VICKSBURG, Miss.—ERDC-Vicksburg’s Security Office (SO) received the 2012 Army Antiterrorism (AT) Award for Best AT Program for a Stand Alone Facility. Stand Alone facilities include those of USACE, the Army National Guard, recruiting stations and other facilities that are located outside of large installation and post perimeters.
The Army AT Awards Program was established to recognize excellence and significant achievements in the AT field and the individuals, teams and organizations who work behind the scenes to protect Army personnel, property and facilities.
“Since 9/11, like many Corps offices, ERDC’s Security Office has received some annual government AT funds and these funds have been used wisely at all our ERDC sites,” said Chief of Security William “Bill” Roth. “ERDC Security is particularly proud of our team’s proactive stance in being ready to request and justify additional AT funding for which the ERDC Security Office has applied for and received annually. For the last 11 years, we have received additional AT funding totaling more than $27 million from USACE and the Army.”
During the award presentation, Deputy Commanding General and Deputy Chief of Engineers Maj. Gen. Todd Semonite said, “It’s a really big deal to be chosen at the Army level out of all of the installations and tactical commands. Quite a heroic effort on ERDC’s part. Job well done.”
The SO provides AT guidance, regulations and appropriated funding toward protective measures to ensure the security of ERDC personnel, property and ERDC facilities. “In my opinion, ERDC has the best AT program within USACE,” said ERDC Command Security Manager, Linda McGowan. “Since 9/11, the center has implemented some of the most dramatic security changes to ensure the overall security of our command locations.”
McGowan’s ERDC-submitted packet for the USACE nomination highlighted AT activities, such as:
- Conducting both field and tabletop AT and emergency exercises that include AT planning, Active Shooter, Hazardous Materials, Force Protection Conditions (FPCONs), Random Anti-terrorism Measures (RAMS) and fire drills.
- Using innovative video and teleconferencing to conduct AT and Continuity of Operations Planning (COOP) exercises to include all interested parties and control costs in a widely dispersed organization.
- Installing barriers on the interior of the installation that quickly close to control access and parking at higher FPCONS.
- Having an active Senior Antiterrorism Steering Committee, Vulnerability and Risk Assessment Groups and designated AT Officer, among numerous other security measures.
All employees and contractors are required to take annual AT training. New employees are required to take onboard entry AT training and operational security training. “Presently, the Security Office is not aware of any new required training, but every year, we use different methods to keep the workforce informed about AT security,” said McGowan. “For instance, there is a computer mouse pad that provides information on AT awareness. Last year, AT posters were displayed in the laboratories to promote AT awareness.” The SO also provides AT hand outs which familiarize individual’s with protective measures to follow when traveling.
Recently, a new program was established at the Vicksburg site. “The security guard force is now using scanners to check identification cards (ID) when individuals enter the facility. The scanners can check CAC, driver’s licenses, passports or any official photo ID with a bar code,” Roth said. “IDs can be compared to a database to check for an arrest record or whether a person is on a watch list. It’s an automatic check at the gate.” Scanners will be available at the Champaign and Hanover sites in the near future.
“The workforce ERDC-wide has received and accepted all security measures that have been implemented over the past 12 years. The Security Office team will continue to better enhance and increase security at our sites for our ERDC team members, our ERDC property and our facilities. It’s all positive,” said Roth.
The success of the ERDC AT Program could not have taken place without the leadership and support of the ERDC Executive Office. Additionally, assistance in support of the AT efforts was received from the ERDC Command Staff Division elements, in particularly the Directorate of Public Works, Directorate of Resource Management, and the Contracting Office. Support was also received from ITL and ACE-IT.
Other members of the SO AT team share in this award.