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Military members help secure bases with Eagle Eyes

5/24/2007 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFPN) -- With a limited number of Office of Special Investigations agents and Security Forces members, it is up to Airmen and their families with Eagle Eyes to help make sure the area they live in is safe.

The Eagle Eyes program provides a single point of contact to report suspicious activity at Ramstein Air Base and every military installation.

While keeping an eye out for suspicious patterns of behavior, OSI officials recommend reporting the situation and not confronting the people.

"They shouldn't confront the individual they think is suspicious," said OSI Special Agent Paul Desautels. "If they're looking suspicious, they might also be dangerous. If you have a camera phone, that's great, but don't try to make yourself a target by doing that. Write down what you can, get to a phone and contact the law enforcement desk."

While walking his dog around his neighborhood Tech. Sgt. Daniel MacDonald of the 435th Civil Engineer Squadron here noticed something suspicious. He made a mental note of the situation and tried to remember as many details as he could.

"I registered the incident and (had) Eagle Eyes in my head, but I didn't have the number on our refrigerator at home or anything like that," Sergeant MacDonald said. "Later, I saw the pamphlet and knew I needed to call.

"I found the reaction kind of overwhelming," he said. "Within an hour I was being called in to fill out a report, and I needed to come down at the end of the day to talk with them again, and they turned around and were briefing (Gen. William T. Hobbins, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander). They've even called one time since the incident."

Now Sergeant Macdonald makes sure he has the number available, and his wife knows the number as well.

"Family members may be more important to the Eagle Eyes program than active-duty members just because while the active-duty member is out of the neighborhood, their family is there seeing the activity at the bus stops and other houses," Agent Desautels said. "They're the ones who are going to notice the little differences."

Sergeant MacDonald was personally thanked for his vigilance by both General Hobbins and Chief Master Sgt. Gary Coleman, the USAFE command chief.

"They surprised me during the middle of a class. They came in while I was briefing and they both gave me a coin," Sergeant MacDonald said. "To see how fast these things move really makes me feel like I can make a difference." 

According to OSI officials, there are seven patterns of behavior in particular to keep an eye out for. 

Surveillance: Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of cameras (either still or video), note taking, drawing diagrams, annotating on maps or using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices.

Elicitation: People or organizations attempting to gain information about military operations, capabilities, or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, fax, telephone, or in person. Examples could include being approached and asked about what's happening at the base, troop strength numbers, the number of airplanes on base, etc.

Tests of security: Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches or to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses. For example, a person grabs the base fence and shakes it and sees how long it takes for police to respond, or a driver approaches the front gate (without ID and/or car sticker) and pretends to be lost or to have taken a wrong term just to learn the procedures of how he is dealt with and how far into the gate he can get before being turned around, or a person places a "smoke bomb" near the fence or throws it over the fence, just to learn how quickly police respond and what effect that has on front-gate operations.

Acquiring supplies: Purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, detonators, timers, etc. Also includes acquiring military uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges (or the equipment to manufacture such items) or any other controlled items.

Suspicious people out of place: People who don't seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment, or anywhere else. Includes suspicious border crossings and stowaways aboard ship or people jumping ship in port. This category is hard to define, but the point is that people know what looks right and what doesn't look right in their neighborhoods, office spaces, commutes, etc., and if a person just doesn't seem like he or she belongs, there's probably a reason for that.

Dry run: Putting people into position and moving them around according to their plan without actually committing the terrorist act. This is especially true when planning a kidnapping, but it can also pertain to bombings. An element of this activity could also include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow. Take note of people moving around from place to place without any apparent purpose and doing it, perhaps, many times. The appropriate example here is the 9/11 hijackers, who are now known to have actually flown on those exact flights several times before 9/11. Their purpose was to practice getting their people into position, working out arrival times, parking, ticketing, going through security, boarding, etc. By taking note of everything around them, in one sense they were conducting surveillance and testing security, but they were also doing a dry run of the actual activity.

Deploying assets: People and supplies getting into position to commit the act. This is a person's last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs. Look for people loading up vehicles with weaponry/explosives, etc, and/or parking that vehicle somewhere, or people in military uniforms (who don't look right) approaching an installation or getting into a vehicle, or people who seem out of place standing by at a certain location as if waiting for something to happen. 

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