Active Shooter Exercise

A 217th Military Police Detachment Soldier participates in a January 2015 active shooter exercise.

“The world we live in has become increasingly dangerous for U.S. government workers, military personnel and their families, and law enforcement officers,” emphasized Scott Brown, director of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security here.

He then stressed the importance of the Army’s Antiterrorism Awareness Month campaign that started Saturday.

“We have to talk about it (the threat posed by violent extremists and other criminals) and raise awareness of what actions all of us can take to reduce the possibility of attacks happening in our communities and neighborhoods. That’s what this awareness and educational effort is all about.”

Throughout August, force protection experts from DPTMS will be pushing out crime prevention and antiterrorism awareness information through post-wide emails, social media, the Fort Lee homepage and the Traveller in an effort to reach the widest audience possible.

During this year’s AAM Campaign, the Army seeks to “heighten awareness and vigilance to thwart terrorist attacks and protect military personnel and critical resources from acts of terrorism,” Brown pointed out.

Weekly campaign themes are recognizing and reporting suspicious activity; the importance of antiterrorism training; the insider threat; and the risks associated with the official and personal use of social media. The objective is for everyone to understand key antiterrorism principles, preventive measures, current threat trends and how to recognize and report suspicious activity.

DPTMS team contributions include coordinating an annual post-wide emergency response exercise and reminding everyone of the annual antiterrorism awareness training requirement for Soldiers, DA Civilians and contractors as well as the need for a pre-travel threat briefing for all DOD personnel heading out of the country. DPTMS also performs regular tests of the installation’s mass warning and notification systems.

“The garrison antiterrorism officer meets frequently with the Richmond FBI, the local Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Virginia Fusion Center to ensure the command has the most current threat information pertaining to Fort Lee,” Brown said. “All of this boils down to the command doing its part to ensure the safety and security of the post population; however, there is a final piece of the puzzle … you … everyone who works, resides-on or regularly visits Fort Lee.

“This month, for us, is all about helping Team Lee understand its role in the force protection process,” he continued. “In the coming weeks, we’re going to share a lot of valuable information about threat recognition; the importance of the ‘See Something, Say Something’ initiative; how the Installation Operations Center communicates emergency information here; and how everyone can take steps to reduce their profile as a potential victim, particularly online where extremists gather data and promote deadly violence.

“For the sake of installation security and protection of yourself and your family, we hope you will join us on this journey of awareness and action,” Brown concluded.

Ensuring the proper vetting of all individuals accessing the installation is just part of the “right thing to do” in light of the current situation, observed Director of Emergency Services Tony DeWitt. “It’s one of the many actions we’re taking to raise our security posture. Other proactive steps include monthly active-shooter training and quarterly emergency-response/mass-casualty exercises for our first responder teams here.

“We have greatly enhanced our dispatchers’ capabilities with the latest equipment and training,” DeWitt said. “We also communicate almost daily with local community law enforcement agencies on all security matters, as it’s a comprehensive response to this elevated level of threat.”

Anyone with specific questions about the AAM Campaign, or the training opportunities available for units and military organizations on post, should contact their unit antiterrorism officer or the DPTMS Protection Team at 804-734-6410 or 734-1575. To report suspicious activity on the installation, call the law enforcement desk at 804-734-7400 or notify the chain of command. Those off-post should contact their local police department or call 911.