Have you conducted your RAM today?
By By Lt. Col. Pete Green, Wing Anti-Terrorism Officer, 104th Fighter Wing
/ Published January 10, 2009
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts -- It's first thing in the morning and you are having your coffee and preparing for the day. Your supervisor comes to you and asks you to go outside and check the building's exterior for anything "suspicious" like boxes or items up against the building and report back to her. You grab your coat and hat and head for the door. Here are a few possible thoughts going through your mind while you are accomplishing the task...
1. "This new camouflage is clearly not working!"
2. "Aw...man its cold out there!"
3. "No problem, I was just asked to help out our anti-terrorism-force protection program!"
The correct answer is number 3. Your supervisor is most likely a Unit Anti-Terrorism Officer (UATO) and has just asked you to execute a unit Random Anti-Terrorism Measure or RAM. Your active involvement in accomplishing this RAM is critical to your unit and to the Wing.
As part of our overall anti-terrorism plan, Operations Plan (OPLAN 10-245), we are required by directive to conduct RAM's every day IAW the applicable Force Protection Condition (FPCON). We do this to assist in being as unpredictable as possible and to disrupt the possible planning, surveillance or operational phase of a potential terrorist or criminal act against our facilities or our people. This is very easy to say, but difficult to do in the modern world. We are all creatures of habit and have all types planning tools and schedules to keep to each day that force us into standard, visible routines. Do we need to change everything? No, we just need to keep our overall situational awareness at the right level based on the current threat and our location. Remember, in the potential terrorist's mind...predictability = vulnerability and they look for routines to help them establish a less risky target both at home and overseas.
The phrase "the best defense is a good offense" applies well to the focus of our anti-terrorism/force protection programs. We have numerous force protection initiatives in the areas of intrusion detection, physical security emplacements and increased vigilance though our Eagle Eyes and our Wing Random Anti-Terrorism Measures program help our unit project the hardest possible target without significantly impeding our ability to achieve our federal and state missions.
Security Forces Squadrons are directed by Air Force Instruction's 10-245 and 31-101, along with General McNabb, The Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force's 2007 memo on Baseline Standards for Controlling Access to AF Installations to search all commercial vehicles and randomly search private vehicles as directed by the installation commander.
Starting this weekend, we are improving our existing vehicle search program by collaborating with the Massachusetts State Police's K-9 unit. Colonel Brooks has approved this addition to our AT/FP program after reviewing the program with our Staff Judge Advocate and Security Forces to ensure we are operating within the purview of federal, state and military laws. He has further directed Security Forces to minimize the overall impact to personnel entering the installation.
How will the enhanced program work and how does it affect you? A random number is selected by Colonel Brooks in coordination with our Staff Judge Advocate for each day and time selected throughout the year. The K-9 teams will work with our Security Forces to conduct the random searches of vehicles entering our base. For example, this may be every "tenth or twelve" car for one hour on a certain day or UTA weekend.
The vehicle search team will ensure that all aspects of the operation are completed professionally. It will only take a few minutes of your time. If your vehicle is randomly selected for the search process, please follow the instructions of the Security Forces officer and you will be on your way in no time.
Any questions regarding this program should be directed to SMSgt Puccio, Security Forces Operations Superintendent or to me. Thank you in advance for supporting our AT/FP program and for any slight inconvenience you may experience during the random vehicle searches while entering the base.