Have a situationally aware holiday season

Stuttgart Christmas Market photo by USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs

By William J. Christina
Antiterrorism Officer
Protection Branch
USAG Stuttgart

All members of the Stuttgart military community should maintain a keen sense of awareness and an elevated vigilance as they live, work and enjoy Europe during the winter holiday season.

Transnational terrorist groups and their supporters continue to plot against U.S. interests worldwide. In Europe, lone-actors and ad-hoc cells still pose the greatest terrorist threat. In recent years, terrorists in Europe have plotted against civilian, military and other official targets. Civilian targets have included tourist locations, transportation hubs, Christmas markets, concert halls, sporting arenas, festivals and shopping malls. Military targets have included installations and random attacks on service members off-post.

While allied counterterrorism efforts routinely thwart plots in Europe, detecting and disrupting them remain a challenge, especially when terrorists resort to simple weapons in unsophisticated attacks. This has been demonstrated in Europe on numerous occasions in 2018, with attackers armed with firearms, edged weapons or vehicles as weapons.

Personnel must reduce potential risk when traveling, or visiting attractions, entertainment, and other venues and activities. It is prudent that personnel develop, refine, and implement sound individual/family emergency plans;ensure everyone in the family/travel group knows the plan; and continue to take appropriate measures for their safety, security and well-being.

Keep in mind, if you see something that is out of place and doesn’t seem right, or perhaps someone conducting suspicious activity, report it immediately. It may be nothing of consequence. However, it could also make the difference between a successful or thwarted terrorist attack.