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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Sept. 21, 2022

Insider Threat Awareness Month is here. Are you ready?

By Zach Shapiro, MyCG Writer

If you encountered an insider threat, what would you do? September 2022 marks the fourth annual National Insider Threat Awareness Month (NITAM). We all help maintain security and deter and prevent threats to the workforce. We all serve as a critical layer of protection against those threats, unusual behavior, and other vulnerabilities. 

The Coast Guard Insider Threat Program protects the service against insider threats. Insider threats can include activities, but are not limited to espionage, unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or classified information, or harming colleagues and or oneself. 

The team works hard to balance their mission with the need to continually protect members’ civil liberties and privacy. If you are unsure about whether to report, it is always better to err on the side of caution and reach out to the Insider Threat team.

To provide the Coast Guard community more context about this important occasion, MyCG spoke with John Goodwill, headquarters coordinator for the Coast Guard’s Insider Threat Program. He broke down some of the common myths about the Insider Threat Program to help keep all Coast Guard members informed and prepared for any suspicious behavior they may encounter.

Myth 1: Insider Threat Awareness Month is a counterintelligence (CI) initiative.

No, it is not a counterintelligence initiative. Insider Threat Awareness Month was created to bring awareness to the federal campaign “See Something, Say Something”. 

Myth 2: Insider threats do not pose a major danger to the Coast Guard and its mission and vision.

Insiders can cause severe damage to the Coast Guard’s mission in many ways. This could be due to theft of government property, damage to systems, causing harm to oneself and to others, or by taking information and providing it to people who are unauthorized to have access to or knowledge of it.  

Myth 3: Insider threats are only intentional actions like espionage and sabotage.

Myth: Insider threats can be intentional and unintentional. An insider can use their access, wittingly or unwittingly, to do harm to national security. Accidentally removing classified information or unauthorized disclosure of controlled unclassified information can threaten the safety and well-being of colleagues and shipmates across the workforce. It is on all of us to be vigilant and careful.

Myth 4: Reporting suspicious behavior to the Insider Threat Team will get the person I report in trouble.

Not necessarily; it depends on the scenario. For example, If the person did something that violated policy, and or the law, they could end up being prosecuted or disciplined for their actions. However, if there was concern for an individual’s well-being, your actions could help a person get the help they need rather than getting them into trouble.

Ultimately, the Insider Threat team is here to deter, detect, and mitigate threats. It’s not about getting colleagues in trouble. Reporting unusual behavior helps the Insider Threat team distinguish between benign behavior and real danger.

In the past, some reports have even helped the Insider Threat Program direct the employee in question to the resources they needed. Coast Guard members can help colleagues and shipmates in need get the support they require if they are experiencing personal, financial, or health challenges. 

We are all stronger when we look out for each other. We can all help keep the workforce safe and secure, and the Insider Threat team is here to help.

To report suspicious behavior or speak with a member of the team, please visit the dedicated Insider Threat portal


  • Coast Guard Insider Threat Portal
  • For more information about National Insider Threat Awareness Month and to view online resources and trainings, visit the NITAM website.

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