OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: IG report fuels contractor concerns

The Navy “did not follow federal credentialing standards and DOD contractor vetting requirements and did not provide 7 of the 10 installations visited the appropriate resources and capabilities to conduct required contractor background checks,” the report concluded.

The vetting program that was reviewed by the IG involved background checks conducted by Eid Passport. The report said the felons were given access to bases because the company did not identify the convictions in its initial public records checks.

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The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) called for the program to be discontinued.

“This program wasted money, allowed dozens of felons access to installations they should never have had, and utterly lacked competent oversight,” she said in a statement.

Lawmakers demand contractor reform: Monday’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard prompted lawmakers to issue fresh calls for Congress to revisit how U.S. national security agencies select civilian contractors.

"It may be time for a [congressional] review to see how well these contractors are doing their jobs" in terms of vetting candidates for sensitive, national security positions, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Tuesday. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) openly questioned whether the process government agencies use to vet civilians before allowing them access to highly sensitive national security issues is "fundamentally broken."

Alexis was identified as a former Navy petty officer 3rd class who enlisted in the Navy in 2007, and was reportedly working as an information technology contractor at the Navy Yard. 

While in the Navy, Alexis was reportedly arrested on misdemeanor weapons charges in Fort Worth, Texas, which led to him leaving the service in 2011. 

Alexis's hiring as a Navy IT contractor, despite his criminal record, remains the biggest question mark for Graham and other lawmakers.

The issue first came to light earlier this year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked reams of classified information on the agency's domestic intelligence programs to the media. 

"I think it is a serious question [since] we have seen this [happen] in a lot of different areas" within government agencies, Sessions said. 

Hagel orders security review: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is ordering a security review of U.S. bases across the globe in the wake of Monday’s mass shooting at the Navy Yard, according to a senior Pentagon official.

Hagel could announce the process for the review as early as Wednesday, the official said.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus also announced a security review of all Navy and Marine Corps facilities in response to the Navy Yard attack.

"I ordered a review of every Navy and Marine Corps base in the United States to ensure that we live up to our responsibility of taking care of our people,” he said in a statement.

Mabus said he wants the report done within two weeks, by Oct. 1.

Dutch agree to F-35 deal: The controversial F-35 program racked up a big international win on Tuesday when the Netherlands picked the American warplane as its next fighter jet. 

Amsterdam announced the deal to replace the 37 F-16 fighters with an estimated price tag of $6 billion, according to a statement from Amsterdam. 

"After comparing the candidates ... and updating the relevant information in 2013, the government has decided, on operational, financial and economic grounds, to select the F-35 as the new fighter aircraft for the Netherlands armed forces," Dutch government officials said Monday. 

The Netherlands deal comes at a critical time for the F-35 program, which has suffered multiple setbacks on both the domestic and international sides. 

Last May, Australia opted to delay its planned F-35 purchases by two years, citing increased costs and schedule delays in the jet's development. 

In December of that year, Canada announced plans to restart its fighter competition, after a government investigation found military leaders in the country had misled decision makers in Ottawa on the jet's costs and capabilities. 

Defense analysts also argue canceling the F-35, along with the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship and Marine Corps V-22 Osprey, could help the Pentagon cope with severe budget cuts under the White House's sequestration plan. 


In Case You Missed It:

— Obama orders security clearance review

— Graham readying force resolution against Iran

— Car bomb hit checkpoint at Syria-Turkey border

— Levin: GOP turned Syria deal to ‘ice skating contest’

— Gray: Sequester could have role in shooting


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