WASHINGTON, D.C. — In response to the defense secretary’s call to improve the security and force protection of defense personnel after the tragic events in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James introduced more stringent security measures to reduce the possibility of violent acts directed toward Airmen on and off installations.
“In the wake of the tragedies at Fort Hood, the Navy Yard and Chattanooga, we worked closely with DOD, the Joint Staff and other services to identify and provide effective and long-lasting force protection enhancements,” James said. “We take the safety of our service members, civilians and their families who support them seriously and continue to examine ways to make our installations and facilities safer.”
Defense Secretary Ash Carter initially charged the secretaries of the military departments with improving physical and procedural security, mass warning and alert notification capabilities, and augmenting security.
“As part of this commitment, we increased the number of armed security forces on base through several arming programs, are enhancing force protection measures at off-installation facilities, and are working on long-term mass notification systems,” James said. “Commanders remain fully empowered and are expected to make arming decisions for off-installation facilities consistent with existing authorities. They are also best positioned to balance the mission with the threat and determine the appropriate level of security required for a given facility.”
In addition, off-installation facilities will establish and maintain emergency action plans and practice these plans through training exercises at least twice a year.
“We are working with (the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence) toward an armed contract solution for off-installation facilities like our recruiting stations, and we are strengthening relationships with local law enforcement agencies and partnering on exercises to ensure all personnel are prepared to respond to future incidents,” James said. “These efforts are designed to increase the safety of our service members, their families and the communities we live in and support.”