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    New DOD Prevention, Assistance and Response Cadre Depart Quantico Training Event to Engage in PAR Efforts Nationwide

    New DOD Prevention, Assistance and Response Cadre Depart Quantico Training Event to Engage in PAR Efforts Nationwide

    Photo By Christopher Gillis | National Capital Region PAR Office Chief Brittani Blanchard is pictured during an...... read more read more

    QUANTICO , VA, UNITED STATES

    08.23.2023

    Story by John Joyce 

    Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency

    QUANTICO, Va. – Brittani Blanchard trained with the Prevention, Assistance and Response (PAR) cadre assigned to military installations across the country – including Hawaii, Alaska and Guam – for the first time and envisioned the PAR program’s future impact upon U.S. military and national security.

    The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) PAR office chief for the National Capital Region collaborated with her counterparts throughout intensive training sessions at the PAR Cadre Training Seminar held at DCSA’s Quantico headquarters from Aug. 7-10.

    Now, Blanchard – a four-year DCSA employee who is “very passionate about behavioral health education, training and awareness” – looks forward to a future of PAR coordination with her colleagues as they leverage new and emerging capabilities to provide military commanders and their civilian equivalent leaders with an understanding of overall risks within their organizations as well as options to care for their personnel that could result in a significantly reduced risk of insider threat and workplace violence.

    “This is an opportunity to meet our teammates as we practice and see what it takes to be successful in the position as a PAR office chief or as a PAR coordinator,” said Blanchard, who also serves as PAR office chief for the DCSA Mid-Atlantic Region. “It’s crucial for our entire team to be level set and on the same page regarding what the Prevention, Assistance and Response program is, the tools and assessments we are using, and how we should execute the program across DOD at our respective installations. This unification entails an effective communication strategy to convey to our various communities – military members, civilians, and their families – what we're doing. As PAR coordinators, we have diverse backgrounds and expertise, but we have knowledge, expertise and resources in common that are essential in order to effectively execute this hard mission.”

    The intense training for the PAR program – a newly formed capability under the direction of the DOD Insider Threat Management and Analysis Center (DITMAC) – prepared the new PAR coordinators to fulfill their roles supporting commanders and equivalent civilian leaders on installations and in the military community by conducting threat assessment and management, primarily focused in the area of workplace violence.

    “PAR is more than counterintelligence and security. You’ve got to be able to talk with the experts who are looking at suicide prevention and sexual assault prevention and response – all of those different aspects – and understand what recommendations can be made to help people get into those capabilities that can help them,” DITMAC Director James Shappell advised the PAR audience. “That’s a tough but an exciting job because you can actually see differences that you’ll make on the ground. So, talk to those folks and understand their programs and what you can pull from their programs to incorporate into your PAR efforts and talk to folks at the local levels about how you integrate with them.”

    Although recently hired, addressing risk – deterring, detecting, assessing and mitigating violent behaviors and actions – is not new to the PAR professionals with former careers predominantly in the counterintelligence, law enforcement and security communities spanning leadership positions from the private sector and state law enforcement to DOD and the federal government.

    "However, the transition many will make in this position is to understand their greater role in the prevention and assistance portion of their mission versus just responding to danger," said Dave Paravecchia, chief of the DOD PAR Division at DITMAC, in an interview during the seminar. "Specific to workplace violence, the PAR cadre are trained on indicators of violent behaviors, friction points in an individual's life which may be influencing their behaviors and actions, data aggregation, threat and risk assessment, subject professional judgement tools, coping mechanisms, available services and other mitigation measures that can be implemented by military and civilian leaders to help move someone off the path of violence." 

    In all, 36 PAR coordinators will utilize a multidisciplinary approach through collaboration with trained professionals, integrated prevention experts, and key stakeholders to develop tailored risk assessments and mitigation strategies while leading PAR programs at 12 joint bases or regions and five service specific military installations in fiscal year 2023.

    DOD PREVENTION PLAN of ACTION 2.0

    “You are the component PAR team on the ground doing the goodness of what this program is here to do – help the military services get after workplace violence issues,” Paravecchia told the PAR coordinators on the seminar’s first day while briefing the cadre on their role in implementing DOD’s Prevention Plan of Action (PPoA) 2.0. “We are asking you to ensure that commanders are situationally aware of the risks on their installation.”
    The PPoA 2.0 approach focuses on integrated prevention that will require finding shared solutions to the problems of workplace violence, sexual assault, harassment, retaliation, domestic abuse, suicide and child abuse. This range of harmful behaviors – which share many risk and protective factors – require diverse and unique prevention approaches.

    “We follow this PPoA to achieve our ultimate goal – reduce workplace violence,” Paravecchia told the PAR cadre while describing how it will align competing priorities, increase program effectiveness, ensure efficient use of resources, and help leaders cultivate safe and healthy climates across the military community. “This strategy guides how we do prevention in the DOD. The other prevention subject matter experts use it to reduce sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence. You’re going to work side by side with other stakeholders in the violence arena.”

    In their efforts to prevent workplace and other violent issues, PAR cadre will present briefings to the military community and conduct outreach, education and training on reporting and indicators of violence to help individuals understand when problems may be arising.

    PAR COORDINATION, COLLABORATION and ADVISEMENT

    As they provide assistance, PAR coordinators will work closely with prevention and human resource experts to ensure military and civilian leaders are aware of various services such as financial planning, marriage counseling and other employee assistance programs while assisting them in dealing with any friction points in their lives that are causing them to act or behave violently.

    In terms of response – if the PAR professionals learn that an individual is beginning to escalate further down the path of violence – they will work closely with law enforcement, security and leadership to better understand the risk and help develop potential mitigation measures to stop the threat.

    “We’re trying to prevent the next Fort Hood,” DCSA Director William Lietzau told the PAR audience in his welcoming remarks at the seminar. “I’m giving you free rein to think outside the box. You don’t have the benefit of having someone to do a turnover with. There’s no SOP on the desk when you get there. There’s no right answer. You have to come up with it. You are creating policies.”

    Since the Fort Hood – now known as Fort Cavazos – Texas, shooting in 2009, DOD continued to suffer from high profile violent and active shooter events at military installations, including the Washington D.C. Navy Yard in 2013; Fort Hood in 2014; Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 2016; Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, in 2019; and Fort Stewart, Ga., in 2022.

    “I need you to figure out how to solve problems. This is a people-oriented business and it’s true of all of our programs at DCSA but in your case especially,” said Lietzau, regarding the necessity for the PAR cadre to address issues and behaviors as early as possible by recognizing a risk an individual poses, making services to help the individual available, and working to remove individuals from the path of violence to salvage careers and maintain unit readiness and cohesion.

    “The biggest thing you can do from my perspective is to get to the place where for whatever reason – religious, personal comprehension of leadership styles, any reason – is to empty yourself of personal motivations that may cause you to do something for your own career advancement and work on behalf of the organization, the mission and the people that you lead,” Lietzau advised. “You’re going to be in a situation where you may very well prevent something and I’m going to thank you now for preventing the tragedy that no one can give you credit for. It’s the nature of your job – being selfless to do things that you know is good for the country. It’s not grand and while you’re doing it – figure out how we can better set up this system so that we can do it in a broader way across the federal government to save lives and accomplish our mission.”

    PAR MITIGATION and PREVENTION PRESSURE POINTS

    The commanders at military installations – from Army garrisons to Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and joint bases – can anticipate motivated, collaborative and innovative PAR professionals from DCSA who will pay close attention to workplace violence issues within the installations’ organizations and communities.

    “DCSA is so well placed in industry, academia and across the hubs to really contribute and make an impact – leverage this agency,” Andrew Lochli, DCSA assistant director for Counterintelligence and Insider Threat, advised the PAR professionals. “If someone is not suitable to hold a clearance, that’s the mitigation we need. If someone needs to go to family advocacy to get some help and that takes them off the critical path, that’s the mitigation we need.”

    The mitigation is accomplished as PAR coordinators advise the commander and base leadership in the prevention, assistance and response to potential threats while they gather information and work with stakeholders and members of the commander’s staff. The information includes a holistic assessment of an individual or threat in order to make recommendations that will raise awareness, assist with leader decision making, and help prevent and reduce risk.

    “I think back to my time as an analyst in the DITMAC Analysis and Mitigation Division as we're getting the PAR program set up to help stop people from making career ending decisions, to prevent them from hurting their fellow community members, to maintain unit readiness and enhance unit cohesion,” said Blanchard. “I proactively look for those prevention pressure points, like where can we be the most effective in preventing an issue, stressor or incident from escalating or turning into a loss of life. It's always important to take a step back and consider a whole person concept and being empathetic, asking, ‘what is this person possibly going through’ in order to provide our most effective PAR response.”

    The remedy to prevent a potential act of workplace violence and put that person on the right track may be as simple as financial or marriage counseling.

    “Catching indicators at its earliest stage can really help deter people from committing acts of violence against their workplace,” said Blanchard. “It also enhances the morale of personnel. People are able to recognize and appreciate that their leadership cares enough to notice that there is something wrong and take action to help them.”

    In the case of someone who progresses too far down a path of violence, when it’s too late to render prevention and assistance, the response tenet requires PAR coordinators to ensure law enforcement, security and insider threat personnel are aware of the situation if they are not already involved.

    All aspects of the PAR program development from education and training to collaboration and policy making will continue in the wake of the training seminar’s conclusion. A yearlong assessment of the program will move through three phases of its initial operating capability until DCSA DITMAC judges the program fully operational. This decision is scheduled for the first quarter of fiscal year 2025.

    “We will continue to mature the PAR program in collaboration with our stakeholders in prevention, law enforcement, security and insider threat to decrease the prevalence of violence on different installations, military services and the department,” said Paravecchia. “Over time, we will shape various metrics that will help highlight the return of investment in this program and improve awareness for leaders where workplace violence issues may exist within different subordinate commands and organizations.”

    PAR PROGRAM HISTORY

    The PAR program was originally developed as a result of the Fort Hood mass shooting in 2009.

    In 2017, DOD issued a memorandum entitled ‘Final Implementation Actions of Fort Hood Recommendations: Managing Risk of Potentially Violent Behavior through Prevention, Assistance, and Response Capabilities,’ outlining PAR requirements throughout the department.

    In June 2022 – to further PAR capabilities across DOD – DCSA was given the mission to establish a centralized PAR capability that standardizes implementation of insider threat program requirements while reducing DOD component concerns about organizational responsibilities and resourcing requirements.

    The DCSA PAR program – one of several programs being implemented in response to the June 2022 order to expand and modernize DOD’s enterprise insider threat efforts – also includes:

    • A centralized Behavioral Threat Analysis Center.
    • A robust DITMAC System of Systems information technology capability to enhance case-management capabilities and advanced analytics to identify trends.
    • An Insider Threat Assessment program.
    • A DOD Workforce Insider Threat hotline to create a department-wide virtual, anonymous reporting capability, and triage management center.

    A Dec. 12, 2014, memorandum issued by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) for Intelligence – now OUSD for Intelligence and Security – directed the establishment of DITMAC and its concept of operations. As a result of insider threat program evolution, the memorandum includes the current PAR program among other programs that are intended to support insider threat activities in the military services, the intelligence community, and DOD agencies through the development, implementation and sustainment of technologies that aid in the management, analysis and mitigation of insider threat information.

    To learn more about America’s Gatekeepers at DCSA and DITMAC, visit www.DCSA.mil.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 08.23.2023
    Date Posted: 08.23.2023 08:53
    Story ID: 451939
    Location: QUANTICO , VA, US

    Web Views: 674
    Downloads: 0

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