Military Launches New Anti-terrorism Training
By Staff Sgt. Lee Roberts, USAF
National Guard Bureau
WASHINGTON, March 13, 1997 The Joint Staff recently launched a four- tiered training initiative that mandates every DoD member receive force protection training prior to moving or serving overseas.
Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, directed the development of predeployment training to raise awareness of terrorism directed against U.S. forces following the bombing of Khobar Towers in June 1996.
Shalikashvili asked Marine Corps Gen. John Sheehan, U.S. Atlantic Command commander, to coordinate with the Joint Staff and the services on how to best prepare troops for terrorist threats. Sheehan's group crafted a plan to formalize anti- terrorism and force protection training and to encourage individuals to use what they learn in their daily activities.
Navy Capt. Richard D. Jaskot, the Joint Staff's Training, Doctrine and Assessments Division chief, said although the new training can't guarantee the safety of the troops, it will make individuals more aware of their surroundings and help them avoid being in a situation favorable to terrorists.
Jaskot said each individual will receive predeployment training subdivided into two threat levels.
Training Level 1 is the individual level. If service members are traveling to a negligible- or low-threat area, they are required to watch a service-selected training video and read pamphlets designed to reinforce the awareness techniques stressed in the video. If they are going to a medium- or high-threat area, members have to get a country clearance from the combatant commander. They also will receive an individual briefing stressing personal protective measures.
The training video is not required if it has been viewed within the last six months. However, a country-specific briefing is required for every service member traveling outside the United States. A person or unit must be able to certify the training has been received before entering a foreign country, Jaskot stressed.
No matter what the terrorist threat, Jaskot said it is important to receive the country-specific briefing. Whether a person travels to Germany, Philippines or Saudi Arabia, the training focuses on specific threats and gives detailed advice on how to avoid becoming a terrorist's victim, he said.
For instance, Jaskot said "it's important you don't make yourself stand out as an American military person. You don't carry your briefcase with the 'I've been there' stickers all over it or wear civilian clothing which clearly stands out as American."
He said individuals must be aware and have a mindset when moving or going to a site overseas "to be thinking about protecting yourself, looking around, staying aware. You can't think of this training as a hassle but something that is going to make people and families safer, and units better prepared."
Training Level 2 is the "train the trainer" level. Jaskot said this instruction is based on an anti-terrorism instructor qualification course in the John F. Kennedy Center at the Special Warfare Capability School, Fort Bragg, N.C.
Instructors receive training and then can provide others Level 1 training. Also, each service should add service-specific modules to the training based on its own references, procedures and regulations on anti-terrorism and force protection.
Training Level 3 is designed to help unit, battalion, squadron and ship commanders or those selected for command to be familiar with responsibilities concerning the safety of forces.
"The training they will receive is a module on what their responsibilities are, and what DoD, Joint Staff and service regulations they have to comply with to keep people safe," Jaskot said. "It also explains how they can go about working with their Level 2 trained people to get the best force protection within their unit."
Training Level 4 is executive-level training. The National Defense University in Washington will sponsor a force protection seminar for high-ranking officers over three days in late April.
"They will be talking to some of the experts in the field of antiterrorism from the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency and other places in the government," Jaskot said. "They will discuss terrorism issues, what we are doing to combat terrorism, what technology we have and how to set up antiterrorism programs for the various forces under their command."
Jaskot said planners hope the four-tiered training initiative makes the military a better organization in the future than it is today, much as military safety programs did 30 years ago.
"Back then, we got serious about safety and made it a daily mindset change using posters and by continually reminding people about it," Jaskot said. "We are safer today than we were then. That is the same kind of tactic we want to take with antiterrorism. We want everybody to think about these important issues on a daily basis."
(Staff Sgt. Lee Roberts is an editor for J-Scope)