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Some Personnel To Be Armed At Navy Operational Support Centers

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

The U.S. Fleet Forces Command has now permitted personnel to be armed at off-base Navy Operational Support Centers, following the shooting in Chattanooga which claimed the lives of 5 servicemembers.

A select few personnel with proper training will be allowed to carry. A spokesman for Adm. Phil Davidson, who heads Fleet Forces Command, stated that he could not reveal which personnel would be armed because doing so would mitigate the effort as a force protection measure. The authorization affects about 48 of these centers located off-base across the country, Navy Times reports.

Fleet Forces, the part of the Navy which focuses on force protection, is also looking at other measures to improve security, aside from the recent directive to arm some personnel. One source told the Navy Times that while Fleet Forces could contract for security guards, in this case, the Navy will rely on military personnel.

Considerable controversy has surrounded the idea of arming stateside military personnel after Muhammad Abdulazeez opened fire, ultimately killing four Marines and one sailor. In the meantime, armed civilians have gathered around recruiting centers to stand guard, in case another would-be attacker tries to gun down servicemembers. The military has thanked the civilian militias for their concern, but has also asked them to leave in short order. (RELATED: Military Tells Militiamen To Buzz Off From Recruiting Centers)

Military officials are somewhat divided on the issue of arming personnel. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno is worried about problems like accidental discharge. Others, like Gen. Mark Milley, who is Odierno’s next proposed replacement, thinks that if the legal problem is resolved, the military should in some cases allow personnel to carry firearms.

“Under certain conditions both on military bases and in outstations, recruiting stations that we should seriously consider it, and in some cases, I think it’s appropriate,” Milley stated.

A recent report from the Congressional Research Service found that Defense Secretary Ash Carter, if he so chooses, has the authority to arm stateside personnel, which effectively clears the fog of the legal question. (RELATED: Report Finds Defense Secretary Has Authority To Arm Stateside Troops)

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