This is the information you need to know. Make sure all your loved ones see it.
Since the missile strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin as tensions increase between the U.S. and Iran.
Thus, we would like to remind you of the concept of ‘situational awareness’ (more on that below).
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said while there is “no specific, credible threat against the homeland,” the bulletin is designed to “inform, share protective measures and reassure the American public, state and local governments and private sector partners that (DHS) is actively monitoring and preparing for any specific, credible threat, should one arise.”
Wolf didn’t go into detail about the protective measures but said DHS is operating with an “enhanced posture” and that “various operational components are taking protective measures were prudent and necessary.”
“At this time there is no specific, credible threat against the homeland,” Wolf said. “The Department issued this bulletin to inform, share protective measures, and reassure the American public, state and local governments, and private sector partners that the Department of Homeland Security is actively monitoring and preparing for any specific, credible threat, should one arise.”
“The Department is operating with an enhanced posture and various operational components are taking protective measures where prudent and necessary. We have been in constant communication with Congress and interagency partners,” Wolf continued. “The American people should feel assured the entire Department is working for them to keep them safe.”
In the past, DHS said, homeland-based plots have included scouting and planning against infrastructure targets, as well as cyber attacks.
“Iran maintains a robust cyber program and can execute cyber attacks against the United States. Iran is capable, at a minimum, of carrying out attacks with temporary disruptive effects against critical infrastructure in the United States,” the notice said.
Homegrown violent extremists could also capitalize on the heightened tensions to launch individual attacks, DHS warned.
According to the DHS website, in 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) replaced the color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) with the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), designed to more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the American public.
It recognizes that Americans all share responsibility for the nation’s security and should always be aware of the heightened risk of terrorist attack in the United States and what they should do.
The department will issue one of three types of advisories:
Bulletin-describes current developments or general trends regarding terrorism.
Elevated Alert-warns of a credible threat against the United States.
Imminent Alert-warns of a credible, specific and impending terrorism threat against the United States.
So, while there is no specific credible threat as of yet, it is worth noting that the man who took Soleimani’s place, General Esmail Ghaani, told Iranian state television that “actions will be taken” to avenge the death of his predecessor.
“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” Ghaani said, according to the Associated Press. “Certainly, actions will be taken.”
While serving as Soleimani’s deputy, Ghaani used his position to direct funding towards terrorist groups like Hezbollah, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
“We promise to continue martyr Soleimani’s path with the same force and the only compensation for us would be to remove America from the region,” Ghaani told state radio before Soleimani’s funeral in Tehran.
We must also take into account that that multiple sources are reporting that there is an $80 million bounty on President Trump’s head. While there is nothing to indicate that that is the official position or offer of the Iranian government, the number was floated as an idea during the televised funeral for Soleimani.
So, what does all of this mean to the average US citizen? Hopefully, nothing.
But situational awareness is going to be key to minimizing legitimate threats against Americans.
What is it? It is being so tuned into what is normal, that the abnormal stands out immediately.
It is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their future status.
It means knowing your surroundings, who is there and what is going on.
There are people who train for this sort of thing. But they make up a very small percentage of this country’s citizenry. Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us to be alert and aware of what is gong on around us. We cannot live in a bubble that nothing bad could happen.
We need to train to a level of proficiency.
We need to go to the mall, or a restaurant, or a subway station and people watch. Look for the little things. Understand what normal human behavior looks like.
Perhaps we could all be less self-absorbed and put our freaking phones down long enough to realize that there is an entire world going on around us.
Once you learn what normal looks like, you can immediately identify the abnormal.
Ok, so you recognize the abnormal. Now what?
There are multiple theories on what constitutes proper response and action.
One recent example, Jack Wilson.
LET has a private home for those who support emergency responders and veterans called LET Unity. We reinvest the proceeds into sharing untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Click to check it out.
When a gunman opened fire in a north Texas church, killing two, Jack made the choice to act. He stood in the face of a gunman intent on killing as many people as he could.
He stood up and shot two members of the congregation. That is all he was able to do, because 6 seconds into his first shot, he took a fatal shot to the head, ending the potential mass-shooting.
Jack Wilson recognized the reality of the situation and neutralized the assailant.
“This team responded quickly and within six seconds, the shooting was over. Two of the parishioners who were volunteers of the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately, saving untold number of lives,” said Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
It was not dumb luck that Jack was able to do what he did. But it did require a conscientious choice. A choice to be aware of his surroundings. A choice to maintain a level of proficiency with a firearm. A choice to immediately act when the situation required it.
We could provide example after example of people who were not law enforcement that stepped up in critical situations.
Riley Howell was a college student that gave his life to help take down a shooter on the campus of University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
When a gunman opened fire in a classroom, sending people diving for cover and rushing toward a door, student Riley Howell charged and knocked into the shooter, police say.
Howell died for his efforts, shot by the gunman he rushed. But he was the “first and foremost hero” in bringing Tuesday evening’s shooting to an end, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney said.
“He took the fight to the assailant,” Putney said Wednesday. “Unfortunately, he had to give his life to do so, but he saved lives doing so.”
Putney said the 21-year-old Howell — one of two people killed in the shooting — knocked the gunman off his feet, and that helped lead to his capture.
But being aware and taking action doesn’t have to be an act of ‘heroism,’ it can be as simple as the concept of see something, say something.
If something looks out of place or something just feels unsettling in a public setting, there is nothing wrong with making a phone call to alert the authorities.
Those trained to deal withy such circumstances can only do so if they are aware.
But at the end of the day, we must all be willing to stand and fight to protect and defend this great nation. For some, we may be asked to pull a trigger. For others, it may be to stand in front of others and take a bullet so that someone else doesn’t have to. For others, it could be as simple as making a phone call to say something is wrong.
I took an oath on September 17, 1996 when I joined the U.S. Army. I took it again on March 9, 2000, when I re-enlisted.
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God!”
Please note, that oath does not come with an expiration date.
So, what will I personally be doing?
Spending less time on my phone. Spending more time engaging the people around me and knowing everything I can about my surroundings. I will be heading to the range this week to better familiarize myself with a few guns I got recently but haven’t had a chance to zero.
I will be teaching my kids about situational awareness, and what they need to do in a potentially life-threatening situation.
For those of you who read Law Enforcement Today that do not have a law enforcement or military background and do not know where to start, you inevitably know someone who does have those backgrounds. DO not be afraid to admit that you do not know where to start and ask them for help.
It may soon be asked of us to defend our nation, our families and our very way of life.
Like Jack Wilson and Riley Howell, be prepared. You cannot decide, in the midst of an event, whether or not you can act. You must be resolved beforehand that you are willing to stand in the gap and do everything in your power to defend the innocent lives of those around you.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!