Army to consider tighter security at recruiting centers

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The Army will look at how to better secure its recruiting centers, the Army chief said Friday, a day after a lone-wolf shooter killed four Marines at a reserve center in Chattanooga.  

"We will conduct an assessment once we get more information on what happened and we'll see if there's anything else we need to do in order to better secure our young men and women who are serving," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told Pentagon reporters Friday. 

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On Thursday afternoon, authorities say, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen originally from Kuwait, opened fire at an armed forces recruitment center before driving to a Naval and Marine Corps reserve center a few miles away and opening fire again, killing four Marines. 

Odierno said Army recruiters, like Navy and Marine recruiters, are not armed. He said before considering it, the Army will have to figure out what happened and decide if that will make a difference. 

There are also legal issues involved in arming soldiers in civilian areas, he said. Possible workarounds could be using armed security guards or local police, but the Army has to look at what happened in Tennessee first, he added.

"We will assess what happened, and then we will decide what else we need to do," he said. 

The FBI has not attributed a motive to the shooting yet, but local authorities called it an "act of domestic terrorism." 

"We are treating this as an act of domestic terrorism,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee Bill Killian. “This is a sad day for the United States.”

Defense Secretary Ash Carter called the shootings a "senseless act of violence" and a "heinous crime."  

"My thoughts and prayers — along with those of the men and women of the Department of Defense — are with the families of those killed in this senseless act of violence and with all those touched by this tragedy, including our Navy and Marine Corps family," he said in a statement. 

The Army raised its threat levels at military installations around the country in early May after a shooting in Texas at contest to draw the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.
 
"We've seen what happened in Texas, we've seen other social media and internet-based discussions and threats, and so we have detected a general increase in the overall environment that's caused us to want to do this," Army Col. Steve Warren said at the time.

Odierno said he expected lone-wolf attacks to continue. 

"This threat of [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and] their message, propaganda, whatever you want to call it, is something that is attracting individuals around the world, and we have to be very aware of it," he said. 

"I think because of the availability of information to individuals, I think it increases the potential of people being individually radicalized and deciding to do things," he said.