Services Release Findings of Internal Threat Reviews

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2010 — The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps will update their poli­cies and pro­ce­dures to bet­ter assess inter­nal secu­ri­ty threats, accord­ing to reports the ser­vices filed this week in response to last year’s shoot­ing ram­page at Fort Hood, Texas.
In reports filed Nov. 9, ser­vice lead­ers wrote of the need for bet­ter coor­di­na­tion and infor­ma­tion shar­ing among the ser­vices, the Defense Depart­ment and out­side law enforce­ment agen­cies, as well as men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als, to pre­vent anoth­er pos­si­ble attack.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psy­chi­a­trist, is charged in the Nov. 5, 2009, shoot­ing at Fort Hood that left 13 dead and 43 wound­ed. A Defense Depart­ment report, “Pro­tect­ing the Force: Lessons from Fort Hood,” issued to Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates on Jan. 15, found that force-pro­tec­tion mea­sures focused sole­ly on exter­nal threats are no longer suf­fi­cient and alert­ed the depart­ment to the need for mon­i­tor­ing threats from “self-rad­i­cal­ized” mil­i­tary personnel. 

The department’s report rec­om­mend­ed that each ser­vice con­duct its own in-depth review of whether process­es and poli­cies are in place to detect such inter­nal threats and respond to pos­si­ble attacks. 

In the Army’s review, offi­cials said the ser­vice has imple­ment­ed or is tak­ing action on 66 of 79 rec­om­men­da­tions made in the department’s review. Some of those changes include: 

— Cre­at­ing the Threat Aware­ness and Report­ing Pro­gram to iden­ti­fy and report insid­er threats, empha­size aware­ness and report­ing and improve infor­ma­tion sharing; 

— Devel­op­ing the Inter­net-based iWatch and iSalute pro­grams, pat­terned after civil­ian Neigh­bor­hood Watch pro­grams, to elic­it reports of sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty, includ­ing pos­si­ble terrorism; 

— Pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty offi­cers access to the Nation­al Crime Infor­ma­tion Center; 

— Estab­lish­ing the Army Per­son­nel Secu­ri­ty Inves­ti­ga­tion Cen­ter of Excel­lence at Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground, Md., to pro­vide for bet­ter secu­ri­ty screen­ing; and — Imple­ment­ing train­ing pro­grams for bet­ter infor­ma­tion shar­ing, improved inci­dent respons­es and anti-ter­ror­ism awareness. 

Lessons learned from the Fort Hood ram­page already have made the Army bet­ter pre­pared, Army Sec­re­tary John M. McHugh said dur­ing a Nov. 5 remem­brance cer­e­mo­ny at Fort Hood. “In my judg­ment, there is no ques­tion today that we are a stronger Army,” McHugh said. “We have learned from the things that unfold­ed that day, and we are a safer Army.” 

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. agreed that the Army “has made good progress.” The ser­vice has improved effi­cien­cies in threat aware­ness and report­ing, coor­di­na­tion and shared intel­li­gence, and improved train­ing of base secu­ri­ty and readi­ness forces, he said. 

How­ev­er, Casey not­ed, “When you’re in the secu­ri­ty busi­ness, you’re nev­er done.” 

In the Air Force report, offi­cials wrote of the need for air­men to be “wing­men” in detect­ing inter­nal threats, which they note “is not an exact science.” 

“Unit lead­ers must col­lect iso­lat­ed bits of infor­ma­tion – like dis­parate points of light – to con­cen­trate into a sin­gle beam focused on pre­vent­ing vio­lence affect­ing Air Force per­son­nel and instal­la­tions,” it says. 

The Air Force team con­clud­ed that a “new force-pro­tec­tion cul­ture” is need­ed to pre­pare its unit lead­ers ade­quate­ly to find and act on inter­nal threats. 

Changes not­ed in the Air Force report include: 

— Train­ing all air­men to under­stand indi­ca­tors of threats; 

— Bet­ter infor­ma­tion shar­ing with fed­er­al, state, and local law enforce­ment agencies; 

— Updat­ing poli­cies, pro­ce­dures and prac­tices to bet­ter assess inter­nal risks; and 

— Rein­sti­tut­ing post-deploy­ment psy­cho­log­i­cal reviews and ensur­ing that such inter­views become rou­tine practice. 

In the Navy review, offi­cials cit­ed the impor­tance of lead­er­ship – “the oblig­a­tion to act and the dis­cre­tion avail­able to a com­man­der” – and the need to con­sid­er the impact of pro­posed poli­cies on civil­ian personnel. 

The Navy’s fol­low-up actions include 

— Exten­sive reviews dur­ing exer­cis­es to iden­ti­fy and man­age inter­nal threats and bet­ter share infor­ma­tion; and 

— Updates to Ship­board Force Pro­tec­tion Con­di­tion measures. 

The Marine Corps report­ed devel­op­ing a vio­lence pre­ven­tion and response pro­gram, revis­ing its law enforce­ment man­u­al to include best civil­ian prac­tices in tar­get­ed areas, and pro­vid­ing bet­ter infor­ma­tion sharing. 

The Marine Corps report also rec­om­mends field­ing an emer­gency call­ing sys­tem at all of its instal­la­tions that inte­grates mil­i­tary and civil­ian com­put­er-aid­ed dis­patch, as well as oth­er tech­ni­cal upgrades to bet­ter man­age and share information. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

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