|Force Security Top Priority in Kuwait|
Force Security Top Priority in Kuwait
By Major Leanne Smullen, Army News Service.
Camp Doha, Kuwait -- (ANS) October 26, 2001 -- "Kuwait is about as tense right now as it's been since I've been here," said Col. David Lamm, commander of ARCENT-Kuwait, the Army element of U.S. Central Command.
"There is a lot of anti-Western sentiment and behavior out there right now, and we're here today to tell you what we're doing to keep you safe," Lamm said at a town hall meeting Oct. 17 in the Camp Doha theater as he discussed safety for those who live off post.
The command has increased security around the different American housing areas near Kuwait City, Lamm said. He added that within the next month, off-post residents also will see an increased presence of security officers at their buildings.
"I thought the town hall meeting was a great forum in which to be kept up to date on the latest events. ...it will help make everyone feel more secure," said Marilyn Al-Mansoor, budget technician with ARCENT-KU Resource Management.
One theme of the town hall meeting woven through various presentations was how individuals could better protect themselves when off-post by traveling and shopping only when necessary, dressing conservatively, avoiding American restaurants, checking vehicles before getting in, inspecting packages and mail closely and reporting anything suspicious.
"If you wait six to12 hours before telling us about something that doesn't seem quite right, there's not much we can do at that point," said Maj. Shane Wallace, ARCENT-KU Provost Marshal.
"Report suspicious activities immediately, and we have a better chance of catching the bad guys."
Maj. Charles Heatherly, the civil affairs officer, also briefed attendees on Noncombatant Evacuation Operations in Kuwait. NEO plans are designed to protect U.S. citizens and designated foreign nationals by evacuating them if the host nation cannot maintain stability, he said.
"I can tell you that the Kuwaiti government has very good control here and things would have to get pretty bad, like during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, before we would have to implement NEO," said Maj. Heatherly. "We are just giving this presentation to let you know what we would do should something like that happen. But we don't anticipate that it will."
Lamm ended his part of the town hall meeting by telling the audience, "Kuwait is a relatively safe place to live, but with the world situation, the tension is higher right now," he said.
"When I cannot guarantee your safety, I will come to your leadership and I'll let them know that conditions aren't safe, and we'll respond appropriately. You have my promise," he added.
(Editor's note: Maj. Leanne Smullens is commander of the 50th Public Affairs Detachment in Kuwait.)