DoD Hones Top Anti-Terrorist Weapon

Training military personnel and their families to be aware of and react to terrorist activity will become a critical weapon in the Pentagon's anti-terrorism arsenal. The goal of Defense Department officials is nothing short of creating a new mindset for all personnel, from the most junior enlistees to flag officers and Senior Executive Service officials.

To raise the consciousness of employees and reduce the military's vulnerability to terrorism, DoD officials are developing a comprehensive training program in four levels, which is to be fully implemented by the end of April:

Level 1. At the most basic level, military personnel, civilians and their families deploying overseas will receive individual personal protection awareness training geared to the area they will be serving in and the service with which they will be affiliated. Those who are traveling to areas where the threat is deemed negligible or low will receive training videos or personal instruction in such subjects as what to look for and how to blend in with another culture without drawing attention. People traveling to medium- or high-threat areas will be trained by an instructor who will discuss security while traveling and other critical issues. All individuals receiving Level 1 training will get a pamphlet that covers security issues in detail and a card with emergency information that can be carried in a wallet or purse.

Level 2. The next level of training is designed for unit anti-terrorism force protection officers. It is a 40-hour training course offered through military schools and a mobile training program. Officers and senior non-commissioned officers attending this course will return to their units and help their commanders deal with anti-terrorism force protection issues. The course offers extensive training in Defense Department policies and in the terrorist threat, including information on how specific groups operate and how to detect terrorist surveillance. A portion of Level 2 training is standardized, while the remainder is tailored to the sponsoring service's operations.

Level 3. Commanders at the rank of lieutenant colonel and colonel will receive Level 3 training in their normal pre-command courses. The training will explain in detail their responsibilities with regard to force protection and Defense policies and procedures.

Level 4. General officers, senior colonels and captains, and senior Defense officials will attend a three-day seminar in force protection conducted by the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington. During the first two days, participants will be briefed by experts inside and outside government; on the third day, they will participate in a war-gaming scenario.

The training program, which is mandatory, is DoD's attempt to institutionalize a new mindset, where force protection procedures become as automatic for people as locking their houses and buckling their seat belts.

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