NORFOLK -- The Admiral assigned to study base security in the wake of last week’s Washington Navy Yard rampage says there are no absolute guarantees when it comes to safety.
Fleet Forces Command Commanding Officer Admiral Bill Gortney said Tuesday there is no way to simply seal off bases and stop all people from entering.
“If we want to try and protect ourselves 100 percent from the insider threat, we wouldn’t be able to operate,” Gortney said. “We wouldn’t be able to function. We wouldn’t be able to have access to our bases. So, then it comes down to how do you mitigate that? And that comes down to proper vetting of the people that get onto the base. And no system is perfect. But we can improve and we will."
Adm. Gortney and Marine Lieutenant General Richard Tryon have been assigned to complete a quick assessment of current physical security and access control measures at bases, to be completed by Friday. A second, more thorough review with recommendations, must be finished by October 31.
“We do not want to lock down our bases and not let people on, “ Adm. Gortney said. “We have to accept a certain amount of risk and we have to make sure we strike the right balance to do the proper security to provide levels of protection and security, as well as being able to function."
Despite the many challenges, Adm. Gortney said force protection is his top priority. “That is our primary concern, our sailors and civilians and all of our families, that we give them a safe environment to operate in.”