DoDEA OSS: Terrorism Awareness
Traveling to and living in foreign countries can be a rich and rewarding experience. U. S. military personnel, Department of Defense civilian employees, and family members are afforded this opportunity in ways many Americans can only dream about. However, awareness concerning the common and sometimes unique threats found abroad can help prevent you and your family from becoming victims.
The threats facing personnel overseas today are as varied as the areas in which they may serve or travel. There's always a chance U.S. personnel will become victims in a terrorist incident. Additionally, the likelihood that U.S. personnel may become victims of non-terrorist criminal acts has increased. Assaults, burglaries, robberies, and other violent acts occur with a high degree of frequency in many overseas areas.
This pamphlet describes actions you can take to deter, combat, and reduce the likelihood of being a victim. It emphasizes awareness, planning, and common sense. By following these principles, you will help ensure a safe, secure, and fulfilling assignment or travel abroad.
In the 1970's and 1980's, U.S. citizens at home were relatively insulated from terrorism. Although tragedies as the bombings of the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City Federal Building have demonstrated that no one is immune; such acts are still infrequent in the United States. Conversely, hardly a day passes without another report of a terrorist incident somewhere outside the United States.
In the U.S., we may react "routinely" to news of murder, theft, assault, or other acts of violence because these crimes are part of the world we know. Terrorism, however, hasn't been part of that world. Consequently our reaction can be more pronounced; resulting in uncertainty and fear. Therefore, terrorism becomes an issue to be dealt with by DoDEA employees when traveling overseas or accepting an overseas assignment for the first time in their lives.
Generally speaking, terrorists are dedicated people who believe they are participants in a dynamic social or political process. These people cannot achieve the changes they desire through the normal political process and resort to violence.
Most acts of terrorism are committed to gain publicity for their organization and purpose, to achieve political goals, or to obtain arms or financing for future operations. By performing sensational acts that attract media attention and outrage from the public, terrorists seek a government reaction that will further their cause.
Most terrorist operations are planned and carried out with considerable expertise. Terrorists seek to exploit the target's vulnerabilities and, with the exception of suicide attackers, minimize their own risk.
For the most part, terrorist acts are limited to six basic forms: bombings, assassinations, armed assaults, kidnapping, barricade and hostage situations, and hijackings. Bombings are the most common. All are, in their most basic form, simple criminal acts. The manner in which they are carried out, the victims that are targeted, and the desired media and political outcome are the only differences between terrorists and common criminals.
Regardless of the country in which you may reside or travel, some threat of crime will always exist. In many areas, crimes against persons and property are increasing. Several factors account for this, to include the relaxing of border controls in Europe, which has permitted greater freedom of travel. Some of the persons exercising this new freedom of travel are disadvantaged, unskilled, and criminal elements drawn by the wealth that is presenting other countries. Other factors are dynamic political and economic upheavals, and in some areas, corruption that spawns and condones have and have not life styles. We Americans often take numerous precautions at home, but walk blindly into vulnerable situations overseas.
You should contact local U.S. military law enforcement authorities or the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for specific information concerning the crime threat in your area (terrorist or non-terrorist). These same agencies should be contacted when you are planning a trip. The Department of State has a travel warning advisory web site at http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html. This will help you determine if such travel is advisable or if any special precautions may be warranted.
The safety, security and well being of all DoDEA employees and family members continues to be the top priority of management. DoDEA and the individual service components where we work and reside will continue to allocate considerable resources to maintain an appropriate security posture. Coordination with host nation law enforcement and security agencies is on going and extensive.
To reduce terrorism and crime we must all help our military and host nation security forces. By improving our personal awareness and using common sense practices, we can help prevent criminal and terrorist attacks. Without opportune targets, would-be perpetrators turn their attention elsewhere. As you lessen your personal vulnerabilities, you reduce the likelihood that you will become a victim.
This pamphlet describes individual measures you and your family should use in your daily activities. It presents antiterrorism and crime prevention tips; personal security practices for adults and children; security at home; while traveling, and while staying at hotels.