RAMP Up Physical Security

by Jeffrey L. Holmes


Military Police check vehicles during a random vehicle inspection.Military Police check vehicles during a random vehicle inspection.

Military Police check vehicles during a random vehicle inspection.

  Army Regulation (AR) 525-13, Antiterrorism Force Protection (AT/FP):

 Security of Personnel, Information, and Critical Resources, is being rewritten. However, one effective program that is likely to remain in the AR is the Random Antiterrorism Measures Program (RAMP). This program is designed to be used at all threat condition levels to increase physical security awareness throughout an installation. RAMP involves the random use of measures identified in AR 525-13 for various threat conditions to make installation operations less predictable and therefore more secure.


    The program usually includes searches of privately owned vehicles at access control points or other high-traffic areas on an installation. At random times and dates, security personnel check vehicle trunks or undercarriages or inspect the entire vehicle. Similarly, military police or other security personnel inspect documents to ensure the vehicles are properly registered and insured and that the drivers have valid drivers' licenses. Military police also randomly check for valid military identification at access control points, high-visibility areas such as command headquarters buildings, or high-population areas such as commissaries or post exchanges. During these identification checks, security personnel also may inspect packages and briefcases.


    By varying the implementation of these procedures, the installation changes the external appearance of its physical security measures in ways that extremists or terrorists cannot predict. Use of RAMP procedures makes an installation a much less desirable target for terrorism.


    RAMP procedures should include operations security to increase awareness of unusual events throughout the installation. Orientation briefings for new soldiers, employees, and family members can include information to increase their security awareness. Military sponsored newspapers also can remind personnel to be alert at all times. For example, people should be told to watch for strangers asking questions about the post, vehicles parked where they do not belong or for long periods of time, and suspicious packages left in highly populated areas. Such incidents should be reported immediately to the building custodian, military police, or other security forces of the unit, activity, or installation.


    Installations must take measures to reduce the possibility of terrorist or extremist activities. Implementing RAMP procedures and having an alert population will go a long way toward ensuring the safety of those who live and work on an installation.


        Jeffrey L. Holmes, a logistics management specialist for the Readiness and Logistics Business Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is the team leader for antiterrorism and force protection planning at Fort Sam Houston. He has a bachelor's degree from California State University at Long Beach and is a graduate of the Professional Military Comptroller School and the Army Sustaining Base Leadership and Management Course.

    The author would like to thank Linda Furlow of the Directorate of Public Safety at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, for the photos used in this article.