Antiterrorism during the holiday season

  • Published
  • By Nick Zallas
  • Installation Antiterrorism Officer
The holiday season is here and many people will be getting together to spend quality time with loved ones.

This should be undisturbed time, free of phone calls from work, or even having to come in to work to deal with an issue that could have been avoided if adequately planned for ahead of time.

Many of you will attend holiday parties; the Antiterrorism Office reminds you that any off-installation event involving military personnel with more than 300 attendees requires an Event Threat Assessment. Although this can be inconvenient, the few minutes it takes to complete your event assessment can pay big dividends. Contact the Antiterrorism Office at 781-225-1323 to learn how.

Remember, terrorism does not stop for the holiday season. There are terrorist groups and those who espouse their radical ideology who still intend to conduct attacks to capitalize on the cultural significance of this time of year. Furthermore, this year has exposed the new and emerging threat of ISIS/ISIL along our borders and has brought to light some of the individual tactics being utilized for expansion. If traveling outside of U.S. borders for the holiday season, ensure to check for travel restrictions at

In preparation of your holiday events, such as traveling, attending large celebratory gatherings and sharing time with family and friends, I urge each of you to take a moment to review the list of suspicious activities below and keep them in mind throughout the holiday season.

1. Keep an eye out for surveillance: Be aware of anyone taking notes or monitoring activities on or off the installation - for example, someone using a camera, including cell phone cameras, or video recorders, inside or outside the perimeter of the installation, near schools, malls, sporting events or other similar mass gathering venues.

2. Beware of elicitation: This is any person or organization secretly attempting to gain information by mail, telephone, fax or in person about military operations, missions and personnel, or attempts to gain in-depth information about security at a particular facility or public event.

3. Recognize tests of security: These are attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches or to bypass physical security measures or procedures.

4. Acquiring supplies: This is generally the purchasing or theft of explosives, weapons, ammunition, uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges, the equipment to manufacture them or any other controlled items.

5. Look for suspicious persons out of place: Note people that appear out of place around your work center, neighborhood or anywhere else. You know better than anyone who should be in your work areas, communities, and neighborhoods and when things are out of place or suspicious.

6. Dry runs: Placing operatives in position and essentially practicing or exercising a terrorist incident (dress rehearsal). This could also be someone mapping out routes or determining the timing of traffic lights and flow.

7. Deployment of assets: People and supplies being positioned to commit a terrorist act. This is the last opportunity to alert authorities before a terrorist act occurs. If it doesn't look right, report it.

If you witness any of these activities on Hanscom AFB or in your local community, take the time to report them through the Air Force Eagle Eyes Program by contacting the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at 781-225-3937 or by contacting the Base Defense Operations Center at 781-225-5000.

Force Protection is everyone's business; everyone is a sensor - if you see something, say something.