MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (April 5, 2005) -- The newly integrated anti-terrorism initiative program derived from the Department of Defense and Headquarters Marine Corps is continuing to find its affects on military installations around the country.
The program entitled, Operation: Eagle Eyes, aims to prevent terrorism by encouraging and enabling service members, DoD employees and citizens to report terrorist, planning activities they may observe. The program also features processes for rapid follow-up investigations and information sharing to other echelons of command and other law enforcement agencies as deemed appropriate.
"Terrorism is always preceded by planning steps,” said Jeff Strohman, Anti-terrorism Force Protection Training Program manager and anti-terrorism instructor, Installation Security and Safety, Marine Corps Base. “Those steps are observable if you know what to look for."
Since its launch in late 2004, the Eagle Eyes program has spread to other military commands as well.
The program is now being indoctrinated in Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., MCAS New River, N.C., Camp Johnson, N.C., Camp Geiger, N.C., and Weapons Training Battalion, Stone Bay, N.C.
“Our sharing the anti-terrorism awareness knowledge and sharing the compatibility of this program into other commands is the best thing we could have hoped for,” said Strohman. “It’s great to know that other bases are providing the awareness program.”
The program involves in-depth classes focusing on different techniques and methods to spot possible terrorist activities in surrounding areas.
"This program seeks to educate the masses – both on base and off – on what those activities are, and what to do about it if you see something suspicious," said Strohman.
The program officially began December 2004, when HQMC endorsed the program. Weeks earlier, however, the AT/FP section and the military police here began establishing local reporting processes in anticipation of the program’s launch.
"Our military police and [Naval Criminal Investigative Service] agents are full partners in this initiative," Strohman said. "Their participation is crucial to making this work at the installation level."
While local reporting processes may differ slightly, in most cases, people will be advised to report suspicious activity to their military police desk sergeant, according to Strohman.
"Our Marine Corps Dispatch Center at 9-1-1 has the advantage of being manned 24-hours-a-day, all year round, so there’s never a time a person couldn’t report a suspicious activity," said Strohman. "Once a call comes in, the desk sergeant will notify NCIS right away to investigate. Depending on the nature of the call, we can respond to the situation immediately if it’s called for."
Base patrons need to remember that in order for the Eagle Eyes program to be completely affective, everyone needs to take terrorism awareness seriously, according to Strohman.
“[Anti-Terrorism] awareness is much more than just a concept,” said Strohman. “It’s an ongoing and ever-increasing responsibility. It’s an extremely affective anti-terrorism program that doesn’t need to be resource-intensive, but does need everyone’s personal involvement.”
According to Strohman, the hotline has received a lot of calls relating to what turned out to be criminal surveillance rather than terrorist surveillance, but criminals are potentially terrorists in a pre-planning stage, so they are right to call them in.
Strohman identified seven categories of suspicious activities that warrant reporting:
· Surveillance: Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of cameras (either still or video), note taking, drawing diagrams, annotating on maps or using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices.
· Suspicious questioning: People or organizations attempting to gain information about military operations, capabilities or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, fax, telephone or in person.
· 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.
· Acquiring supplies: Purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, etc. Also includes acquiring military uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges, equipment to manufacture such items, or any other controlled items.
· Suspicious persons: People out of place or people who don’t seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment or anywhere else. These include suspicious border crossings and stowaways aboard ship or people jumping ship in port.
· Dry run: Putting people into position and moving them around according to a plan without actually committing a terrorist act. This is especially true when planning a kidnapping, but it can also pertain to bombings. An element of this activity could also include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow.
· Deploying assets: People and supplies getting into position to commit an act. This is a person’s last chance to alert authorities before a terrorist act occurs.
For additional information on Operation: Eagle Eye’s or to reach the emergency hotline, either E-mail Strohman at email@example.com or call the hotline at 451-3333 in case of terrorist activities.