ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. – National Insider Threat Awareness Month was observed by AEDC team members throughout the month of September.
The recognition of Insider Threat Awareness Month is a collaborative effort between several organizations – the National Counterintelligence and Security Center; National Insider Threat Task Force; Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Intelligence and Security; Department of Homeland Security; and the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency – to emphasize the importance of detecting, deterring and reporting insider threats.
This year’s theme for Insider Threat Awareness Month was “Resilience.”
On Thursdays throughout the month of September, Elise Sherrell, Facility Security Officer for National Aerospace Solutions, LLC, the Test Operations and Sustainment contractor at Arnold Air Force Base, and her Security Office staff, along with the Office of Special Investigations, or OSI, and Facility Support Services contractor Security Office staff, shared information regarding insider threats and resiliency with AEDC team members at booths they set up around base.
Some examples of individual resilience they shared, included: having good sleep patterns, developing a mental strategy to handle difficult situations, being able to bend and not break in difficult times, being supportive and practicing optimism.
“Insider Threat is a significant issue and the damages across government and private industry continue to grow, and are significant,” Sherrell said. “We are the trusted insiders who have access to critical and valuable information. We must ensure we are well-equipped to combat the potential by having a highly-trained workforce who are aware of the indicators, who buy-in to the Insider Threat Program; who are engaged in their work environment and with co-workers; and who are not hesitant to report.
“One of the primary purposes of a good Insider Threat program is prevention; that is, through education and awareness, prevent or break the cycle of circumstances which could lead someone down the path to becoming a true insider threat.”
Mike Schnable, Counterintelligence Chief with OSI Det. 106 at Arnold, added that insider threat awareness is an important topic to reflect on not just during the month of September but year-round.
“Our consistent message throughout the year is to report any anomalous behavior; and while 99.9 percent of the time the incident is probably nothing, we cannot afford to be wrong that .1 percent; we just can’t,” he said.
“Those who work day-to-day with potential insider threats know them better than anyone and are usually the first to notice a change in behavior. They will often rationalize this behavior and become complacent in reporting even minor concerns. However, reporting doesn’t get people fired or in trouble. It might actually prevent someone from doing something harmful to themselves or others. Or, they just might need to use a resource they didn’t know existed.”
Schnable said it’s the responsibility of every AEDC team member to deter, detect and mitigate insider threats.
“What we often see after the fact is that there were warning signs not acted on by those close to the insider. People will rationalize warning signs as just ‘a bad day’ or ‘not their business.’ When these warning signs occur, they often elicit concerns in family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers, but those who notice concerning behavior might not report their concerns for a variety of reasons.
“When an individual identifies a concerning behavior, no matter how slight, it is imperative that information is shared with personnel or organizations who have the capacity or authority to act.”
AEDC team members are encouraged to report any suspicious activity to the TOS FSO, 931-454-5891; Arnold Protective Services, 931-454-5662; or Base Operations Center, 931-454-7752.
OSI has anonymous tip lines available on its social media platforms: https://twitter.com/RealAFOSI; https://instagram.com/RealAFOSI; or https://www.facebook.com/AirForceOSI. Anonymous tips can also be submitted via text by sending AFOSI to 847411.