Holiday season security awareness

During the holiday season (or any other season), there are actions everyone can take to limit their potential for being targeted by adversaries.

Here are some easy-to-follow personal security measures to remember and employ:

  • Remove license plate holders, stickers and other visual items on your vehicle that may affiliate you or family members with the military, government or law enforcement.
  • Consider manner of dress when out in public, to include shirts, hats, jackets, etc. that reference military, government or law enforcement affiliation.
  • Review at Level I training available to all service members and their Families at the Joint Knowledge Online website,, Course Number JS-US008-14.
  • Avoid large gatherings or demonstrations. If you come upon a demonstration, remain calm and disengage from the situation. Avoid speaking loudly.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay away from high-risk areas.
  • Monitor the news for updated information.
  • Travel in small groups (never alone) and vary movements.
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Try to be inconspicuous. Do not draw attention to yourself.
  • If there is an incident at your destination or any location on your itinerary, inform your unit of your status as soon as possible.
  • Carry a mobile phone if possible and have emergency numbers handy (pre-programmed in phone): The emergency number for German Police is 112.

Family members and family readiness groups can access supporting antiterrorism awareness information, products and tools via the AOS homepage: by clicking on the iWatch Army logo at the bottom of the page; this will direct individuals to the AOS Army iWatch website,, on AOS, which is available to the entire Army community. It includes all the iWatch Army products, as well as a broad set of general awareness products and information to include social media precautions.

Travel plans with DOS Online via the step website at This free service permits a traveler to enter information about their upcoming trip abroad so the traveler can better receive updates on travel warnings, travel alerts and other information for a particular country.

You can obtain up-to-date information on overseas security conditions from the DOS by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 elsewhere in the world, or at their website at

Department of State travel alerts, generally short-term in nature, are issued because of situations such as demonstrations, health alerts and evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks or other short-term conditions that may pose significant risks to the security of travelers.

Travel alerts are milder than travel warnings, in which the State Department recommends personnel avoid travel to a country because of its long-term instability. Examples of reasons for issuing a travel warning might include unstable government, civil war or frequent terrorist attacks. Country-specific travel alerts and warnings are available to personnel at:

Social media tips

  • Think before you post; assume others can see your post.
  • Review privacy settings.
  • Avoid posting personal information and location.
  • Never allow applications to initiate geolocation.
  • Limit references to military, law enforcement or government affiliation.
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