July 22, 2015

In Wake Of Chattanooga Tragedy, Kaine Presses Defense Secretary To Explore All Options To Better Protect Servicemembers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of the tragic shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee last week, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter urging the Department of Defense to explore all options in its review of force protection measures to better protect servicemembers at traditional and non-traditional military facilities across the country.

“The threats we face today are unconventional and without borders. The potential for extremists groups to influence a lone wolf attacker is greater than ever before and our security policies should reflect this reality,” Kaine wrote. “To counter this threat and prevent the occurrence of another attack like the one in Chattanooga, I encourage you to consider all force protection options at facilities including the placement of armed security, military or civilian, and the enhancement of security features at vulnerable facilities.”

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Secretary Carter:

I write regarding the tragic events in Chattanooga, Tennessee this past week and your plan to review force protection measures.  The attack exposed vulnerabilities that are present at non-traditional military facilities and highlighted the need to safeguard our servicemembers against the security gaps at these locations.  I was encouraged by your prompt call for a review, and hope that your analysis considers all options for ensuring the protection of our servicemembers.

The threats we face today are unconventional and without borders.  The potential for extremist groups to influence a lone wolf attacker is greater now than ever before and our security policies should reflect this reality.  To counter this threat and prevent the occurrence of another attack like the one in Chattanooga, I encourage you to consider all force protection options at facilities including the placement of armed security, military or civilian, and the enhancement of security features at vulnerable facilities.

As you know, many of our military recruiters have daily responsibilities which require them to have access to high schools and university campuses, many of which have firearms restrictions, but are equally as vulnerable as other public locations.  In addition, Posse Comitatus laws limit the actions of our service members from acting in the capacity of law enforcement. 

I would also encourage you to consider the impact of policy changes on other military sites that are open to the public, including Military Entrance Processing Stations and Reserve Officer Training Corps units on college campuses.  Protecting our troops at all facilities should be the central goal of any policy changes.  Ultimately we hope that your recommendation will consider all options to ensure that all service members who may be vulnerable to attacks are working in safe and secure environments.

I look forward to working with your Department to find improved safeguards for the men and women who so selflessly serve our country.

Sincerely,

Tim Kaine

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