Installation Antiterrorism Force-Protection Planning

By Flynn, Michael J. | Military Review, March/April 2002 | Go to article overview

Installation Antiterrorism Force-Protection Planning


Flynn, Michael J., Military Review


The U.S. Army's AT/FP program is a collective effort that reduces the likelihood that Army-affiliated personnel, their families, facilities, and materiel will be subject to a terrorist attack and to prepare to respond to the consequences of such attacks should they occur.

THE U.S. COMMISSION ON National Security/21 st Century concluded in a September 1999 report that America will-become increasingly vulnerable to hostile attack at home and that Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers. This is a sobering assessment of the era that we expect will last some number of years. If these attacks occur, terrorists will most likely carry them out.1

Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, General Eric K. Shinseki issued this warning as part of his foreword to the March 2000 Antiterrorism & Force-- Protection Installation Commanders' Guide.2 Just a year and a half later, terrorists attacked both the World Trade Center complex and the Pentagon, turning this sobering warning into grim reality. While terrorism was once generally regarded as a problem outside the continental United States (CONUS), the past 10 years have shown that the American homeland is not immune to terrorism. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1995 domestic terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City, and the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon have claimed thousands of lives and caused billions of dollars in damage. Additionally, the lethality of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens at home and abroad has increased dramatically. The U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the bombing of the Khobar Towers military barracks in Saudi Arabia caused significant loss of life and destruction.

Military installations are particularly high-value targets for terrorists. They are, in fact, small cities that provide homes for service members, their families, and critical tenant organizations. Military installations are important to the country's defense, and the psychological and political impact an attack on an installation would create makes them prime targets for terrorist attacks. The object of protecting an installation and all of its resources from terrorism is to stop it before it transpires or to respond quickly to mitigate its effects. This objective places installation antiterrorism force protection (AT/FP) into an operational context. The military decisionmaking process (MDMP), a tactical planning tool, can also help installation commanders and their staffs develop comprehensive, synchronized AT/FP plans. This article overviews installation AT/FP and considers the MDMP from an installation AT/FP perspective.

The Department of Defense (DOD) is not the lead agency for combating terrorism; however, every commander, regardless of echelon of command or branch of service, is inherently responsible for planning, resourcing, training, exercising, and executing AT/FP measures to secure the command. Combatant commands, services, major Army commands (MACOMs), installations, and tenant units all have unique roles and responsibilities in installation AT/FP. The U.S. Army's AT/FP program is a collective effort that reduces the likelihood that Army-affiliated personnel, their families, facilities, and materiel will be subject to a terrorist attack and to prepare to respond to the consequences of such attacks should they occur. It is imperative that installation commanders and their key staff officers thoroughly understand how installation AT/FP fits into Army and DOD antiterrorism programs. Joint

An installation ATFP program's reactive phase involves those actions the instal latin takes to operationally increase FPCON protective measures in response to terrorists alerts, and the b" response and consequence-- management actions it takes to contain and mitigate an actual terrorist incident.

Publication 3-07.2, Joint Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Antiterrorism, provides an excellent overview of the DOD antiterrorism program. …

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