Turner: Study says base security possibly sacrificed to cut costs


Hours after a lone gunman killed twelve people at a U.S. military facility in Washington, D.C., Congress demanded to know what military investigators had found in a recently finished report about base security, which evidently in part reviewed security choices made by the military at the Washington Navy Yard.

In a report titled, "Audit of the Navy Commercial Access Control System," the Inspector General's office of the Pentagon had made clear last year that it was reviewing military base security for issues.

"Our objective is to determine whether the Navy Commercial Access Control System (NCACS) is mitigating access control risks to Navy installations," the audit notice read, which you can see at the DOD IG web site.

One of the locations to be reviewed was the Navy Installations Command, which is based at the Washington Navy Yard.

"I am highly concerned that the access control systems at our nation's military installations have serious security flaws," wrote Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) in a letter sent just hours after the shootings occurred.

"It is my understanding the IG report indicates the Navy may have implemented an unproven system in order to cut costs," Turner wrote in a letter to the DOD IG.

"I also learned that potentially numerous felons may have been able to gain unrestricted access to several military installations across the country due to the insufficient background checks, increasing the risk to our military personnel and civilian employees," Turner added.

Here is the text of Turner's letter:

Lynne M. Halbrooks
Acting Inspector General
U.S. Department of Defense – Office of Inspector General
4800 Mark Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22350-1500

Dear Inspector General Halbrooks,

On October 1, 2012 the Inspector General of the Department of Defense released a Memorandum regarding an "Audit of the Navy Commercial Access Control System." The objective of this audit is to determine whether the Navy Commercial Access Control System (NCACS) is mitigating access control risks of Navy installations.

The memo indicates that Navy Installations Command, Washington, D.C. was to be included in the audit. It is my understanding that an initial draft report may have been released this morning immediately following the shooting at Washington Navy Yard. Following this tragedy, it is imperative that Members of Congress be thoroughly briefed on the outcome of this audit as it is directly linked to the security of our uniformed and civilian personnel.

Given the disturbing events of today, I am highly concerned that the access control systems at our nation's military installations have serious security flaws. It is my understanding the IG report indicates the Navy may have implemented an unproven system in order to cut costs. I also learned that potentially numerous felons may have been able to gain unrestricted access to several military installations across the country due to the insufficient background checks, increasing the risk to our military personnel and civilian employees.

I await an immediate briefing regarding the Inspector General's findings in this audit.

Sincerely,

Michael R. Turner
Member of Congress


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