATCH Army – “See Something Say Something.” The Army OneSource website serves as a critical link between the Army antiterrorism program manager and Army families. We’re confident Retired Soldiers will find useful information to sustain their own personal knowledge and awareness of the risk of terrorist threat and individual protective measures.

The vast number of Retired Soldiers and their wealth of knowledge and experience presents a tremendous opportunity to enhance and expand the Army’s antiterrorism efforts. Through your vigilance and support we can continue to remain Army Strong!