Fort Riley, Kansas



COMMUNITY CORNER - Antiterrorism awareness: Secure yourself first

By Col. Andrew Cole | GARRISON COMMANDER | August 14, 2014

It’s easy to become complacent as we go through the mundane routine of our daily lives, both at work and at home. However, as you might already know, complacency kills. Complacency causes us to carelessly dispose of trash containing personal identifiable information, as well as leave our vehicles, computers and common access cards unsecured. Although we know we should shred all paper, lock all doors and keep identification cards within our possession at all times, we sometimes become too comfortable within our environments.

Each time we travel on a commercial aircraft, we are reminded if the cabin loses pressure, we must first put on our own oxygen masks before assisting others, including children and loved ones. If we do not secure ourselves first, our effectiveness in helping others becomes severely compromised.

Consider this analogy as you go about each day-to-day activity. Implementing protective measures against terrorism within your own lives will not only save you, but it will save the lives of your family members, service members and community members.

Defensive awareness and personal security are the responsibilities of everyone assigned to Fort Riley. We are a highly valuable, yet vulnerable, asset to our military community.

As we recognize August as Antiterrorism Awareness Month, we are not only focusing on the traditional organizations or ideas of terrorism, such as the Taliban or al Qaeda. Our definition of terrorists includes anyone with an agenda to disrupt our normal ways of life within the U.S.

If you haven’t already begun to do so, start now in incorporating protective measures, as well as proven security habits that can reduce the possibility of becoming a target of terrorism.

Some defensive measures include traveling in groups of two or more, carrying a cell phone, maintaining situational awareness, paying attention to your surroundings and taking precautions with social media networks. Secure yourself.

The Joint Chief of Staff Self Guide to Antiterrorism June 10, 2013, provides us with a security checklist for both stateside and abroad.


• Keep a low profile. Your dress, conduct, and mannerisms should not attract attention. Make an effort to blend into the local environment. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry. Stay away from civil disturbances and demonstrations.

• Be unpredictable. Vary daily routines, such as your route to and from work and the time you leave and return home. Do not exercise at the same time and place each day. Never exercise alone on deserted streets or country roads.

• Be alert for anything suspicious or out of place. Do not give personal information over the telephone. If you think you are being followed, go to a pre-selected secure area, such as a military post or police station. Immediately report the incident to the military police, security forces or law enforcement agencies. In overseas areas without such agencies, report suspicious incidents to the security officer or the military attaché at the U.S. Embassy. Instruct your family and associates not to provide strangers with information about you or your family.

• Report all suspicious persons loitering near your office or in unauthorized areas. Attempt to provide a complete description of the person or vehicle to police or security personnel.

• Advise associates or family members of your destination and anticipated time of arrival when leaving the office or home.

• Do not open doors to strangers, and report unsolicited contacts to authorities. Refuse to meet with strangers outside your work place.

• Pre-program cell phones and memorize or write down key phone numbers – office, home, police, security, et cetera.

• When overseas, always know the location of the nearest U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or military organization.

• Be cautious about giving out information regarding family travel plans or security measures and procedures.

• When overseas, learn and practice a few key phrases in the local language, such as “I need a police officer or doctor.”


You and your family members should always practice basic personal security precautions.

Familiarize your family with the local terrorist and criminal threat and regularly review protective measures and techniques. Ensure everyone in your family knows what to do in case of emergency.


• Restrict the possession of house keys. Change locks if keys are lost or stolen and when moving into a previously occupied residence.

• Lock all entrances at night, including the garage. Keep the house locked, even if you are at home.

• Destroy all envelopes or other items that show your name, rank, or other personal information. Remove names and rank from mailboxes.

• Maintain friendly relations with your neighbors.

• Do not draw attention to yourself; be considerate of neighbors.

• Keep yourself informed via media and internet regarding potential threats.

• Develop an emergency plan and an emergency kit, including a flashlight, battery operated radio, first-aid kit including latex gloves, and copies of important personal documents including key points of contact.


• Be alert to public works crews and other individuals requesting access to your residence; check their identities through a peephole or contact the parent company to verify employee status before allowing entry.

• Be cautious about peddlers and strangers, especially those offering free samples. Do not admit salespersons or poll takers into your home.

• Watch for unfamiliar vehicles cruising or parked frequently in the area, particularly if one or more occupants remain in the vehicle for extended periods.

• Write down license plate numbers, makes, models, and colors of suspicious vehicles. Note descriptions of occupants.

• Report any suspicious videotaping/photography or unusual accommodation requests.

• Report any unattended bags or objects.

• Treat any inquiries from strangers concerning the whereabouts or activities of family members with suspicion.

• Report all suspicious activity to military police, security forces or local law enforcement as appropriate.

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