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Washington Navy Yard Review Announcement

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Press Briefing Room, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Six months ago, the Department of Defense lost 12 members of its family in a senseless act of violence at the Washington Navy Yard.

I said at the time that where there are gaps or inadequacies in the Department's security, we'll find them and we'll correct them.

And accordingly today, I'm announcing steps DOD is taking to enhance physical security at our installations and improve security clearance procedures, responding to lessons learned from this terrible, terrible tragedy.

These new measures are based on the recommendations of two reviews that I ordered in the aftermath of the shooting, including an internal review, led by Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, and an outside review, led by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Stockton, who is with us today, and retired Admiral Eric Olson.

Secretary Mabus, who joins me here this morning, also directed the Department of the Navy to conduct its own reviews of security standards, which complemented our work.  I appreciate the hard work and the thorough analysis that went into all of these efforts by all of these people.

The reviews identified troubling gaps in DOD's ability to detect, prevent, and respond to instances where someone working for us—a government employee, member of our military, or a contractor—decides to inflict harm on this institution and its people.

To close these gaps, we will take the following actions recommended by the reviews:

First, DOD will implement a continuous evaluation program of personnel with access to DOD's facilities or classified information, including DOD contractors, military and civilian personnel.  While individuals with security clearances undergo periodic re-investigations, I am directing the Department to establish automated reviews of cleared personnel that will continuously pull information from law enforcement and other relevant databases.

This will help trigger an alert if derogatory information becomes available, for example, if someone holding a security clearance is arrested.

Second, the Department will establish an insider threat management and analysis center that can quickly analyze the results of these automated record checks, help connect the dots, and determine whether follow-up action is needed.

It will also advise and support Department of Defense components to ensure appropriate action is taken on each case.

Third, we will centralize authority and accountability for physical and personal security under a single staff assistant, located within the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.  Currently, these responsibilities are fractured among multiple components in the Department.

This action will identify one person within DOD who is responsible for leading efforts to counter inside threats.

Fourth, the Department will accelerate the development of the Defense Manpower Data Center's Identity Management Enterprise Services Architecture.  This program will enable DOD security officers to share access control information and continuously vet individuals against U.S. government databases.

In addition to these actions, we are reviewing the best ways to move forward on three additional recommendations offered by the independent review panel.  We're going to ensure that these ideas are given a full and serious consideration within the broader context of the recommendations from the 120-day security and stability report that was completed by the Office of Management and Budget earlier this month.

First, we will consider reducing the number of personnel holding secret security clearances by at least 10 percent, a recommendation in line with the October 2013 guidance from the Director of National Intelligence.

Second, we will consider reducing DOD's reliance on background investigations conducted by the Office of Personnel Management and undertake a comprehensive analysis of the cost, the efficiency, and effectiveness of returning the clearance review process to this Department.

And, third, we will consider developing more effective measures to screen recruits, further destigmatize treatment, and ensure the quality of mental health care within DOD.

I've directed Undersecretary Vickers to develop an implementation plan based on the recommendations of these reviews and to report back to me in June on the programs that has been made.

Everything the Department of Defense is doing is supporting the broader government-wide review of the oversight of security and suitability standards of federal employees and contractors.  That review was approved by President Obama earlier this month.

That review was led by the Office of Management and Budget and the National Security Council, in coordination with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of Personnel Management.

I think we all understand that open and free societies are always vulnerable, but together we're going to do everything possible to provide our people a safe and secure workplace as possible.

Let me conclude by saying that our thoughts and our prayers go out to the victims and their families of that terrible day.  We will continue to do everything we can to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.  We owe them nothing less.

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