By: Dave Gaubatz
20 Sept 2013
Due to the recent tragic events at the Navy Yard in DC, our nation's leaders are in knee-jerk mode. Politicians, military leaders and law enforcement personnel are trying to put a bandage on a problem that needs major surgery to cure. Once again Americans are being led down a road after a tragic event into believing our leaders are fixing the problems that resulted in 12 innocent deaths at the Navy Yard. Naïve Americans want security but instead they are being provided a false sense of security.
For 24 plus years I worked on dozens of U.S. military bases around the globe. I was an AFOSI Special Agent. My clearance (Top Secret/SCI and above) was the highest that our government gives. A major part of my job was to develop programs that would secure our bases from violence and from national security technology from being stolen.
There are literally millions of Americans and foreigners who have access to our bases and the information within. The Navy Yard murders are indeed bad, but what the government is currently doing will in no way make the bases safer. Their solutions will only make it harder for the honest and trustworthy people to do their jobs.
People want to believe our military and law enforcement can make our installations a safe place to live and work. What you aren't being told is that there is no way humanly possible to secure any location in the world if a person, person, or groups have their mind set on inflicting major violence. It is very easy for one to get onto a military installation. You don't have to be very bright or a career criminal with inside knowledge in order to breach security on a base. On most bases, to include the bases that hold many of our nuclear weapons (Kirtland AFB, NM, and Malstrom AFB, MT) you need only walk onto the base with little or no identification.
Right now the military's background checks are the main focus leaders are trying to resolve so people like Aaron Alexis are kept off our bases. This simply can't be done. There are thousands of civilians and U.S. military on our bases who live and work, but have no need for a security clearance. Do you know how many carpenters, plumbers, truck drivers, cooks, and other career fields that require no clearance? Millions and millions. Americans are being led to believe that if Alexis's security clearance had been revoked, the murders would not have happened. This is false and our senior leaders know this.
There is a big difference to having a security clearance and one having access to a government building. You do not need a clearance to enter a U.S. military base/compound. You just need someone to wave you through the gate and then you have all the access you want. I will use Kirtland AFB as my example. Remember this base holds the majority of our nuclear weapons and one would think this base would be impossible to infiltrate. I will give you five examples of how unauthorized or people with mental problems, or are dangerous criminals (to include terrorists) can enter a base such as Kirtland.
1.Active duty members, their families, government employees, and retired U.S. military employees and their families are granted access to any U.S. military installation. This is millions and millions of people, and the highest percentage of these groups have never or no longer hold security clearances. This doesn't mean they are given the keys to walk into the jail cells that hold our nuclear weapons, but they can get into almost any building to carry out murders if that is their intent. There are commissary's, base exchanges ,small and large department stores, gas stations, movie theaters, ball fields, and gymnasiums that any of the above mentioned groups can go to without any interference. It is without any doubt that of these millions of people who are provided direct access to the bases , some have criminal histories, some have mental health problems, and some just do not like America and our government. There are no checks in place to prevent millions upon millions of people from entering our bases if they have the desire to get into them. One doesn't have to be a rocket scientist.
2.Scientists from such countries as China, Iran, Saudi, are regular guests on U.S. military installations. Again using the very high technology of Kirtland AFB, NM, these foreigners are on the base daily. We share some technology with them, and they provide our scientists insight into technology they are working on. The military has little control of their movements when they are off duty, and it was not uncommon to find a Chinese scientist taking photographs of the nuclear weapons storage areas.
3.Kirtland AFB is a very large installation. It covers several miles and the largest portion of the base is not fenced in. There is a mountain behind the base that is used by hikers, ATV riders, etc.. They can walk from the mountain and blend into base activities. The same is for many military installations in America.
4.Many U.S. military bases have museums on their property. The museums are open to anyone, you just need to sign in at the main gate and informed the security specialists that they want a pass to go to the base. Once these people enter the base they often go to other locations on base. At Kirtland AFB we once had a bus of Iranians who wanted to visit the air museum which was located within a few hundred yards of our nuclear weapons storage area. The Iranians were found venturing all around the base taking pictures. When they were stopped by security forces, they simply said they had gotten lost.
5.Although it is very easy for millions upon millions to enter the military bases and government buildings without a badge or security clearance, I will give an example of how someone can get on if they want to do so clandestinely. I was a OSI Special Agent, with the highest clearances, and with my badge I had access to any facility on any U.S. military installation. I could also fly armed aboard commercial aircraft. U.S. law enforcement badges and credentials are so easy for people to make and/or buy from others. When we were in South Korea there was one shop after another with every law enforcement badge known to mankind. U.S. law enforcement would buy several of these badges and use them as their primary badge. They were identical to the real ones. The officers would keep their real badge in a safe location and use the counterfeit one. Why? Because if you lose a real badge and credentials you had to go through an intense investigation and you could lose your job if you were negligent in losing them.
In the U.S. there are hundreds of state and federal law enforcement agencies. Each have their individual badge designs. When a law enforcement officer go to the ticket counter he/she just has to fill out a basic form and show their badge. The ticket counter crew have no way of knowing every type badge used, and even if they did there are thousands of counterfeit ones scattered all around the world. A hijacker need only buy one for a couple of dollars and then board U.S. aircraft armed and loaded. American citizens may not be aware of this, but terrorists are.
The whole point of this article is to show that the incident at the Navy Yard could happen any day, any hour at one of hundreds of U.S. military installations. The day of 9-11, bases tried to tighten security and prevent unauthorized people from entering the bases. This resulted in long lines outside the gate with thousands of people and hundreds of cars sitting idle. If a person like Aaron Alexis wanted to kill innocent people he would need only go to the large crowds outside the base and kill as many people as he desired.
What concerns me more than anything are the public schools and colleges who have led the students and parents to believe they are safe.
A person with an intent to go to a school and kill children requires little knowledge of security at the school. Many schools now have security plans that include a student and teachers having to show a school ID to enter. A deranged person who desired to shoot innocent children would only need to wait near the school buses that crowd most school parking lots. Why do they need to come up with elaborate plans to enter a school when they can achieve their goal in the parking lot of buses?
America has only so much time, manpower and financial resources to devote to security. The military bases could resolve 99% of their security problems by allowing the U.S. military personnel to be armed. There is no reason they should not be. If you can put an M-16 and 9mm pistol into the hands of an 18 or 19 year old and order them to go into dangerous areas like Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no reason not to trust them to be armed in the U.S. on their bases.
The public schools should be America's focus. The children are the 'hearts' of our country and Americans. Let's protect them first and then branch out to try to stop every deranged person who has the intent to harm others. We can't stop them, but we can do an enormous amount to protect our children at school. We could start by being honest in America about the Islamic ideology. It is our number one national security threat. We need to get all Muslim Brotherhood groups off our campuses (Muslim Student Association) and stop filling our children's heads about Islam with false information with school textbooks which are Saudi funded.
"The truth is often unpopular, but it is never wrong"