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Thinking like the enemy

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It's simple. If I think like the enemy, I will not only be able to defend against him, but ultimately defeat him.

Very few people have ever requested I "think like a terrorist," but that's what makes anti-terrorism training so valuable.

It also makes a lot of sense, but so often we get caught up in our own problems and lives, we forget an attack can happen anytime, anywhere. As uniformed personnel or civilian employees, we all work for the United States military, which inherently puts us at risk for dissent, anti-U.S. sentiment or possibly even violence.

When I first signed up for Anti-Terrorism Level II training, I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. I thought it was just going to be AT Level I, required by the Air Force for every service member and DOD civilian employee, just on steroids -- more history, more techniques. I thought I was going to come out of this training correcting the characters in CIA movies.

I was, of course, mistaken. As cool as getting CIA training would be, AT Level II provides a different, more important service. It teaches government employees how to look through the commander's eyes to spot vulnerabilities, determine risk factors and advise the commander on the state of the installation as well as possible solutions to any problems.

For a lot of people in this training, they wonder, "I'm not in a career field that deals with any of this, why am I an anti-terrorism representative?"

Anti-terrorism is defensive -- that is, we aren't actively looking for terror threats. Instead, we must take it upon ourselves to find the vulnerabilities in our buildings and on base to ensure someone can't take advantage of a weakness to wreak havoc. It's a lot more difficult to hit a hard target than a soft one.

On top of the things you can do to protect yourself personally, like varying your routes to and from home, being nondescript while traveling and being aware of potential threats in your area, we also have a duty to be aware of weaknesses that could put you or your fellow Airmen at risk.

So how can you help out your Anti-Terrorism officer? Look around and see if there are things that could constitute a weakness. Do you have an evacuation plan? Do you lock up equipment and spaces that are either sensitive in nature or could be easily manipulated? Do you make sure the people around you are practicing good operations security measures?

Staying vigilant and keeping a watchful eye over our everyday operations and activities are how we can do our parts on an individual level for the anti-terrorism programs at our installations. So start thinking like the enemy, find the weak spots and make it so they can't be exploited.

If you think like the enemy, you can predict the enemy. If you can predict the enemy, you can defend against him -- and defense is our business, our expectation and our duty.