WASHINGTON—U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the Pentagon could allow more military personnel to carry arms when stateside as part of an effort to bolster security at military sites following the recent shooting in Tennessee that killed five service members.
In a two-page memo dated July 29 and released by the Pentagon on Thursday, Mr. Carter directed military commanders and civilian leaders to draw up new security plans and procedures for facilities which could be at risk. He said the July 16 shooting in Chattanooga illustrated the vulnerability of military sites and other facilities used by troops while in the country.
Mr. Carter said these new plans could include “the option of additional armed personnel,” as permitted under the existing policies. A 2011 Defense Department directive already authorizes commanders and civilian leaders to arm military personnel who are assigned security or law-enforcement duties, as well as to provide arms to others in response to security threats.
Mr. Carter said the new plans should also include physical security upgrades at military sites, though he didn’t spell out what those might entail. He said commanders and civilian leaders should “consider any additional protection measures, including changes to policy and procedures that protect our force against the evolving threat.”
Mr. Carter’s directive comes two weeks after 24-year-old Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire on a recruiting center in a Chattanooga strip mall and then drove to a small Navy administrative center where he killed five service members.