FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Aug. 25, 2016 —
The annual U.S. Army North Antiterrorism and Force Protection Workshop and Table Top Exercise kicked off at Fort Sam Houston Aug. 9, providing three days of sessions to facilitate greater collaboration among the force protection communities.
“This year’s conference theme – ‘Strengthening our Nation through Force Protection’ – exemplifies that it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure our security through cooperation and collaboration,” said Col. Ramona Laib, U.S. Army North provost marshal. “I hope this conference facilitates candid discussion and promotes collaboration of the major issues and challenges we face in executing Army and U.S. Northern
Command, or NORTHCOM, antiterrorism and force protection mission requirements across the theater.”
This year’s workshop brought together more than 80 representatives from various military and federal agencies to discuss, at length, antiterrorism policies and initiatives.
“With your help, all the iterative changes over the last few years to address the very complex and contested environment we face in the homeland will be captured in one authoritative document,” said Brig. Gen. James Blackburn, U.S. Army North deputy commanding general. “But please don’t hold back on anything contentious – those contentious issues are exactly what we want to take head on!”
Key discussions were formed around the Force Protection Analysis Process of articulating the threat, categorizing the threat, developing the appropriate force protection measures for each category, analyzing the applied measures, developing the baseline force protection measure recommendations, and finally establish and prioritize recommended resources for future force protection.
The table top exercise portion of the workshop split the participants up into three groups, who then worked scenarios where force protection and antiterrorism measures may or may not be utilized. The scenarios were designed to initiate discussion and collaboration to identify best practices and capabilities that will be the focus of U.S. Army North antiterrorism/force protection priorities for the next year.
“I really thought the breakout sessions were beneficial,” Said Navy Capt. Ray Benedict, director of Fleet Antiterrorism, U.S. Navy North, or NAVNORTH. “Even though we at NAVNORTH do things differently under the new force protection condition system, we are going to have our individual service issues and as we step through the table top exercise with some Army-centric scenarios, those scenarios could happen to us. It did force me to think about how we would go about coordinating that.”
The expertise, insight and feedback from this year’s workshop and exercise will be invaluable in the continued collaboration among the force protection communities. The best practices identified will help ARNORTH to strengthen its area of operation when it comes to antiterrorism and force protection measure.
“I am glad that other service components were here for this workshop,” Benedict said. “Seeing everyone and putting faces to names and having those relationships and being able to share information up to NORTHCOM is very important.”