(Updated on 7/19/2016 with statements from the US Army Recruiting Command)
The Navy is implementing new security measures one year after the deadly attacks at military recruiting and reserve centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The attack on July 16, 2015, which claimed the lives of four Marines and a sailor, has prompted major changes at these off-base facilities that typically don’t have controlled entries.
They are usually stand-alone buildings or can be found in shopping strip malls.
While many lawmakers initially suggested arming recruiters inside these facilities, that is something that’s not being considered right now.
What is being put into place, however, are new mass warning notification systems and armed watch-standers who will provide protection and “deterrent value,” Cmdr. Dave Aliberti said.
According to Military Times, the guards will be trained, uniformed sailors whose sole purpose will be to provide security. The guards will not be authorized to respond to crime in the area of the stations, the article stated.
Many Navy recruiting stations across the country share office space with Army, Marine and Air Force recruiters -who have not decided to provide armed security. Popular Military reached out to the Chief of Public Affairs for the Army Recruiting Command to inquire about any changes to Army recruiting force protection policies but they were only able to offer limited response.
“We continuously evaluate and improve force protection measures at each of our 1,300 recruiting centers across the country. For the security of our Soldiers, I can’t get into the specific details of these measures, but I can tell you they are intended to provide access control, concealment and cover to offer a safe and secure environment for our recruiters and applicants,” said the US Army Recruiting Command’s Chief of Public Affairs.
Aliberti — the policy branch head for Fleet Forces Command’s anti-terrorism, force protection directorate– says they’re in the “final stages” of preparation for implementation of the policy.
The 71 Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSC), or reserve centers, nationwide are considered “soft targets.”
Following the Fleet Forces investigation, which included a thorough review of security at off- base buildings, major changes were recommended. For example, sailors and officers will now undergo high-level anti-terrorism training “specific to these locations.”
Better alert systems are also expected to be put into place and some sailors have already begun to improvise with this.
Now under development is a military-wide alert system that will notify service members within a certain radius — that an attack has occurred. There is an app on the iPhone 6s, which can be used for the same purpose.
In the case of the Chattanooga attacks, it took the gunman seven minutes to drive from the first location to the second, but in that time period, the NOSC was not alerted that a military facility across town had just been attacked.
Alterations are also being made to the off-base buildings by the Army Corps of Engineers to make them more secure, Aliberti said.
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