Force protection is everyone’s business

Force protection is a constant priority and a cooperative effort, and USAREUR and IMCOM Europe agencies continually work together to review their force protection measures and ensure they are appropriate for the conditions and threat assessment.

As a matter of policy, we do not discuss specifics of our force protection measures. Our measures will continue to be based on the assessment of the risks we face. We’re committed to providing the best security possible, working closely with our host nation law enforcement and security partners, based on that assessment.

Regardless of the threat assessment, members of the U.S. military community should take standard precautions such as avoiding demonstrations and other large gatherings, staying aware of their surroundings, and knowing where and how to seek help.

A vigilant community is one of the best lines of defense against terrorism as well. Members of the military community are reminded to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity to military police at their installation or to host-nation law enforcement officials by dialing 110.

 1. Personal protective measures:

  • Stay informed via official channels, news reports, etc., about current potential threats.
  • Avoid large public gatherings such as demonstrations or rallies. If you encounter such gatherings, leave the area as quickly as possible.
  • Keep a low profile and try to “blend in” to the local environment. In public, avoid wearing or carrying overtly American or military clothing or other items.
  • Be unpredictable. Vary routines such as routes and departure times to and from work.
  • When traveling, become familiar with local emergency numbers and places that could serve as refuge, such as a military installation, embassy or police station. Learn or carry a few key phrases in the local language, such as “I need a police officer” or “I need a doctor.”
  • Instruct your family and associates not to provide strangers with information about you or your family.
  • When leaving office or home, be sure to tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to get there.
  • Do not open doors to strangers and refuse to meet with strangers outside your work place.

2. Be alert for suspicious activity:

  • Someone with unusual interest in sensitive information about security measures, personnel, entry points, peak operating times, and access controls such as locks or alarms.
  • Someone who engages in overtly suspicious actions (such as triggering false alarms) to provoke and observe responses by public safety personnel.
  • Someone observing, photographing, drawing or measuring key buildings in the community.
  • Unattended briefcases, suitcases, backpacks or packages.
  • A car or truck left in a no-parking zone in front of an important building.
  • Intruders in secure areas where they are not supposed to be.
  • Chemical smells or fumes.
  • Someone with no right or need to know asking questions about sensitive information such as building blueprints, security plans or travel plans.
  • Someone purchasing supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons.
  • Someone purchasing uniforms without proper credentials.

3. Reporting suspicious activity:

  • If you see something, say something. If you see suspicious activity, report it. If you see something but you’re unsure whether it’s suspicious, err on the side of caution and report it.
  • Report, don’t act – let experts deal with the situation.
  • Click on the iWatch logo on the home page of every major Army organization in Europe.
  • Go to
  • Know the emergency contact number for local police for your area (i.e., in Germany, the number is 110) or areas in which you intend to travel.

4. Social media:

  • Assume the whole world will see what you what you post and take appropriate cautions.
  • Apply the same operational security considerations to social media interaction that you would use elsewhere.
  • Limit who can view social media sites, but don’t trust settings alone to keep you safe.
  • Don’t post home or work addresses or phone numbers.
  • Be aware that the content of seemingly innocuous posts can be “added up” to give away sensitive information.
  • Avoid citing government or military affiliation.
  • Be aware that posting detailed information about things such as departure times to or from work or someone’s location may place people at risk.
  • Don’t “geotag” your posts or allow applications to pinpoint your location.
  • Don’t speculate on the threat and force protection posture in public, you may be feeding the rumor mill.