As summertime in Europe nears, many people begin to make vacation travel plans.
While traveling, seeing new places and meeting new people are exciting, but they can also expose you to vulnerable situations and events.
U.S. personnel can easily become a potential terrorist target. A well-thought out travel plan, heightened situational awareness and contact with U.S. agencies can help reduce your vulnerability.
Before venturing out on leave or across the borders, however, there are certain requirements to be completed.
All U.S. military personnel, Defense Department civilians and contractors are required to take Antiterrorism Level 1 training annually, and their family members ages 14 and older are required to take the training before their arrival in Europe.
The training is located online at https://atlevel1.dtic.mil/at/index.html.It focuses on individual security awareness, and provides tips for potentially dangerous situations. The training is scenario-based, describing situations and offering several choices for the correct answer.
Other training highlights include how to choose a seat on an aircraft, how to remain anonymous and not attract attention, and how to report a security incident.
While the training may not prevent a dangerous situation from happening, acquiring the knowledge can better prepare travelers for an unpredictable event, and help them make quick decisions for their individual protection.
Although many countries in Europe have open borders, some require certain documentation before entering the country.
A quick check of the U.S. Department of State website at www.travel.state.gov will explain the specific document requirements.
The site also has a “Tips for Traveling Abroad” link, which includes information on what travelers should take with them and which belongings should be left at home. The list is helpful for the first-time traveler and a good refresher for those who haven’t ventured out in a while.
One valuable segment of the website is the section on travel warnings and alerts regarding countries experiencing a state of emergency or like situations. For example, the site included information during the earthquake in Haiti, the occurrence of violent attacks along the Mexico border and, most recently, updates regarding the disruption of travel in Europe due to ash from Iceland‘s volcanic eruption. It also lists any assistance the State Department can provide.
Travelers can learn about situations before departing and get support during their trip by completing the travel registration, which is highly encouraged for U.S. citizens traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
Registration makes a traveler’s presence and whereabouts known and helps the State Department better assist them in an emergency.
Anyone traveling for leisure purposes to a country or region where a specific travel alert or warning is in effect, or where an embassy or consulate is not present, is required to complete a travel plan and seek approval through the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Antiterrorism Office before departure.
For more information on individual protective measures, visit the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart homepage at www.stuttgart.army.mil and click on the Antiterrorism/Force Protection tab.
For more information, call the USAG Stuttgart Antiterrorism Office at 431-2030/civ. 07031-15-2030, or contact your unit or agency antiterrorism representative.