Anti-terrorism efforts keep Monterey County safe

Home to the Defense Language Institute, the Presidio of Monterey, the Naval Postgraduate School and the Monterey Regional Airport, Monterey, Calif., has been listed among other cities in the state as a potential ISIS target, according to a CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley segment released in March 2015.

Though the current terrorism threat, as provided by the Naval Postgraduate School, is deemed low by both the Presidio and NPS, measures are being taken. The anti-terrorism officer for the Presidio of Monterey, Pete Huller, describes the Presidio’s general approach to antiterrorism.

“Our basic approach to antiterrorism is to employ preventive measures and heighten awareness among our personnel and their family members to deter and prevent terrorist incidents from occurring in the Presidio of Monterey community,” Huller explains.

Recent terrorist attacks have resulted in mass death. For instance, with nearly 130 people killed in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, ISIS has posed a serious threat to airport security, as stated by the International Business Times. According to IBT, the Paris attacks could potentially inspire the Transportation Security Administration to tighten the already-restrictive regulations which followed in the wake of the horrendous 9/11 terrorist attacks back in 2001.

Huller remarks that the general public plays a significant role in security.

“By understanding and recognizing indicators of terrorism and suspicious activities and reporting these, [citizens] help law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the battle against terrorism,” Huller notes.

Melinda Larson, public affairs officer for the Naval Support Activity Monterey, stresses that in the wake of these violent attacks, the importance of civilian observance exponentially increases.

“Recent terrorist attacks, whether by those affiliated with terrorist entities, copycats or individual perpetrators, serve as a reminder that U.S. citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness,” Larson comments.

In addition to civilian awareness, there is a large network of institutions collaborating against the threat of terrorism and discussing the protection of Monterey County from terrorist attacks.

Larson explains that the Naval Postgraduate School is only a small part of a much broader security organization.

“The Naval Postgraduate School is one of 15 tenant commands operating at Naval Support Activity Monterey,” she says. “NSAM provides the infrastructure support, including security forces, for the NPS and the entire installation.”

Evidently there are much larger systems at work and it truly takes a community to provide the security resources which protect the Monterey County.

The Presidio also works with other organizations to compound the security and anti-terrorism effort.

“We collaborate with other [Department of Defense] installations and law enforcement agencies in sharing information to improve our security,” Huller expresses.

Interestingly, it appears that the Monterey Regional Airport has neglected to make significant changes in protocol in response to the recent ISIS attacks, as Manager of Airport Operations Kenneth Griggs indicates.

“There have not been any regulatory directives to the airport in general,” Griggs reveals.

It appears, however, that several other agencies are collaborating to keep Monterey County protected.

-Melissa Pavloff