Army rolls out ‘see something, say something’ app
- By Mark Pomerleau
- Mar 17, 2016
High-profile incidents at military facilities -- such as the shooting at a Chattanooga, Tenn., Army recruiting center -- have heightened the necessity for securing bases and personnel even on U.S. soil. To help secure bases around the country, the Army is using the iWatch mobile application, an advanced crime tipping, alerting and analytics platform allowing users to report suspicious activity.
Developed by CloseWatch, the app relies a system called intelligent tactical alert groups to categorize inbound tips based on FBI uniform crime reporting codes and to sort information by rank, role and region. More serious threats such as terror incidents or active shooters are forwarded to agencies at that particular location automatically.
Army personnel and family members on 20 domestic bases now can use iWatch to anonymously or overtly report suspicious activity. The platform can process tips in less than eight seconds -- significantly faster than the 911 processing, although the app is not intended to substitute for 911 in emergencies. Users also can receive text message updates from the system.
The iWatch Army smartphone app makes reporting suspicious activity easy, said Mike Malcolm of the Army Materiel Command’s protection division. "Many terrorist plots are disrupted because somebody saw something and reported it," he said. "We're hoping our workforce will take advantage of this app that puts reporting tools at their fingertips."
Army security officials are interested in reports about activity or behavior that may indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime. The program augments the Department of Homeland Security's own campaign that encourages people to "See Something, Say Something," Malcolm said.
The iWatch app was piloted across 280 schools in Texas, where it stopped criminal activity, the company said.
“iWatch brings the concept of the neighborhood watch to the Facebook generation,” said Daniel Elliott, founder and chief marketing officer at CloseWatch. “The U.S. Army’s rapid deployment of our solution across strategic bases is further proof that citizens, in addition to surveillance, are key to protecting our troops and their families domestically and abroad.”
The list of Army installations using iWatch can be found here.
Mark Pomerleau is a former editorial fellow with GCN and Defense Systems.