Publicly Released: August 11, 2022
The objectives of this evaluation were to determine whether the DoD and its Law Enforcement Organizations (LEOs):
- established effective active shooter incident response policies, plans, and training in accordance with DoD and Military Service requirements; and
- have active shooter incident response policies, plans, and training that include non-first responder LEOs, who are authorized to carry weapons on DoD facilities and installations.
DoD LEOs are organizations with a law enforcement function. The DoD has multiple LEOs, which include the U.S. Army Military Police, Naval Security Forces, Air Force Security Forces, U.S. Marine Corps Military Police, and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. Each DoD LEO has different roles and responsibilities for responding to active shooter incidents on DoD installations. The DoD LEOs have military police and security force personnel, civilian police officers, security guards, criminal investigators, contract security guards, and other armed personnel to fulfill these roles and responsibilities. More specifically, the Manual for Courts-Martial describes military law enforcement personnel as security police, military police, master at arms personnel, members of the shore patrol, and persons designated by proper authorities to perform military criminal investigation, guard, or police duties, whether subject to the code or not, when the making of an apprehension is in the execution of law enforcement duties.
DoD Instruction 6055.17, “DoD Emergency Management Program,” establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures for conducting emergency management activities at DoD installations worldwide. DoD Instruction 6055.17 defines an active shooter threat as a “random or systematic killing in a confined, populated area.” From 2009 through 2020, 11 active shooter incidents occurred on DoD installations.
We determined the DoD does not have an overall law enforcement policy covering the DoD LEO response to an active shooter incident, but five existing policies contain some elements that provide active shooter incident response requirements. These elements, although related to emergency management, arming of personnel, lessons learned, incident response plans, and training, only provide minimal active shooter incident response requirements. Due to the lack of an overall active shooter DoD law enforcement policy, the DoD LEOs did not consistently comply with the five existing DoD policies and did not establish consistent policies, plans, or training for responding to an active shooter incident.
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security (OUSD[I&S]) officials told us that current DoD policy did not specifically address the distinction between LEO and non-LEO personnel authorities for the use of force during an active shooter incident. The officials also stated that the LEO and non-LEO personnel authorities must be defined in DoD Directive 5210.56 by OUSD(I&S) before a specific DoD active shooter incident response policy can be developed. At the time of this report, OUSD(I&S) was developing policy.
As a result, the Military Services, installation LEOs, and Defense Criminal Investigative Organizations may respond inconsistently to an active shooter incident. The lack of a DoD LE active shooter incident response policy may result in a delayed and uncoordinated response that could increase casualties during an active shooter incident on DoD facilities and installations.
We recommend that the Secretary of the Navy review, validate, and publish the law enforcement lessons learned from the active shooter incidents at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, and Naval Air Station Pensacola into the Joint Lessons Learned Information System, as required by DoD Instruction O-2000.16, Volume 1, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 3150.25G.
We recommend that the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security update DoD Directive 5210.56, or other appropriate policy, to include and standardize active shooter incident response procedures and planning, equipment, and training requirements for all Department and Service LEOs.
We recommend that the Director of Security Forces, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, develop and provide active shooter specific incident response training at its basic military law enforcement academy at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, as required by DoD Instruction 5525.15 and by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission Guideline #1.
Management Comments and Our Response
The Secretary of the Navy did not respond to the recommendation in the report to review, validate, and publish the law enforcement lessons learned from the active shooter incidents; therefore, the recommendation is unresolved. We request that the Secretary of the Navy provide comments on the final report.
The Acting Director for Defense Intelligence, Counterintelligence, Law Enforcement, and Security, responding for the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, agreed with some of the recommendations to update DoD Directive 5210.56, or another appropriate policy, to include and standardize active shooter incident response procedures and planning, equipment, and training requirements for all Department and Service LEOs. He described specific actions OUSD(I&S) would take to implement those recommendations. We consider these recommendations for OUSD(I&S) resolved, but open.
Additionally, the Acting Director partially agreed with other recommendations to update DoD Directive 5210.56, or another appropriate policy, to include and standardize active shooter incident response procedures and planning, equipment, and training requirements for all Department and Service LEOs. The Acting Director provided several reasons for partially agreeing with the recommendations and provided actions OUSD(I&S) would take to implement the parts of the recommendations where he agreed. However, the actions described by the Acting Director did not fully address the intent of these recommendations. As a result, these recommendations for OUSD(I&S) are unresolved. We request additional comments on the actions OUSD(I&S) will take to identify and update the appropriate DoD-level policies to address the specifics of the recommendations.
The Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering, and Force Protection, responding for the Director of Security Forces, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, agreed with the recommendation to provide active shooter incident response training. The Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff described specific actions the Air Force took to implement the recommendation. We consider the recommendation for the Air Force resolved and closed.
This report is a result of Project No. D2021-DEV0SV-0022.000.