Report Reveals Flaws in DoD Law Enforcement Active Shooter Response

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An assessment of the Department of Defense and its law enforcement agencies found the lack of an active shooter response and training standard, which officials said could ultimately “result in a delayed response and uncoordinated that could increase casualties” at military installations.

The assessment was conducted to determine whether Department of Defense law enforcement entities – Army and Marine Corps Military Police and Navy and Army Security Forces de l’air, among others – had established effective policies and training for the active intervention of shooters.

According to the report, released Aug. 11 by the Department of Defense’s inspector general, there are currently five policies relating to active shooter situations, but no comprehensive, cohesive strategy.

These five elements, “although related to emergency management, personnel arming, lessons learned, incident response plans and training, provide only minimum emergency response requirements. incident case for active shooters,” the report said.

The IG added that the lack of a master plan contributed to law enforcement officers not meeting the various expectations set out in the five policies currently in place.

Recent shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed – one of whom was the mother of a Marine – have once again sparked fierce debates over the laws on firearms and law enforcement response.

Similarly, military installations have suffered numerous active shooter incidents – nearly a dozen over the past decade.

In 2009, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, opened fire on Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 others. Six years later, four Marines and a sailor were killed by a gunman at the Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

As part of the report, the IG made a series of recommendations to address the aforementioned shortcomings, including updating pre-existing guidelines into a standard for shooter active response procedures, arming, use of strength, training and equipment requirements.

The report also suggested consolidating information and lessons learned from active shooter incidents, such as those at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and NAS Pensacola, into a centralized database.

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