Antiterrorism: Travel security

  • Published
  • By Nick Zallas
  • Installation Antiterrorism Officer
The men and women who serve in the Department of Defense and their family members are our most vital resource. Terrorists have reached new levels of organization, sophistication and violence, often targeting DoD personnel and their families.

Their tactics and techniques are always changing and are difficult to predict and neutralize. We must remain diligent in applying the proper protective measures.

This article addresses travel security; complacency can get travelers in trouble. Below are security tips for the next time personnel go TDY, leave or PCS to an overseas location including Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. Territories and Possessions, such as Puerto Rico. 

-  Avoid using military style bags or duffel bags unless traveling on a military aircraft. 

-  Remove all military logos, patches and stickers from luggage. Ensure that luggage tags do not show rank or military address.

-  Travel in conservative civilian clothing if using commercial transportation or when traveling military airlift if connecting with a flight at a commercial terminal in a high-risk area.

-  Do not wear distinct military items such as organizational shirts, caps or issued shoes or glasses.

-  Wear a long-sleeved shirt if U.S.-affiliated tattoos are visible.

-  Be aware of surroundings, be suspicious and don't become the target.

-  Know emergency numbers and how to use the local telephone system.

- Stay away from known trouble, disreputable places or other high-risk areas and only visit reputable establishments. Review for the consular information sheet for the country you are traveling. It provides travelers with safety, health and security information.

When staying at a hotel, be sure to follow the security tips below.

-  When possible, avoid using rank or duty title when registering at a hotel.

-  If staying in the same hotel for an extended period of time, try to change rooms periodically.

-  Try to get a room on the third to  sixth floors. Avoid rooms on the first two floors and those facing streets as they receive more impact from street-level blasts. Rooms on the lower floors and rooms that are accessible from outside the hotel also tend to be more vulnerable to unauthorized entry. When possible, avoid rooms above the seventh floor as fire and rescue equipment may not be able to reach higher levels.

-  Ensure rooms are locked and valuables are secured (e.g., put in safe or take them with you).

-  Keep room key cards hidden so not to reveal the hotel you are using.

Remember that antiterrorism and force Protection is everyone's responsibility.

These tips, as well as other important information, are located in the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Guide 5260, Service Member's Personal Protection Guide: A Self-Help Handbook to Combating Terrorism.

For further information, contact the antiterrorism officer at 781-225-1323.