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Fort Hood report outlines ways for Army to improve security response

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Nov. 10, 2010) -- The Army must establish a policy for contract security guards in an "active shooter scenario," to clearly define their authority and responsibilities in a scenario such as the Nov. 5, 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, that left 13 dead and 31 wounded.

That's one of the recommendations of a 120-page report just released that reviews Army force-protection and emergency-response programs, policies and procedures. An Army internal review team took a look at the service's ability, below the headquarters level, to identify internal threats.

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Maj. Gen. Robert M. Radin, the leader of the review team, wrote that the Army has implemented or is taking definitive action on 66 of the 79 DoD Independent Review Panel recommendations. DoD is the lead agency for the remaining 13 recommendations and the Army is working with DoD to determine specific future actions.

Among other things, the Internal Review team found there needs to be more guidance on what Contract Security Guards (CSGs) at Army bases are allowed to do.

"The team found the legal authority of CSGs to respond to an active shooter threat is unclear," the report reads. "The lack of clarity is exacerbated by the multiple types of jurisdictions on our installations."

Today, there are CSGs at both Installation Management Command locations, and non-IMCOM installations. The report says IMCOM is converting its more than 1,600 CSG positions to Department of the Army Security Guards.

The report also recommended the Army publish incident reporting procedures and policy that explain the process from installation level all the way to headquarters, Department of the Army.

Across the Army, the team found that incident reporting policies varied.

"Incident reporting practices overseas and incident reporting in the continental United States, coupled with joint basing, lead to varied reporting practices," the report reads. "As Fort Hood demonstrated, communication is critical to timely response."

In their report, the team said they found installation commanders said they were "hampered in their reporting efforts" by multiple reporting chains and report formats.

The team also included in its report a list of "quick wins" it says if "implemented quickly would have an immediate and positive impact on Army force protection." Many of those recommendations have already been implemented. Included among those are suggestions are the "iWATCH" program, similar to a neighborhood watch program.

That program, the report's authors say is "designed to promote anti-terrorism awareness across all commands, leverage every member of the Army community as a sensor and reporter of potential terrorist acts and establish suspicious-activity reporting procedures at the local level."

Also a "quick win" in the report is approval for the use of jacketed hollow-point ammunition for Army law enforcement. According to the report, the Army's Office of the Provost Marshal General and G-3/5/7 authorized the use of jacketed hollow-point ammunition for Army law enforcement and published a message in May to execute the initiative.

"This Army action provides an immediate solution to risks posed by internal threat response and active shooter scenarios," the report reads. "The Army's fielding of jacketed hollow-point ammunition concludes a long-standing assessment of its effectiveness. The Army law enforcement community, within the (continental United States) and its territories only, now shares the long standing use of jacketed hollow point ammunition with the civilian law enforcement community."

"We must efficiently and effectively transform how we look at protecting the force," Radin wrote in the executive summary of the report, also adding that "the Army must ensure that an enterprise approach is used to further develop our recommendations and emerging ideas."

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