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Pentagon to Spend $180 Million to Boost Base Security

base security

By Debbie Gregory.

In a move to boost security and further protect U.S. military bases from the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, Defense Secretary Ash Carter has pledged $180 million in spending over the next three years.

The money will be spent on items such as door reinforcement, improved exits and procedures, improved alarms and access controls, and an “early warning” system to communicate threats and incidents to military personnel within 20 miles of a military facility in 10 minutes or less.

This improves upon the current system which issues a lockdown alert when there is an active shooter situation, but that alert is limited to one facility.

Junaid Hussain, the ISIS figure who released the personal details of more than 1,000 U.S. military members and “who sought to inspire wannabe jihadists to conduct attacks against the DOD”  was killed in a strike last year. Carter said that Hussain was  a central figure in recruiting ISIL sympathizers to carry out lone-wolf attacks in the West.

Carter said, “As we learned from the tragedy in Chattanooga last summer, ISIL has demonstrated a clear intent to target U.S. service members and facilities, or at least to inspire others to do so.

Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, a 24-year-old resident of Hixson, TN went on a murderous rampage at two military facilities in Tennessee, killing four US Marines and injuring several others. He sprayed bullets at a Chattanooga military recruiting center and Navy-Marine training facility, just seven miles apart.

Providing greater force protection for men and women serving today is one way we honor those service members who lost their lives last summer,” Carter said.

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Military Connection: New Military Security Measure: By Debbie Gregory

IMESAThe U.S. military has recently begun conducting FBI background checks on individuals who want to access military installations.

Beginning August 8, 2014, a number of Air Force, Army, Marine, and Defense Logistics Agency installations began utilizing a system called the Identity Matching Engine for Security and Analysis (IMESA).

IMESA can run the names of individuals visiting a military installation. They can then be checked against FBI programs such as the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System, the National Crime Information Center Wanted Persons File, and the Terrorist Screening Database. Before being granted access to military installations, the IMESA system will have the ability to check a person’s criminal record, outstanding warrants and other useful information for spotting risks to the safety and security of the base and its personnel.

While already in early stages of development last year, Pentagon officials began to fast-track the IMESA project after the Washington Navy Yard shooting last September. Aaron Alexis shot and killed twelve people and wounded three others after he was granted access to the base. Alexis was a government contractor at the time, with an active SECRET clearance. But a full background check, like the one that IMESA can perform, would have detected that Alexis had been arrested multiple times for violent behavior, including incidents involving discharging firearms. Although Alexis had never been prosecuted, knowledge of his arrests might have prevented the shootings.

The information in IMESA is already contained in the DoD’s personnel database, or within local DoD databases of individuals affiliated with DoD by employment on that installation. That means that Military ID’s will still be sufficient for service members and their dependents to get on base.

People not affiliated with the Defense Department will be asked to provide identification containing enough information to be run through IMESA.

When security personnel come across an individual who pops on the IMESA system, the installation is required to contact the originating law enforcement agency to determine how to proceed.

Not all installations have the capability to run the IMESA system yet. But all branches of the military have a long-range plan to connect their individual installations to IMESA.

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Military Connection: New Military Security Measure: By Debbie Gregory