- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Navy’s top officer said Wednesday that cost-cutting did not weaken the service’s security screening system for defense contractors, despite a contractor’s shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday that left 12 victims dead.

“The cost-control measures … have nothing to do with budget shortfalls or sequestration itself,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, told a House Armed Services Committee hearing. “We don’t cut budgetary corners for security.”

Adm. Greenert said the Navy is looking at security at all of its bases worldwide as part of a top-to-bottom review ordered by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Security at the Navy Yard and within the Defense Department has emerged as a key issue in the aftermath of Monday’s shooting spree in which contractor Aaron Alexis gunned down 12 civilian workers at the naval facility in Southeast Washington before being killed himself.

The 34-year-old gunman held a secret security clearance and had been issued a common access card, which allows holders access to military facilities regardless of the branch of service.

A Pentagon inspector general’s report on Tuesday said the Navy Commercial Access Control System (NCACS) is flawed in screening contractors because it uses only commercially available databases, not government lists such as the FBI National Criminal Intelligence System or the Terrorist Screening Database.

Adm. Greenert said Navy officials were reviewing the report and would work with the inspector general and Congress to rectify any flaws in the system.

“If something needs to be added or changed, we’ll fix it right away,” he said.

However, the NCACS did not play a role in Alexis’ ability to access the Navy Yard, a Navy official said on background Monday.

“The report looks at NCACS. … This guy didn’t have an NCACS card,” the official said.

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