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Defense Department Aligning Insider Threat Detection

Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marines will collaborate to prevent security incidents such as last year's deadly shooting at Fort Hood.
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Internet-based "neighborhood watch" programs and improved data sharing are two of the ways the U.S. military plans to better align its security efforts as a reaction to a deadly shooting at Fort Hood last year.

Based on a report examining the incident, military leaders have concluded that protecting military bases and facilities only from external threats is no longer a viable strategy, according to the Department of Defense (DoD).

The four main branches of the military -- the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines -- plan to share information and coordinate efforts more closely to ensure military personnel are protected from insider threats. They also plan to align their own efforts with law-enforcement agencies and mental-health professionals.

The report, "Protecting the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood," was commissioned after Maj. Nidal Hasan went on a shooting rampage that left 13 dead and 31 wounded on Nov. 5, 2009. Hasan was working as an Army psychiatrist at the time, and investigations conducted before and after the shooting discovered that he was in communication with a known radical Islamist.

As part of efforts to raise red flags before such incidents can occur in the future, the armed services will continue to develop the web-based iWatch and iSalute programs, which emulate civilian neighborhood-watch programs, they said. The programs educate military personnel about behaviors and activities that may be connected to terrorism or criminal activity, and allow them to report that activity online.

The DoD also will create a threat awareness and reporting program and institute training to improve insider-threat information sharing, as well as bolster incident-response and anti-terrorism awareness, it said.

Military leaders have been seeking ways to prevent or deter insider threats for some time. Last month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the defense research arm of the DoD, said it's developing technology to help better identify potential insider threats before they can do damage.

DARPA's anomaly detection at multiple scales (ADAMS) program will produce technology that can sift through the behavioral signs that may lead to someone turning on his or her cohorts, and prevent the action before it happens, according to the agency.

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