The U.S. Navy released the Command Investigation report on Nov. 20 from the December 6, 2019 Naval Air Station Pensacola Shooting.
In line with FBI findings released in May, the Pensacola investigation concluded that the self-radicalization of 2nd Lt Al-Shamrani was the primary cause of the fatal terrorist attack, and that the heroic actions by the victims on scene and responding forces limited what was already a catastrophic event.
The Navy convened the Command Investigation to specifically examine the facts and circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting, including resulting injuries, death, property damage, security, personnel, and other factors related to the incident. In order to ensure the safety and well-being of uniformed and civilian personnel, the investigating officer was also directed to include an assessment of whether all laws, regulations, programs, policies, and procedures related to Force Protection (FP), emergency response management, insider threat and active shooter training, personal firearms, and vetting of International Military Students were followed.
The investigation examined the adequacy of Force Protection in light of the threat known at the time of the shootings, if the emergency response management was properly executed and if there were any possible deficiencies with FP doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, facilities (DOTMLPF). Investigators also assessed other individual risk factors as well as the appropriateness of Department of the Navy (DON) post-incident response, including medical response, support to victims, survivors, and their families.
The investigation found a number of potential contributing and primary non-contributing factors that will be addressed by a special working group, organized by the Navy’s Security Coordination Board (SCB).
Following the attack, DoD and the Navy took immediate steps to address the safety and security of our installations, service members and their families. The Secretary of the Navy directed a Fleet-wide security stand down, and the Chief of Naval Operations directed the immediate completion of Insider Threat and Active Shooter Training. Naval Forces Northern Command (NAVNORTH) mandated the completion of active shooter table-top training for all Navy personnel in the U.S. Northern Command area of responsibility. Additional Random Antiterrorism Measures (RAMs) were also implemented at naval installations. In January, the Department of Defense directed enhanced screening, vetting and continuous review and monitoring processes for international military students, prohibited IMS from purchasing, owning or handling firearms while training in the United States and limited access to installations where they have an official duty.
Further measures are in work, including improved mass warning and alert notification capabilities, physical security improvements, policy changes, and cultural changes as to how the Navy views Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (ATFP), as well as post-incident response measures.
The SCB is the senior-level governance body for the integration and policy coordination of the Navy Security Enterprise and will implement findings and recommendations from the investigation to make the Navy safer and more secure. It serves as a forum for stakeholders who are responsible for coordinating cross-functional Navy security issues. As the Navy’s cross-functional team for security issues, the working group will also provide recommendations on key policy issues regarding best security practices and standardization.