Navy Yard Tragedy May Prompt Increased Physical Security and Big Data Investments

by Lloyd McCoy Jr., Senior Analyst

Look out for increased investments in technologies related to physical security and background checks in the wake of the mass shooting at the Navy Yard. That is, once the government reopens for business. Law enforcement officials are confident the perpetrator, Aaron Alexis, a federal contractor, gained entry to the base via his valid contractor Common Access Card. This card is very similar to those given to military personnel and Department of Defense civilians and allows relatively unfettered access to most military bases for cleared individuals.

The fact that Alexis was allowed access, despite a history of erratic behavior, has prompted calls for more stringent security safeguards. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel ordered a review of the Department’s security clearance and military base access standards. Expect more scrutiny over the tools we currently use to vet security clearance applicants. Separately, a recent Pentagon inspector general report exposed major flaws in military installation access procedures. That report specifically recommends replacement of the access control system currently used for un-cleared personnel. More recommendations are sure to follow in the wake of last week’s shooting.

As the dust settles after the release of the inspector general report and Hagel’s investigation, expect to see legislation and policies calling for more funding for data mining, data analytics, emergency response, access control, identity and access management, and biometric identity verification.

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