Fort Drum’s two antiterrorism officers spend much of their time examining the installation through the enemy’s eyes, ensuring that the world’s worst-case scenarios never make it onto the installation.
Efforts by these men – John Simard and Bill Ladd – to secure the post paid off last month when the program they run at Fort Drum was named best in the Army.
Winning the 2012 Best Army Antiterrorism Program (Large Installation) is quite an honor for the duo – but they are quick to point out that it took a team effort.
“We have support for the Antiterrorism Program across the installation,” Simard said. “Everybody participates. Everybody puts their two cents in. That’s what makes it so strong.”
Simard’s partner said involving the entire 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum community is a key to raising awareness of the nature and dangers of terrorism.
“It’s not just us running this program,” Ladd said. “It’s a very robust program that requires a lot of participation from the tenant units and organizations on the installation.”
Over the past year, members of Fort Drum’s Antiterrorism Program have done all they can to enhance the installation’s aggressive defensive measures, securing everything from the post’s perimeter and gates to its personnel and buildings.
They helped plan for the expansion of the mass notification system with a major core upgrade, completed reconstruction of four installation active access control points, constructed an additional commercial vehicle access lane onto post and installed stationary vertical barriers near active barriers.
They also completed the upgrade of more than 500 alarm systems, provided focused active shooter situational training, conducted exercises to raise antiterrorism awareness in local communities and executed a full-scale barrier plan at all ACPs.
“When you submit a nomination packet, you know you have a good program,” Ladd said. “But you also know there is room for improvement in places.
“Based on the results in March 2012 from our higher headquarters’ assessment, we felt we would have the ability to compete fairly strongly in the competition,” he added, referring to the results of an inspection by a team from the Atlantic Region of Installation Management Command.
It’s not the first time that Fort Drum’s antiterrorism program has received the spotlight. Ladd, who assumed his current position a year ago, said the program was a runner-up two years ago.
In addition, Simard received the Army’s individual award for Best Antiterrorism Program Manager in 2007.
The Antiterrorism Program at Fort Drum falls under the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. Ladd said antiterrorism efforts involve the commitment and collaboration of every military unit and civilian directorate. He gave the example of Fort Drum’s Protection Working Group, whose members, including 10th Mountain Division Soldiers, meet every month.
According to official rules, the Army Antiterrorism Awards Program was established to recognize excellence and significant achievements in the antiterrorism field and those who work hard behind the scenes to protect Army personnel, Family Members, facilities and installations.
The Army Antiterrorism Awards Board convened in late December to begin judging nominations.
Fort Drum won the first and most prestigious element of the Army’s Antiterrorism Awards Program – Large Installation “Category A,” which is defined as a full-service garrison with a total military and civilian workforce population that exceeds 20,000.
Officials said the antiterrorism award’s furthest advancement will be at the Army level this year, since there is no indication of a DoD-level competition.
Ladd said due to fiscal constraints, the annual antiterrorism conference this year where awards are typically presented was cancelled. In addition, he said no indications of a cash prize for Fort Drum’s win have surfaced.
Although their greatest personal reward would be in knowing an antiterrorism measure they implemented saved lives during a real event, Ladd and Simard said they were happy to receive news of the win and gladly accept it on behalf of the post’s antiterrorism community.
“More than anything, this is just really good for Fort Drum,” Ladd said.
“It’s not about Bill and (me),” Simard added. “It’s about the whole installation doing their part.”