While the arrest of the Saudi student in Lubbock has raised awareness over the likelihood of an attack against Cannon Air Force Base and the surrounding community, it is important to remember that the threat of terrorism on U.S. military bases still exists since the tragic events of 9/11.
Force protection specialists from Cannon agree that the threat of homegrown violent extremism is a legitimate threat and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Because of this, programs have been established that require Cannon to regularly prepare to defend and mitigate the impact of a terrorist act, regardless of the style or magnitude of the attack. While it is alarming that such an event occurred so close to home, rest assured that Cannon is well prepared to handle any terrorist act.
Cannon’s strength in preventing a terrorist attack is not simply our military firepower. It comes from the security measures used on base and — most importantly — the support of the men and women of Clovis, Portales and the surrounding High Plains area. For this reason, the community must continue to use its “eagle eyes” to identify threats and report suspicious activity to authorities as soon as possible.
It was not a local law enforcement officer or an FBI agent who caught the engineering student, but rather a private citizen who reported suspicious activity to authorities. The attempted New York City Times Square bombing was foiled not because of the NYC police in the squad car down the street, but because of the T-shirt vendor who observed smoke and fumes leaking out of the vehicle.
Cannon’s first line of defense is the people who live and work here. A community with “eagle eyes” — one that is proactive in reporting suspicious activity to local law enforcement and speaking up when things “don’t seem quite right,” — can guard against homegrown violent extremism and the terrorist threat it brings.
If you see something suspicious, call the 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron law enforcement desk at 575-784-4111 or the Clovis Police Department at 575-769-1921 to file a report.