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FACTSHEET | Sept. 1, 2022

Antiterrorism Awareness

How do terrorists select their targets?

  1. By location: Terrorists may target specific locations such as military installations or facilities, certain hotels, apartment buildings, public transportation centers, night clubs frequented by Americans, or large gatherings. Be particularly alert in these locations and situations and leave immediately if you observe suspicious behavior or activity.
  2. By association: Terrorists may focus surveillance or attacks on personnel associated with the U.S. military or obvious American tourists. When possible, avoid disclosing your U.S. affiliation. Try to blend in with the local population.
  3. By opportunity: Terrorists prefer “soft targets,” people, information or facilities they believe they have a good chance of attacking successfully with little risk of interference by security forces. To help deny terrorists the opportunity to attack, be vigilant, practice good personal security habits, and report suspicious behavior to authorities as soon as possible.

How can I protect myself from terrorist and active shooter attacks?

  1. Individual protection begins with a proactive mind-set about the security environment where you live, work, go to school, enjoy time off, and travel. Your best protection is understanding the risks associated with your activities and locations, and taking proactive measures to keep yourself safe.
  2. Safeguard your personal information at all times. Do not reveal details of your personal life, such as where you live, where you work, your family members, your association with the U.S. military, email addresses or phone numbers, to anyone you don’t know and trust.
  3. Do not discuss personal information or military missions in public, on the telephone or on the internet. Take extra precaution with social media networks -- avoid posting or providing personal information as much as possible. Criminal and terrorist organizations often use these forums for open source information gathering and to recruit members.
  4. Limit discussions about, and access to, information that could give terrorists insights for targeting. Always use secure communication when passing sensitive information.
  5. Be unpredictable. Vary your routes, times of arrival and departure, and alternate parking spots when going to and from work or other routine destinations.
  6. Before you travel, get a threat briefing specific to your destination. Avoid traveling on an official passport if possible. Avoid using your rank or military address for travel reservations or documents. ID the locations of U.S. embassies or other safe havens at your destination.
  7. At hotels, ask for an inside room away from street-side windows, and preferably on the fourth to tenth floors -- high enough to be safe from street-level attack, but not too high for rescuers to reach if need be.
  8. Check mail and packages for signs of possible explosives: unusual odors; bulges, bumps or odd shapes; protruding wires or strings; packages that are unusually light or heavy or have too much wrapping; or oily stains. Other warning signs include packages with excessive postage; with poorly spelled or typed words; or an unfamiliar or missing return address.
  9. Make sure your home has good locks and sufficient security lighting. Talk with family members about security procedures and emergency plans, and rehearse your plans. Create a "duress word" that family members can use to secretly signal trouble. Use peepholes and don't open doors until you're sure who's there. Be prepared to "shelter in place" if necessary.
  10. Three things to remember about responding to an active shooter:
    1. Evacuate - have a route and plan in mind, leave belongings behind, and keep your hands visible.
    2. Hide - Hide in an area outside the shooter's view, lock doors and block the entry to your hiding place, and silence your cell phone.
    3. Take Action - Attempt to incapacitate the shooter only as a last resort when your life is in imminent danger. Be physically aggressive and throw things at the shooter.

How do I identify and report suspicious activity?

  1. Remember -- if you see something, say something. An "iSalute" link to make a report is available on every Army home page. You can report suspicious activity to military police, local law enforcement, security forces, or your chain of command.
  2. Some examples of suspicious activity include:
    • People drawing or measuring important buildings
    • People asking about security forces, security measures or other sensitive information
    • Unattended briefcases, suitcases or packages
    • Vehicles parked in no parking zones near key buildings
    • People in restricted areas where they don't belong
    • People wearing clothes that are excessively large or too hot for the weather
    • Chemical smells or fumes
    • People buying weapons, uniforms or items that could be used to make bombs
  3. What you should report: The date and time the activity occurred; where it occurred; how many people were involved; how many and what type of vehicles were involved (and license numbers if possible); the type of activity; details of what you saw or heard; share any pictures you took or drew.

What are some indicators of a terrorist-associated insider threat?

  • Advocating violence, the threat of violence, or use of force to achieve political, religious or ideological goals
  • Advocating support for international terrorist organizations or their objectives
  • Providing financial or other material support to a terrorist organization or a terror suspect
  • Associating with or having connections to known or suspected terrorist
  • Expressing hatred and intolerance of American society, culture, government, or principles
  • Repeatedly visiting websites that promote or advocate violence against the U.S. or its forces, or that promote terrorism or terrorist themes, without official sanction in the performance of duties
  • Expressing an obligation to engage in violence in support of international terrorism or inciting others to do the same
  • Obtaining bomb-making materials or information
  • Actively attempting to encourage others to violate laws, disobey lawful orders or regulations, or disrupt military activities
  • Family ties to known or suspected terrorists or terrorist supporters
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