After Fort Hood violence, Army orders policy review
Stars and Stripes November 28, 2009
BAMBERG, Germany —–In response to the shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, the Army is ordering its commanders to review force protection measures in their communities to identify potential insider threats and prevent acts of violence directed against the Army.
The message — sent earlier this week from the office of the Army chief of staff — provides guidelines for leaders to ensure the physical safety of its soldiers and families. It also provides them with key indicators of terrorist behavior.
The guidelines include:
knowing soldiers’ behavior on and off duty; identifying and reporting soldiers who exhibit indicators of potential violence; ensuring compliance with privately owned weapons policies; taking appropriate disciplinary action against soldiers who exhibit behavior that adversely affects good order and discipline of the unit.The Army and several other government agencies have come under fire for failing to prevent the gunning down of 13 people at Fort Hood earlier this month. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, faces 13 murder counts in the case.
In the days following the shooting, congressional leaders questioned why Army officials and the FBI reportedly ignored warning signs, including that Hasan allegedly sent e-mails to a radical Muslim cleric and allegedly donated thousands of dollars to overseas Islamic "charities," which have been identified by the U.S. as conduits for terror groups.
Among the 10 key indicators of potential terrorist behavior listed in the message are:
advocating support for international terrorist organizations; providing financial support to terrorist organizations; repeated expressions of hatred and intolerance of American society; purchasing bomb-making materials or obtaining information about the construction of explosives.In Europe, U.S. Army Europe officials acknowledged that new force protection measures are being instituted, but they were unwilling to provide specific information, citing safety reasons.
"If those who want to harm us know what we’re doing to prevent them, it makes it easier for them to do harm," said Bruce Anderson, a USAREUR spokesman.
Leaders, soldiers and employees will be trained to identify indicators of potential violence and terrorist behavior, and the appropriate action to take should someone exhibit those behaviors, Anderson said.
"USAREUR leaders must know their soldiers and employees, and know their behavior on and off duty," he said.
The Army’s Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the Army program will be a key element in this effort, Anderson said. The SAEDA program requires Army personnel to report any incident of espionage and subversion as well as sabotage or the unlawful disclosure of classified information.
"USAREUR is constantly monitoring the threat, performing risk assessments and adjusting our force protection measures to meet the threat," he said. "We will continue to do so."