Ft. Hood massacre recommendations – bureaucratic pap

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates last week signed off on a report containing the “Final Recommendations of the Ft. Hood Follow-on Review.”  Reading this 23-page compilation of recommendations in conjunction with the January 2010 “Report of the DoD Independent Review,” one can readily understand why Maj. Nidal Hasan was able to stroll around Ft. Hood, Texas last November 5th and calmly shoot to death 13 people and wound many more.  The Army was ill-prepared to identify Nidal as a potential shooter (though the signs were legion), and even less  able to stop him once he started his deadly rampage.

The January report was an 80-page, feel-good document that added precious little to developing concrete solutions necessary to avoid a similar catastrophe.  Last week’s recommendations illustrate graphically that the U.S. Army, for all its considerable capability to wage war overseas, remains bureaucratically moribund and indecisive when it comes to dealing with serious problems involving its own personnel; at least on the domestic front. 

In the first place, there is little sense of urgency reflected in the many recommendations, most of which have to do with simply sharing information among and between federal agencies, and between the military and civilian law enforcement and intelligence agencies.  This is all pretty standard stuff that one would have hoped the Army and the other services were doing before last November, but obviously weren’t.

If any would-be Maj. Hasan’s are worried about the military moving quickly to plug the holes that enabled their namesake to commit mass murder nearly 10 months ago, based on the timetables contained in the recommendations, they can breath a sigh of relief.  Many of the recommendations, although adopted for implementation by the Secretary of Defense, are explicitly not scheduled to go into effect for a year or two from now, or even several years down the road.  One of the most basic of steps that sound threat assessment and neutralization would indicate — developing “information sharing capabilities for access control to installations” — is under “study,” and an evaluation and “update” of such policies will be issued, but not for another 16 months.  So much for urgency.

Of course, consistent with the federal government’s view that firearms on military bases in the hands of qualified and cleared personnel is politically incorrect and operationally inappropriate (even though a single shot from a marksman in uniform, had he or she been permitted on the base on November 5th, could have stopped Hasan cold), the Recommendation Report is utterly silent about reevaluating this policy.  It was former President Bill Clinton who, in 1993, decided to institute a no-guns-on-bases policy that has not been repealed by either of his predecessors. 

The bottom line is that, as the military engages in typical and interminable bureaucratic “study” of how to begin developing, sharing, analyzing and timely disseminating intelligence on threats to domestic military bases, it still is constrained not to revisit the one policy that could provide the best protection realistically possible to neutralize the next Maj. Nidal.

27 comments Add your comment

vracer

August 25th, 2010
7:10 am

Arm the troops and it will never happen again.

Curious Observer

August 25th, 2010
8:51 am

It goes much further than the issue of arming troops on base. It escapes me how an officer with Nidal’s previously manifested personality problems could have skated by all those years. And he worked with psychologists, for Pete’s sake. It looks as though corporations aren’t the only organizations prone to transferring problem people out for somebody else to deal with, instead of addressing the problems head-on.

jconservative

August 25th, 2010
8:56 am

So “bureaucratic studies” are the norm today? They were the norm in 1789. Not much has changed.

Bottom line is if someone wants to take a weapon and kill a bunch of people no one will stop him/her. That is why we have several of these incidents a year. Learn to live with it.

Kamchak

August 25th, 2010
9:14 am

Bob this is a ruse. This guy just wanted to express his 1st amendment rights. Only cons are outraged about this

November

August 25th, 2010
9:24 am

Folks, this is gonna keep happening (my opinion). My suggestion would be to arm serviceman/woman on every army/navy/marine/airforce base in the country. It has become too dangerous to walk around unarmed especially on a military base. I would think the first order would be to protect the base from any enemy, foreign and domestic……how can you do this without being armed? There’s some crazies out there hell bent on destroying our nation, one day and one conflict at a time. Are we gonna let em?……I say “Hell No”. Keep ‘em loaded and ready, boys.

Gen Patton

August 25th, 2010
9:28 am

This is what happens when you have a feel good pansy with no military experience or has never held a real job as commander in Chief. It starts at the top and rolls down hill from there.

Disgusted

August 25th, 2010
9:36 am

I would think the first order would be to protect the base from any enemy, foreign and domestic……how can you do this without being armed? There’s some crazies out there hell bent on destroying our nation, one day and one conflict at a time. Are we gonna let em?……I say “Hell No”. Keep ‘em loaded and ready, boys.

You’ve obviously never been in the military. Well, I have been, and some of the biggest maniacs you’ll ever want to meet are on those bases. After a while, I felt a little secure by knowing that our rifles were safely locked up in the platoon gun rack.

Brad

August 25th, 2010
10:10 am

Patton, please connect the dots for us.

barking frog

August 25th, 2010
11:08 am

Soldiers are not trained to be police, but their constitutional
rights should not be limited without a specific government need.

Kamchak

August 25th, 2010
11:41 am

i am an idiot, sport

Disgusted

August 25th, 2010
12:06 pm

Soldiers are not trained to be police, but their constitutional
rights should not be limited without a specific government need.

Do you really want to have every drunk soldier or Marine armed and locked and loaded on a base on a Saturday night without direct supervision? They have their constitutional rights. What they don’t have is the right to walk around a base as though it is a combat zone. MPs and SPs are the only ones with that privilege, and for a very good reason.

godless heathen

August 25th, 2010
12:33 pm

If our soldiers can’t be trusted with firearms, one must wonder what kind of mamby pamby operation we are running.

godless heathen

August 25th, 2010
12:36 pm

I read the other day that Maj. Nidal Hasan was having trouble getting his paychecks cashed. That’s right, he is still getting paid. I don’t care if he is paralyzed, he should be swinging from the yard arm by now.

Been there, Done that

August 25th, 2010
1:02 pm

Disgusted: Amen! I was in also and the thought of some of the guys I knew walking around on base armed scares the hell out of me! It was bad enough that some of the SPs had them.

Disgusted

August 25th, 2010
1:47 pm

Disgusted: Amen! I was in also and the thought of some of the guys I knew walking around on base armed scares the hell out of me! It was bad enough that some of the SPs had them.

I was in the Marine Corps, and it had more than its share of killer brutes. You’d want them by your side in combat, but you certainly wouldn’t want them fully armed at all times and running loose on base.

@@

August 25th, 2010
2:26 pm

The only URGENT recommendations coming out of this WH are the ones that scream SPEND, SPEND, SPEND.

Dems, drunk on their own power while Americans get corked.

Been there, Done that

August 25th, 2010
2:43 pm

I was AIr Force and we had some Marine wannabes and all around goofballs… Prime examples of why all weapons (including those privately owned) stayed in the base armory!

mike

August 25th, 2010
2:47 pm

Funny how the sideliners always seem to have the right idea to let them tell it. We don’t need every soldier strapped on a pase or post. Since you have never been a soldier then I don’t expect you to understand. It all sounds good but it always sounds good when people who have no clue suggest ideas.

Tigers Woody

August 25th, 2010
5:28 pm

Everybody thinks they are an expert.

godless heathen

August 25th, 2010
6:34 pm

So these unstable soldiers can go right down to Getty Gun & Pawn when they are discharged and then walk the streets locked and loaded. That’s a comforting thought,

sam

August 25th, 2010
10:02 pm

I wonder how these things can happen in a community. The signs were there. Why wasn’t he reported by more than one person? But then how can a family live in filth and fatten their children like Christmas geese without any neighbor being at least aware, and reporting it? I don’t believe in a police state by any means, but outrageous is outrageous.

Hindsight

August 26th, 2010
7:42 am

20/20 hindsight is so enlightening. Wisdom! Writing skills abound! “If I had been there, I woulda blown his head clean off!” This is human nature, and it’s so immature. In 1945, after Hiroshima, some of the warlords actually claimed they had a Plan B to stop the A-bomb.

But they were using their 20/20 hindsight and could think the whole thing through from beginning to end using the same geometric logic Barr uses now.

neo-Carlinist

August 26th, 2010
8:22 am

you might as well outlaw insanity, delusional behavior and mental illness. as noted by others, the fact that Nidal was a “shrink” with a history of personnel issues says all that needs to be said. as with 9/11 (’bin laden determined to strike memo, severl hijackers on watch lists, etc.), the DoD has more important things to do than monitor the mental stability of its officers, or address “red flags” in terms of performance evaluations, etc. the DoD report (as with the 9/11 Commission) is crocodile tears at best.

Kamchak

August 26th, 2010
8:27 am

neo-Carlinist

I’m impressed with your insight. You are a man among men.

Williebee

August 26th, 2010
8:32 am

Barr is right about the core facts. We appointed a commission to examine how to prevent a future attacks like the one that just happened. The commission’s report shows an utter lack of urgency about the problem, preferring the politically correct status quo to the requsite change. Like similar incidents Nadal’s murderous spree is more obvious in retrospect. We do have the advantage of hindsight. We should add to that a little courage and hold officers accountable for taking full and effective action to prevent subsequent occurences.

Bob

August 26th, 2010
12:05 pm

Patton, remember that G. W. Bush had military experience in the Texas Air National Guard. The jury is still out on the quality of experience he got there but he did not serve in a war. G.W. Bush could have changed this policy and decided not to.

BTW, We had a chance to elect a President with military experience in war in 2004 and 2008 and we Americans decided not to do so. As a result we haven’t had any President with military experience in war since Bush Sr, almost 20 years ago. We shall reap what we sow.

sam

August 26th, 2010
7:02 pm

Wow: I can’t wait for government bureaucrats–run my healthcare. Everyone knows how efficient government is.