Navy To Place Armed Guards At All Off-Base Reserve Centers

| by Kathryn Schroeder

The Navy has authorized armed guards to be placed at all of its reserve centers across the U.S., including those not located on military installations.

The decision was made in response to the Chattanooga, Tennessee, shooting in July at a Navy Reserve Center in which four Marines and a sailor died.

NBC News obtained an email sent to Naval Reservists nine days after the Chattanooga attack that read, “VOLUNTEERS NEEDED IMMEDIATELY!” to provide 45 days of "armed sentry watchstander duty" at 53 “NOSCs,” or Navy Reserve Centers.

“Volunteers must be either MA (master-at-arms) 'A' school graduates or have completed the Security Reaction Force - Basic (SFRB) course," and have the qualification to fire a 9 millimeter weapon, the email stated.

The armed guards will be reservists called to active duty on an all-volunteer basis beginning Aug. 17.

Beginning Oct. 17, volunteers are sought for a year of armed sentry duty at 70 reserve centers.

“The threat posed to military forces in the United States by homegrown violent extremists has increased,” Cmdr. William Marks told Fox News.

Marks said armed guards will be posted at reserve centers as a “matter of prudent and necessary action toward protecting our personnel.”

Recruitment center armed guards may be next.

"It is being considered along with the rest of the full spectrum of force protection measures," a Navy official told NBC News. "Many additional measures are being considered."

Shortly after the Chattanooga shooting, armed civilians stationed themselves outside of more than 1,000 off-base military recruiting centers to offer protection, Opposing Views reported. Marine recruiters were told by the head of the Marine Corps recruiting command, Lt. Gen. Mark Brilakis, to not support the armed citizens and to contact local law enforcement if they came to their centers.

Brilakis said their actions, "while well intentioned, will be counterproductive to our recruiting operations."

To date, the Navy is the only military service that has taken measures towards arming off-base facilities with guards.

Sources: Fox News, NBC News, Opposing Views / Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr