When you think of antiterrorism, the catch phrase, “See Something, Say Something,” probably comes to mind.
The man behind that message at Fort Hood is Daniel Spencer, chief of Force Protection, Security, and Intelligence for the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Operations Division’s Protection Branch. Spencer has been selected as the recipient of the Lieutenant Colonel Ronald C. Francis Best AT Program Manager Award, while the team he leads has been selected as the Army’s best AT Program, for the second time in the past three years.
“Our success … at Fort Hood is truly the result of our teamwork,” Spencer, a 30-year Navy veteran who retired from active service in 2014 to continue his career in civil service as a civilian, said, noting that the “team” extends far beyond the four people on his staff, but includes a myriad of organizations both inside and outside the gates of Fort Hood.
Spencer added that having senior leader “buy-in” is also important to his team’s success, just as his team remains focused on constantly improving their processes.
“We test our capabilities and our plans monthly,” he explained. “We don’t like to see what we’re doing right. We like to see what we’re doing wrong and what we can do better.”
In addition to Spencer’s selection and the overall win for the post’s AT program, three of Spencer’s team were also recognized as inductees for this year’s AT Honor Roll, an honor each has earned multiple times.
“To me, that means we were recognized for doing what the Army is paying me to do — that is not only to think outside the box as an antiterrorism officer, but to teach people … how to be prepared, (to) know what to do … just sharing the message,” operations officer Susan Davis, who earned selection to the AT Honor Roll for the second time in four years, said.
“It’s a goal that we strived for, and it takes the whole team to get there,” operations and antiterrorism officer Joe Tainatongo, said. “(It’s) teamwork.”
The program’s success hinges upon the coordination and cooperation with organizations throughout the installation, and outside of it, as well.
“It’s having local agencies participate in our program and share that information so our program can be more effective,” Tainatongo said. “That’s how we integrate it. Other installations look at how we do that.”
Likewise, they have taken a more personal approach to engage and invest in command teams across post.
“We have incorporated a face-to-face office call that we’re doing with commanders and command teams,” Davis explained. “This year, our focus has been meeting with the commanders and command sergeant majors, educating them on the program and getting them more involved. So far, it has been absolutely fantastic.”
While the Great Place can boast the best antiterrorism program in the Army, the garrison antiterrorism staff urges the community not to become complacent.
“The biggest challenge is complacency,” team member Victor Hage said, who has been selected to the AT Honor Roll five times as an operations and force protection officer. “When something doesn’t happen, or there isn’t an incident, people may think nothing is going to happen. They’re not staying vigilant. Vigilance is the key, (because) complacency kills.”
That’s where the slogan “See Something, Say Something” comes in.
“Reporting is the key to success in mitigating our threat on the installation,” Tainatongo said.
Spencer came to Fort Hood from a similar civil service position at Stuttgart, Germany. He said he chose Fort Hood because he saw it as a challenge to take on an installation five times what he had overseas. Joining an award-winning team in 2017 made his transition to the Great Place a smooth one.
“I would say that I’m blessed,” Spencer said. “I walked into a tremendous team and as much as you could say I influenced them, I think it’s mutual. They have influenced me.”