Every Airman is a sensor

  • Published
  • By Nick Zallas
  • Antiterrorism Office
In preparation for holiday-related activities such as traveling, attending celebrations and sharing time with family and friends, Hanscom's Antiterrorism Office encourages each member of the community to keep security in mind throughout the holiday season.

Remember, terrorism does not stop for the holidays.

There are terrorist groups and other extremists who say they intend to conduct attacks to capitalize on the cultural significance of this time of year. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS and ISIL, as well as Daesh, is a threat that is real and should rejuvenate vigilance.

For those traveling outside the United States this holiday season, ensure to check for travel restrictions at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html, and follow any applicable Defense Department requirements for travel abroad.

Every Airman is a sensor

The Eagle Eyes program is an Air Force anti-terrorism initiative that enlists the eyes and ears of all Air Force members in the war on terror. Eagle Eyes teaches all Airmen about typical activities terrorists engage in to plan their attacks. Armed with this information, anyone can recognize elements of potential terror-planning when they see it.

The Eagle Eyes program provides a network of local, 24-hour phone numbers to call whenever a suspicious activity is observed. The Hanscom community is encouraged to learn the categories of suspicious behavior and stay attuned to their surroundings.

Those who observe something suspicious are encouraged to call 781-225-3937 immediately.

Suspicious behavior

Surveillance: Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include using cameras, either still or video, taking notes, drawing diagrams, annotating on maps or using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices.

Elicitation: People or organizations attempting to gain information about military operations, capabilities or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, email, fax, telephone or in person.

Examples may include being approached at a gas station, a mall, airport or library and being asked about what's happening at the base. It may also involve getting a fax, an email or a telephone call asking for information such troop strength numbers or the number of airplanes on an Air Force base. It may also include asking for deployment procedures, how a trash-collection truck gets on base, the location of the headquarters building, how many people live in a certain dorm or where the commander lives.

Tests of security: Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches or to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.

An example of this may include a person that shakes the base fence to determine how long it takes for police to respond or a driver that approaches the front gate without identification or proper credentials pretending to be lost or to have taken a wrong turn in order to learn the procedures of how he is dealt with and how far into the installation he can get before being turned around. It might also involve an individual that places a "smoke bomb" near the fence or throws it over the fence just to learn how quickly police respond and what impact it has on front-gate operations.

Acquiring supplies: Another suspicious behavior is someone purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, detonators or timers. It may also include someone acquiring military uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges, or the equipment to manufacture such items, or any other controlled items.

Suspicious persons out of place: People who don't seem to belong in the workplace or in a neighborhood. It includes suspicious border crossers and stowaways aboard ships or people jumping ship in port. This category is hard to define, but the point is that people know what looks right and what doesn't look right in their neighborhoods, office spaces or commuting routes. Bottom line, if a person just doesn't seem like he or she belongs, there's probably a reason for that.

Dry run: Putting people into position and moving them around according to their plan without actually committing the terrorist act. This is especially true when planning a kidnapping, but it can also pertain to bombings or other types of attack.

An element of this activity could also include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow. Take note of people moving around from place to place without any apparent purpose and doing it, perhaps, many times.

The appropriate example here is the Sept. 11 hijackers, who are now known to have actually flown on those exact flights several times before Sept. 11. Their purpose was to practice getting people into position, working out arrival times, parking, ticketing, getting through security, boarding and other details. By taking note of everything around them, in one sense they were conducting surveillance and testing security, but they were also doing a dry run of the actual activity.

Be aware

Force protection is everyone's business and everyone is a sensor. If you see something, say something.

Report any suspicious activities to the Eagle Eyes hotline at 781-225-3937 or the 66th Security Forces Squadron at 781-225-5000.