Federal Employees News Digest

Navy Yard shooting spawns new DOD security measures

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The Defense Department last week made public a new plan to improve security at DOD facilities. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled details on the measures March 18 at a Pentagon press briefing.

Announcement of the plan comes six months after a shooter gained entry to the Washington Navy Yard and killed 12 people. Since that time, DOD has conducted two separate reviews to assess security and design new procedures.

"I said at the time that where there are gaps or inadequacies in the department's security, we'll find them and we'll correct them," Hagel said at the briefing. "And accordingly today, I'm announcing steps DOD is taking to enhance physical security at our installations and improve security clearance procedures, responding to lessons learned from this terrible, terrible tragedy."

The new measures are based on recommendations resulting from two reviews—one done internally and one conducted by an outside party. The Navy Department also conducted a third review of security standards, which Hagel said complemented the other reports.

"The reviews identified troubling gaps in DOD's ability to detect, prevent, and respond to instances where someone working for us—a government employee, member of our military, or a contractor—decides to inflict harm on this institution and its people," Hagel said.

Hagel said the department will pursue four key actions as a result of the reviews.

First, the department will create a program to provide continuous evaluation of personnel with access to DOD facilities or classified information—including contractors, military service members and civilian personnel. In addition to the periodic re-investigations for security clearances that currently occur, DOD will establish automated reviews that will draw information from law enforcement and other databases.

Second, DOD will create an "insider threat management and analysis center" to analyze the results of the automated record checks and determine whether follow-up action is necessary.

Third, the department will centralize authority and accountability for physical and personal security under a single staff assistant within the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. Those responsibilities now are spread out across DOD.

Finally, DOD will speed up the development of the Defense Manpower Data Center's Identity Management Enterprise Services Architecture so DOD security officers can share information and continuously vet individuals against government databases.

Hagel said DOD also is reviewing three additional recommendations. Those include reducing the number of personnel holding secret security clearances by at least 10 percent; reducing DOD's reliance on background investigations conducted by the Office of Personnel Management and studying the possibility of returning the clearance review process to DOD; and developing more effective measures to screen recruits and improve the quality of mental health care within DOD.

"I think we all understand that open and free societies are always vulnerable, but together we're going to do everything possible to provide our people as safe and secure a workplace as possible," Hagel said.

To see more go to: www.defense.gov/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1835.

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