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AT office offers tips to combat threats

By Katherine Rosario | iWatch | May 17, 2011

Fort Riley's Antiterrorism Office will educate Soldiers, Family members and government workers about terrorist threats and Army procedures during its third quarter campaign, "Understand the Threat." The campaign will focus on heightened awareness to understand the terrorist threat, tactics, techniques and procedures, as well as Army resources and processes to enhance threat knowledge and information sharing, said Chris Hallenbeck, installation antiterrorism specialist, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

Antiterrorism is one of the four elements of combating terrorism and involves risk management, planning, training, education and awareness.

The other three elements are counterterrorism, intelligence support and consequence management. "Since 2009, the increase of U.S. and naturalized U.S. citizens, especially young people, are turning to or venturing back to extremist beliefs," Hallenbeck said, adding in 2010 more than 60 terrorist cases involved U.S. and U.S. naturalized citizens.

The reason for younger recruitment, he said, is partially because of the increased use of social media by terrorist groups. "The Internet has made it possible for terrorist groups to put their message out to anyone who wants to read it, and they can download their magazines because they are open source," he said, adding terrorist groups also use methods like online videos, blogs and social media sites to reach out to potential recruits. These newer, younger, extremists are harder to track because they do not link themselves to a specific organization. When they do, the terrorist groups often deny it, but are happy their name was marketed, Hallenbeck said.

The mission of the Antiterrorism Office is to provide analysis, risk management and defensive measures to the installation. They also provide Antiterrorism Awareness education to Soldiers, Families and workers. "We also conduct several types of emergency response exercises installation-wide to ensure all our directorates know what to do in the event of an attack," he said. "We look at all the 'what ifs' and try to anticipate any threats."

Some indicators of the radicalization process, which describes the stages a person goes through toward a terrorist action, include advocating violence and support for international terrorist organizations, providing financial support to a terrorist organization, connections with a known terrorist organization and expressed hatred and intolerance of American society, culture, government or principles of the U.S. Constitution. The four phases of radicalization are pre-radicalization, identification, indoctrination and action. During the pre-radicalization stage, one of four indicators can help identify a person as a possible threat. The first is a scorned believer or someone who is frustrated with the current religious faith they lead and seeks an alternative faith. The second is a protest converter or a person who changes their faith and views based on economic, ethnic, racial, legal, political, religious or social deprivation that may have negatively affected them. The third indicator is the acceptance seeker who has a fundamental human motivation and has a pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting and significant interpersonal relationships. They usually have weak social ties and are constantly looking for acceptance from individuals and groups. These people may be more likely to join a terrorist organization for a sense of belonging. The final indicator is faith reinterpretations. This is when people alter their religious tradition through introspection and evaluation. These people may interpret their religious traditions differently and choose to follow an extreme version of their faith. During the second stage of radicalization, the identification stage, a person accepts the cause and ideology of the extremist views and is alienated from his or her former life to bond with like-minded people, which in turn, strengthens their dedication to the group. These people may conduct surveillance activities, attend an extremist camp for training or isolate themselves from Family and friends. The third stage, indoctrination, indicates immersion into a group. Here the person becomes convinced action is required to support the cause, which can lead to the final phase, action, where a person regularly engages in extremist terrorist activity. These people normally attempt to lose their American identity and stop all "normal" activities as part of their daily routine. If someone sees another person acting suspicious or sees a suspicious package or vehicle, it is highly recommended he or she reports the activity immediately, Hallenbeck said. "We want people to think outside the box of what suspicious is," he said. "If something to them is weird, give us a call. These terrorists are thinking outside the box of what normally would be considered suspicious."

The iWATCH program allows anyone to report suspicious activities or behaviors via phone, email or in person. To report a suspicious behavior or activity: Call the Fort Riley Police at 785-239-6767 (MPMP) or the Antiterrorism Office 785-239-6303/6044, or send emails to rile-iwatch@conus.army.mil, To report in person, go to the Fort Riley Police Station, Building 221 on Main Post, or talk to a supervisor.

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