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Pentagon’s Policy On Tracking Troops’ Personal Weapons: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
U.S. troops are allowed to carry personal weapons for their protection on stateside military facilities, but the Defense Department has no idea how many service members are actually packing.
The issue of whether service members should be allowed to bring their personal weapons onto military bases came up during President Trump’s Feb. 23 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, in which he cited the July 2015 attacks in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that killed four Marines and a sailor as a reason why more troops should be armed.
“We’re going to look at that whole military base gun-free zone,” Trump said. “If we can’t have our military holding guns, it’s pretty bad. We had a number of instances on military bases. You know that. So we want to protect our military.”
So far, the Defense Department has not been told to make any changes to its policy that allows troops to carry concealed weapons if they meet all federal, state, and local laws and other eligibility requirements, said Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. The policy does not apply to troops overseas.
When that policy went into effect in November 2016, it clarified how commanders at individual military installations can allow their troops to carry privately owned firearms – whether concealed or open carry – for self-protection, Davis told Task & Purpose.
Those commanders are not required to tell the Pentagon which of their troops have permission to bring personal weapons on base, said Davis, who is not aware of any plans to create a federal database of personnel who carry privately owned weapons on military facilities.
“Since it’s done at the local level, it’s not being tracked by DoD,” Davis said. “The local installations keep track of that.”
Having the Defense Department keep track of how many troops carry their personal weapons on bases for protection would require the Pentagon to compile information from local commanders and verify its accuracy, he said.
Davis also emphasized that commanders do not give troops permission to carry their privately owned firearms on base indefinitely.
“Written permission will be valid for 90 days or as long as the DoD Component deems appropriate and will include information necessary to facilitate the carrying of the firearm on DoD property consistent with safety and security,” the policy says.
So while President Trump wants to ensure all service members can protect themselves from terrorists, it appears that no one in the Pentagon will know for the foreseeable future how many troops have applied for and been granted permission to bring their guns to work.
The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.
The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.
An F-15 is rocking a WWII paint job to honor a B-17 pilot who gave his life to save a wounded crewman
An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.
A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.
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Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.
After 70 years, service members are finally filing medical malpractice claims against the US military
Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.
Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.
It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.
Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.
A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.
Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.
With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.