Commentary | Sept. 22, 2009

Think force protection: Beware of the dry run

By Mr. Matthew Fink 432d Wing Anti-terrorism and Force Protection officer

 If your commander directed you to participate in a parade tomorrow, would you know exactly what you'd do or where you'd go? You'd probably need some practice.

When terrorists get ready to attack, they never just go out and do it: they need practice. Sometimes, they'll use their real-world equipment and run though everything exactly like they would during the attack to make sure all of their components are properly coordinated and in working condition.

Prior to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and prior to the 2003 London attacks, the terrorists did dry runs; they practiced by doing exactly what they planned on doing the day of their attack.

During the dry run process, terrorists can make themselves vulnerable to capture because of their abnormal behavior. This is an opportunity to exercise your responsibility to report details on individuals, vehicles and equipment involved in suspicious actions. Your immediate actions could save lives!

Remember to be as specific as possible when reporting suspicious activities, but never put yourself in harm's way to collect information or attempt to make contact with individuals involved.

Report suspicious incidents to the Security Forces Law Enforcement Desk at 404-0556, the Anti-terrorism Office at 404-1458 or Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 206 at 652-3433. Situational awareness saves lives. Semper vigilare--always be watchful.