Policy & Strategy

Fort Hood shootings cast shadow over Navy Yard massacre

Improved alert notices, increased training of base security personnel, and better information sharing between base security and local law enforcement helped first responders react to the Navy Yard shootings, according to a Pentagon official. 

{mosads}”We are in a better place now,” than before the Fort Hood attacks, the official said regarding base security measures during a briefing at the Pentagon. 

Those improvements were part of a list of 82 security recommendations issued by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates after the Fort Hood attack. 

Army Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers and wounded 32 in a shooting spree at the sprawling Army base. 

In August, he was sentenced to death by a military court for the shootings. 

On Monday, Navy contractor and former petty officer Aaron Alexis killed 12 and wounded several more people during a shooting spree at the Navy Yard. 

Alexis, who had a prior record of weapon-related arrests during his time in the Navy, was killed by police during the shootout. 

At the time of the Navy Yard killings, the Pentagon had only implemented 52 of the 82 recommendations called for by Gates two years before. 

Those measures include actively looking for psychological indicators or “patterns that might lead to violence” among military and civilian staff on military bases, according to the official. 

Pentagon officials are still working to create “threat management units” at either the service level or in each individual command, to track and detect possible threats to domestic and international U.S. military bases, the official added.

The problem is, DOD officials are still attempting to strike “a bit of a balance” between overly intensive security practices and ensuring the safety of military and civilians at Pentagon installations, according to the official. 

Defense Department officials are also dealing with privacy issues in its attempt to gather information on military personnel or civilians working on base, the official added. 

That said, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the “rapid implementation” of the remaining Fort Hood security recommendations in the wake of the Navy Yard shootings. 

The Pentagon chief has also ordered a worldwide security review of U.S. bases in response to Monday’s attack. 

On Tuesday, the Pentagon released a scathing inspector general (IG) report detailing numerous flaws in security measures at Navy installations. 

The IG report specifically found that 52 felons had received unauthorized access to military facilities for 62 to 1,035 days. It also said that had placed “military personnel, dependents, civilians, and installations at an increased security risk.”

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