How Safe Are Military Bases?

washington navy yard shooting responders

With the recent tragic on Sept 16 where a heavily armed contractor gunned down 12 defense employees at a secured Navy base in Washington DC.

Investigators will be sorting through the detail reports and come up with a plan to prevent future incidents. This won’t be the first time for lawmakers and defense leaders to go over base security protocols, terror threat information and personnel background check procedures.

In the Fort Hood, Texas shooting after math base leaders came up with an 86 page report detailing ways to prevent a mass shooting. Many recommendations emphasized increase awareness of warning signs but not so much on the physical changes to security operations, because the base security is already good.

Security Challenges
Each bases faces its own unique security challenges, but overall getting on base requires a pass. Fred Burton VP of Stratfor, Texas global intelligence company, pointing to military security systems are vulnerable to the process of getting base access cards that relies on the background check which doesn’t go into enough detail.

According to Burton getting a basic “Security Clearance” is easy. The names are run through various federal databases, but minor problems with the law and misdemeanor offenses are not in the federal databases.

Beefing up security at military base access points can be problematic as well. This can lead to huge backups at the main gates and a big ordeal if you’re constantly being scanned for weapons going into your work building.

Burton also speculates the ramifications of the work flow for people will be difficult, which in the long run can decrease the general morale issues. There is no silver bullet answer to prevent another tragedy.

Rapid Response
The only security measures from the Ft Hood incident that may have save lives during the Navy yard attack is “Rapid Response”. Rapid response was a key recommendation and became implemented to its military force protection responders. Law enforcement investigators said armed responders engaged Alexis for 7 minutes after the first shots were fired.

Burton’s view is “The fact it did happen on a military base means you are much more ready with an aggressive tactical response”. He also added, “If you took the same scenario and put it in a city in the midwest, the police response would have been slower and may have more people killed.”

Source:Chris Carroll of Stars&Stripes

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