Defense officials are fearful that their personnel may be targeted after receiving public threats from terrorists operating in the Middle East
The U.S. military is stepping up measures to protect against potential Islamic State and Greater Syria (ISIS) directed or inspired attacks following an uptick in threats coming from the Jihadist group.
Late last week, the Pentagon reportedly described service members and law enforcement officers as “legitimate targets” in an internally circulated memo sent out to its employees, according to the Military Times. The message came days after a lone gunman went on a shooting rampage at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, killing one soldier.
“We disseminated this advisory, not because of a specific threat, but as a reminder for Pentagon employees to be vigilant at home, at work, during travel and in their communities, by using individual protective measures,” Christopher Layman, a spokesman for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, told the Military Times.
Likewise, the Marine Corps sent out an announcement calling on troops to report “even the most minor suspicious activity” and to be prudent when posting messages on social media.
Officials at MacDill Air Force Base overseeing the 6th Air Mobility Wing in Tampa, Fla., also reportedly instructed troops to keep a low profile and avoid public affiliation with the military.
According to a dossier compiled for the U.N. Security Council, an estimated 15,000 individuals have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside ISIS and other militant organizations. The large number of fighters receiving training with such groups has raised fresh fears among law enforcement and military officials in the U.S. and abroad of attacks in their own countries should they return home.