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Combat terrorism with random antiterrorism measures

Senior Airman Ann Lockley, 6th Comptroller Squadron, conducts a RAM by checking the base decal on vehicles in the parking lot where she works. Suspect vehicles should be reported.

Courtesy photo

Airman Lockley checks the Force Protection Condition before heading into work. The FPCON changes based on the possibility of terrorist threat to the base.

Courtesy photo

Terrorism is by no means a new concept; traditionally a tactic of the weak, it has been around since the beginning of recorded time. And as a result of the Sept. 11, tragedy, the train bombing in Spain, the on going situations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the recent bombings against the public transportation system in London, there are literally thousands of people who think we are unable to prevent these horrible acts of senseless violence. However, there are many ways to step up to the challenge terrorists present.

Education is one of the most important elements of defending against these individuals who threaten our very lives with their horrific acts of violence. Intelligence tells us terrorists increasingly look for "soft targets" or areas that generally don't have physical security measures. We also know terrorists use violence to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of their goals that are generally political, religious or ideological. We have multiple programs and initiatives that go along way in securing our installation and our families, one of which is the Department of Defense Random Antiterrorism Measure Program.

RAM's are random, multiple security measures that consistently change the look of an installation's force protection program. RAMs introduce uncertainty to an installation's overall force protection program to defeat surveillance attempts and make it difficult for a terrorist to accurately predict our actions.

In any terrorist attack, surveillance is one of the first steps of planning. Terrorist observe a target looking for vulnerabilities in our security posture. One of our weaknesses is predictability. Terrorists may observe an area or facility for several weeks, taking notes on what we do and when we do it. From this, they are able to establish a pattern of our predictability. Once this happens, would-be terrorists have the capability to plan and circumvent the system. RAMs can and will effectively reduce the predictability factor and eliminate a terrorist's advantage.

Units across MacDill are tasked to complete security measures involving personnel, resources and facilities. The number of RAMs conducted may vary, depending on the current threat and security postures we are in. Random measures are sent to the units monthly, but commanders can, at their discretion, require unit personnel to do more. Unit antiterrorism representative are responsible to ensure the RAMs are conducted. When conducting RAM measures, it is important to be as overt and visible as possible so that you are seen, and there is no doubt to any onlookers you are conducting a security measure.

RAMs are effective because they are truly random. The time, place and location are always different. If someone is conducting surveillance on your unit it makes it extremely difficult to figure out your pattern of security because there is no pattern.

Conducting RAM's can be an inconvenience at times, but a necessary inconvenience and a vital part of MacDill's overall security posture. The catch phrase "force protection is everyone's business" is a testament that all squadrons and units on MacDill must take the necessary steps to protect their facilities, resources and personnel. The RAM program is a simple and effective method to secure our people and resources and it gets everyone involved in the process. If you have any questions about the installation RAM program, or need information or assistance with antiterrorism related issues, contact your unit antiterrorism representative or the Wing Antiterrorism Office at 828-7406 or 828-5196. (Courtesy of the Wing Antiterrorism Office)

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