As the ten year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks approaches, we should all take a moment to remember the many victims of the tragedy, and the first responders who risked – and in many cases lost – their own lives at ground zero. Though we have made tremendous strides in securing the nation’s critical infrastructure since 9/11, there is still much work to be done, and it starts with each of us.
In advance of the ten year anniversary of 9/11, homeland security officials have advocated for increased security awareness, especially among critical infrastructure owners and operators. While no specific threats have been identified, all personnel working at or around critical infrastructure should be especially vigilant and immediately report any suspicious activity to appropriate facility personnel and/or law enforcement authorities. This is particularly important given recent DHS reports warning of potential insider threats at major utilities and critical infrastructure operations.
For additional guidance on some of the potential indicators of terrorist activity to look out for, please take a few minutes to view the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” public service video campaign. The campaign is a simple and straightforward program aimed at raising public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime. The program also emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to proper local law enforcement authorities.
The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign was originally launched July 2010 in conjunction with the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative. As discussed in a previous blog, the Nationwide SAR Initiative is “…a unified, standards-based approach at all levels of government to gather, document, process, analyze, and share information about behavior-based suspicious activities that potentially have a connection to terrorism while rigorously protecting privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of all Americans.”
Homeland security begins at the local level, and both initiatives underscore this concept, and the importance of the public-private partnership in keeping our nation safe. An alert public plays a critical role in securing the homeland. Remember, if you see something, say something!
~ Ryan Loughin
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