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Security consultant: 'You can't plan for everything'

Posted September 17, 2013

— Monday's shooting at the Washington Navy Yard has prompted a national debate about security.

Jerry Blanchard, chief executive officer of Risk Management Associates, a consulting firm in Raleigh that has worked with NASA, the Department of Defense and the U.S. General Services Administration, counsels clients about the importance of thorough security clearances for employees.

Blanchard says the Navy Yard rampage, which killed 12 people and injured 14 others, is not the kind of thing anyone can predict or prevent with certainty.

“You cannot plan for everything, but the thing to do is have good policies and procedures, and follow those policies and procedures with respect to your hiring practices, your background investigations,” he said.

Blanchard said although it's important to have good basic security, key card access, security cameras and locked doors, those measure are not going to stop a determined shooter. The best defense, he said, are employees.

“When you're talking about workplace violence and those kinds of things in the workplace, that's where friends and co-workers can be the first line of defense in detecting something is not right,” he said.

Blanchard said as more is learned about Aaron Alexis, the man identified as the Navy Yard shooter, it’s likely that warning signs will be discovered.

“I think when the authorities dig through, we'll find that there's a history of things that have happened that could have been flagged, and somebody, maybe, could have intervened a little bit more and prevented it,” he said.


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  • babedan Sep 18, 2013

    People are ignorant of what a secure building is. Any building that requires a pass key, finger print entry or combination of both are considered secure facilities. You don't necessarly have a guard at every door frisking you as you go in and out. That is why background checks are done, And until you become a doctor and state who is and isn't "crazy" then you have no business asking why his clearance wasn't pulled.

  • babedan Sep 18, 2013

    So, let's see, this man had done nothing wrong and you want to lock him up. Yea, that'd go over real well, It's amazing how many doctors we have on this board. Lock him up and see how many lawyers come and filing multi-million dollar lawsuits. What is someone who has a problem with you tells someone you are hearing voices and they lock you up. It is obvious AFTER THE FACT the man had a problem, but with todays sue first society, you have to be very careful before you say someone is insane

  • dollibug Sep 18, 2013

    This man had several encounters with the law and someone should have done something-and then another person reported that he was hearing voices and reported this to the NAVY and still NO ONE DID ANYTHING ABOUT IT. It seems like no one does anything BEFORE something happens, they all talk about what could have been done, should have been done after it has already happened. NOT A GOOD THING TO DO.

  • glarg Sep 18, 2013

    My understanding is that police in Rhode Island called the base and reported his microwave freakout and the Feds did nothing.

    This is getting eerily similar to the Boston Bombing where the Federal government was warned about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. And the government's report concluded "there was no way to prevent it".

    Lets see- restrict constitutional rights of innocent citizens, or be bothered to follow up on warnings?

  • Radioactive Ted Sep 18, 2013

    Many people (most) are completely unrealistic in their expectations of security. Really, nothing is completely secure. There real question becomes, how much are you willing to spend to make an incremental increase in security? Both in terms of money for security and the decrease in productivity when long lines make getting into and out of a facility a chore. In addition, there is the morale problem when Big Brother is always looking over your shoulder while you work.

  • xylem01 Sep 18, 2013

    What does Jack Van Impe say about these ocurrances?

  • itlsss Sep 18, 2013

    Security? If you can take a shotgun into a top secret facility what do you reckon you could take out?

  • ecp1951 Sep 17, 2013

    there are many more just like him that could go off on a moment's notice. ptsd and the stress of deployments is really having an adverse on many of these people. some get help and some try to deal with it on their own. I don't think this will be the last we see of it.

  • Barfly Sep 17, 2013

    Zero security. There is zero security if ANYONE can enter a secure facility carrying a shotgun. Zero.

  • 3forme Sep 17, 2013

    Armed military workers..