The Military Affairs Council met Thursday afternoon, during which time the subject of recent hostilities between the United States and Iran came up.
MAC Director Craig Bender said he felt people should be vigilant at times when tensions are high between the United States and other nations, because, he said, Junction City is so near an Army base.
“So one thing that I put out at our staff meeting was just ‘be vigilant,’” he said. “We live two miles from (Fort Riley.) So you never know when an attack could come. So just be wary of things and things that look unusual — and if they do, call somebody. So just always be alert to what’s going on.”
“If you see something, say something,” added MAC board member Mark Edwards.
Bender said he believed the risk to Fort Riley and its surrounding communities was low even before the Iran situation began to de-escalate.
On Thursday, he said the likelihood of the post being attacked was “very low,” in part because of its location in middle America and in part because there are more strategic targets elsewhere around the country.
“We do have aircraft, but I think I think we’re on the lower spectrum,” Bender said. “I think I think the likelihood is low overall. (I) just want to make sure that people are aware.”
When asked what felt people should watch out for, he said people should be aware of anything out-of-the-ordinary.
“Anytime you see something — somebody like outside the gate, whether they’re taking pictures, or there are packages alongside the road or just things that aren’t normal, and it stands out,” he said. “(It’s) better just have it checked into than the other way (around).”
When asked, Bender indicated he was not worried about the possibility that this mindset could incite paranoia among well-meaning citizens.
“I think, at least from what we’ve seen in the news, it seems like things are de escalating,” he said. “You always have radicalists. But they could be anywhere. So I really think (the risk is) pretty low, but just trying to make sure people are aware.”
Bender offered his overall take on the situation, which has since been defused.
“I think we had to respond to the embassy (attack),” he said. “I think we did that. I think Iran kind of had their chance to save face for lack of a better term. And hopefully, it just goes down from there. So I think the response has been very good and very effective thus far, hopefully just stays at that.”