Fort Hood shoot­ings and se­cu­rity lapse


The Novem­ber 2009 shoot­ings of more than 40 people by an Army psy­chi­a­trist at Fort Hood, Texas, re­vealed a wide range of se­cu­rity lapses at US mil­i­tary bases, in­clud­ing a fail­ure to con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity that a threat might come from an “in­sider,” ac­cord­ing to a Pen­tagon re­port .

The 23-page doc­u­ment makes 47 dif­fer­ent rec­om­men­da­tions on how to im­prove se­cu­rity in the aftermath of the at­tack, which left 13 people dead. The re­port pro­vides scant in­for­ma­tion, how­ever, on how the se­cu­rity lapses con­trib­uted to the Fort Hood shoot­ings. Pen­tagon of­fi­cials con­tinue to refuse to re­lease the ac­tual re­port of an in­de­pen­dent panel into the shoot­ings.

The rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude: BEt­tEr sCrEEn­InG oF mIl­I­tAry pEr­son­nEl For sIGns tHAt tHEy mAy be­come vi­o­lent. Cur­rently, the re­port said, there’s no re­quire­ment to screen soldiers for vi­o­lent ten­den­cies prior to their de­ploy­ment, and post-de­ploy­ment screen­ings rely pri­mar­ily on soldiers to re­port their own symp­toms on ques­tion­naires. Ma­jor Ni­dal Hasan, who’s ac­cused in the Fort Hood shoot­ings, was about to be de­ployed to Afghanistan when he al­legedly opened fire on his fel­low soldiers.

Im­provED 911 EmEr­GEnCy CAll sys­tEms. An In­DE­pEn­DEnt PEn­tAGon re­view af­ter the Fort Hood shoot­ings de­ter­mined that emer­gency phone sys­tems on most mil­i­tary bases were not as so­phis­ti­cated as those in neigh­bour­ing civil­ian com­mu­ni­ties and couldn’t, for ex­am­ple, tell dis­patch­ers a caller’s lo­ca­tion. The re­port called for the in­stal­la­tion of bet­ter 911 sys­tems by 2014.

TouGHEr sCrEEn­InG oF CIvIl­IAns work­InG At US mIl­I­tAry FA­CIl­I­tIEs AnD of non-cit­i­zens work­ing on mil­i­tary bases over­seas. The re­port said that back­ground checks on US cit­i­zen civil­ians “may be in­com­plete, limited in scope or not con­ducted at all.” Hasan, 39, who faces 13 mur­der charges and as many charges of at­tempted mur­der, was paral­ysed dur­ing the shoot­ing by re­turn fire in the worst shoot­ing in­ci­dent ever at a US mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tion. He’s be­ing held in a Texas jail. An Army psy­chi­a­trist, Hasan served at Wal­ter Reed Army Med­i­cal Cen­ter and was sent to the mil­i­tary’s largest in­stal­la­tion to ad­dress the men­tal health needs of soldiers re­turn­ing from Iraq and Afghanistan, but of­fi­cials at Wal­ter Reed ques­tioned his abil­i­ties. SP

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