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Navy Yard security under fire; system installed to save money: Lawmaker charges

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The security system at the Navy Yard, where Monday's rampage shooting left 13 people dead, was installed by the Navy to cut costs and may be flawed, a member of the House Armed Services Committee said.

"I am highly concerned that the access control systems at our nation's military installations have serious security flaws," Rep. Mike Turner, chairman of the tactical air and land subcommittee, said in a letter to Acting Pentagon Inspector General Lynne Halbrooks on Monday.

Mr. Turner, Ohio Republican, referred to an as-yet unpublished report by Ms. Halbrooks' investigators, which "indicates the Navy may have implemented an unproven system in order to cut costs."

According to the inspector general's website, investigators have been looking into "whether the Navy Commercial Access Control System (NCACS) is mitigating access control risks to Navy installations."

The website listed the investigation, begun in September 2012, among "Upcoming Reports" last month. But a spokeswoman said the office was still waiting to receive final word on when it will be made public.

NCACS is a service-wide system designed to issue and check credentials for contractors and others who need regular access to Navy facilities but who are not entitled to a full Department of Defense Common Access Card.

The inspector general's report examines the work of the Navy Installations Command which is in charge of security at all Navy facilities. The command's headquarters are located at Navy Yard.

The FBI said Monday that suspected shooter Aaron Alexis had gained access to the building with a valid ID card, but did not say what kind it was.

Mr. Turner said he 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" used by NCACS.

The Navy did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

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