U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In 2015, in an exclusive interview on Ammoland, Candidate (now President) Donald Trump promised he would mandate that soldiers remain armed and alert at our military bases. From AmmoLand, Candidate Trump:
“They will be able to defend themselves against terrorists. Our brave soldiers should not be at risk because of policy created by civilian leadership. Political correctness has no place in this debate.”
That policy was reiterated in 2018. President Trump said he would review the policy of keeping service members disarmed on our military bases and recruiting centers. From military.com:
President Donald Trump said Friday that he would review policies that keep troops from carrying personal weapons onto military bases.
In spite of this promise, highly trained and motivated aviators were killed by a terrorist at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, on 6 December, 2019. Several were wounded. All were unarmed by DOD and Naval policy. While NAS Pensacola has a security team, they were ineffective in stopping the terrorist at the base:
He says this group is comprised of active-duty sailors and individuals from the department of Naval citizens. He says these are the only armed personnel on the base, all other firearms are banned.
As reported in Fox News, the instructor pilots say the victims the gunman preyed on were defenseless. People in the Pensacola community believe if more people were armed, the shooter wouldn’t have been able to kill three Navy sailors.
It was sheriff’s deputies that effectively responded.
The sheriff’s office says two deputies were also shot and injured while responding to the incident, including an officer that killed the shooter. The deputies suffered non-life threatening injuries and were taken to area hospitals for treatment.
The active-shooter situation was first reported at 6:51 a.m. and authorities said the shooter killed by deputies at the base around 7:45 a.m. on Friday.
It is unclear if any base security members were among the first responders.
There is a deep, long-standing prejudice against allowing active-duty members to be armed outside of extremely limited circumstances in the United States Military. I suspect it originates from the endemic Progressive philosophy that has spread through much of the American political elite over the last 100 years.
The military has been used to indoctrinate service members for social engineering since at least WWII. Progressivism, as a philosophy, is anti-Second Amendment in its DNA. Within the elite, military people are expected to disdain, look down upon, and discourage the actual carry of weapons.
Candidate Trump may have underestimated the political correctness within the military brass. President Trump was never a bureaucrat. In Bureaucracies, there is a long known and practiced method of preventing superiors from implementing policies you disagree with. It is defiance by compliance.
I believe this happened to frustrate President Trump’s desire to stop our military base and recruitment centers from being gun free, defenseless victim zones.
On November 18 of 2016, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence issued the latest iteration of DoD Directive 5210.56, ARMING AND THE USE OF FORCE, approved by Robert O. Work, the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Robert O. Work is a retired Marine Colonel who joined the Obama administration in 2009, as part of the transition team. He left the Trump administration in 2017.
The iteration of DoD Directive 5210.56 put into effect on November of 2016, appears to be a response to the demand that service members, at least those who already had concealed carry permits, be allowed to be armed on government installations, so as to defend themselves and others. This appears to be the sort of policy candidate Trump was calling for.
DoD Directive 5210.56 appears to remain in effect.
It is a classic example of defiance by compliance in management.
The timing was exquisite. It was put into effect 10 days after President Trump was elected, but long before he was inaugurated. When President Trump took office, it was already done. He had *no* input into the directive.
When you read the directive, you have to understand the military bureaucracy and the incentives put into play within the bureaucracy, to see how the directive, while sounding as if it allows for personnel with a concealed carry permit to be armed, has the practical effect of making sure virtually none are allowed to carry.
All of the incentives built into the procedure are designed to prevent commanders from allowing their subordinates to be routinely armed for defense of self and others. For example, consider this gem, from the directive 1.2.:
b. Arming DoD personnel other than law enforcement and security personnel will be considered for locations where law enforcement or security personnel are not located on site or in a reasonable proximity. For example, DoD personnel assigned recruiting duties should not be armed when visiting high schools that have law enforcement or security personnel on site.
The implications are, if there are *any* law enforcement or security personnel, “in a reasonable proximity”, DoD personnel “should not be armed”.
Why? Such a policy makes determination of when DoD personnel are allowed to be armed an exercise in vague possibilities. A commander would be subject to second guessing if police or “security personnel” are in “reasonable proximity”.
This makes no sense at all. We need more armed responders, not fewer. The purpose seems to be to make the arming of personnel a legal minefield no commander is likely to accept responsibility for.
Consider subsection 1.2 f. Notice how it carefully separates carrying for personal protection from the performance of official duties. This strips the protections built into the law for military personnel in the performance of their official duties from people who are carrying for defense of self and others. It is exactly the opposite of good policy, which would be to incorporate the carrying for defense of self and others into military personnel’s official duties.
f. Permitting the carrying of privately owned firearms for personal protection purposes not related to the performance of official duties or duty status will be implemented in accordance with Section 4 of this issuance; the Secretary of Defense Message, “Privately Owned Firearms;” DoDI 5200.08; and applicable federal, State, and local law. DoD personnel in locations outside the United States and who are permitted to carry privately owned firearms for personal protection purposes on DoD installations must also comply with applicable host-nation laws and international agreements.
The purpose of the paragraph seems to be to deliberately strip military personnel of the protections built into the law when on active duty, so as to discourage carrying for defense of self and others.
We have this little gem, which forbids carry in federal buildings, unless a specific legal exemption applies, as determined by legal counsel. No commander worth his salt would grant such a permit unless he has the legal counsel’s opinion in writing. It makes the granting of such a permit a practical nullity. If service members are not allowed to carry in federal buildings, what is the point?
a. May grant permission to DoD personnel requesting to carry a privately owned firearm (concealed or open carry) on DoD property for a personal protection purpose not related to performance of an official duty or status. Permissions granted under this section do not apply to carrying a firearm within federal buildings unless the arming authority specifically determines, after consultation with servicing legal counsel and in accordance with applicable DoD policy, that an appropriate exception under Section 930(d) of Title 18, U.S.C. applies.
Consider the requirements for concealed carry:
c. Concealed Carry Requirements. When an individual has been permitted to carry a concealed privately owned handgun on DoD property, the handgun must:
(1) Be concealed completely whether wearing civilian clothes or a military uniform. The concealment must not interfere with normal duties.
(2) Meet State law requirements regarding caliber, ammunition, capacity, and design.
(3) Be holstered, including when carried in a purse, backpack, handbag, or case. The holster must be specifically designed for the handgun being carried to protect against accidental discharge.
Why so restrictive? To minimize the possibility of anyone actually being able to carry in defense of self and others. A service member who might be granted such a permit (an extremely unlikely occurrence) would risk their career on the potential some one might see a print of their firearm or notice it inadvertently.
Why place military personal under the local requirements of extremely restrictive jurisdictions such as New Jersey, California, or Hawaii? To make obtaining permits difficult and rare.
One of the purposes of a policy of having personnel carry for defense of self and others, should be to encourage such an activity, not actively discourage it.
DoD Directive 5210.56, November 18, 2016, actively discourages commanders from granting permits. It actively discourages service members from applying for permits. All of the incentives are exactly opposite of the point of having more armed responders available to protect themselves and others in the event of an attack like the Pensacola attack, or the Chattanooga, Tennessee Reserve Center attack, the second Fort Hood attack, the Norfolk Va. murder, the Navy Yard complex active murders, the Quantico murders, the first Ft. Hood murders with Nidal Hassan, and the Little Rock Arkansas Recruiting Center murder by Abdulhakim Jujahid Muhammad. It is a classic example of defiance by compliance.
Of these murders, only one was resisted by a service member or who was armed as other than a military guard or policeman. That was Lt. Cmdr. Tim White, who defended his men against a Jihadi attack at the Naval Operational Support Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2015. White is an Annapolis Naval Academy graduate, as was Watson who was killed in Pensacola. White is credited as having fired the first three bullets that struck Abdulhakim Jujahid Muhammad.
In a Times Free Press interview later on Wednesday, White said “it was obvious that it was the police that fatally wounded Abdulazeez. But he was also hit on his right side, and I’m the only person who had that aspect of him as he was running from his car to the front of the reserve center.
“He was hit on his shoulder and on his hip, and we think about three times. I fired six shots and at least three of the shots hit him,” White added.
Earlier, the Navy commander, who arrived at the Capitol with his wife, Franicia, and the couple’s seven children, displayed a different side of who he is. A devout Christian.
White did not face penalties and disciplinary action, primarily because he was the commander of the installation, and thus had wide discretion. At first, he thought his career was over, even though he was the commander. From newschannel9.com:
“When I pulled my weapon out I was 99% positive my career was over, and so once I shot at him I wasn’t so concerned about my career because that was an effort to save life and life is precious,” LCDR said.
It would have been far different if he had been a non-commissioned officer clearly violating policy.
What can President Trump do to reverse this perverse policy?
1. Give clear direction to the DoD to change the policy to encourage carry by military service members for protection of self and others.
2. Make clear the oath to defend the Constitution includes defense of the Second Amendment.
3. Make clear defense of self and others will be considered a part of the service members’ who participate in official duties, and as such, is protected by law.
4. Demand clear, positive incentives for Commanders to issue permits for such carry. Reverse the current incentives, which are all aimed at minimizing the number of service members carrying for defense of self and others. Potential examples are:
Require a denial of a request to carry by a commander be given in writing, explaining the reason for the time, place, and situational restrictions. The default position should be to grant the permit for officers and non-commissioned officers.
Permits for ranks below E-5 should be encouraged by using it as a reward for exemplary performance. It would become a status symbol.
Make carrying for defense of self an others a rewarding activity by adding an additional point to the score of the annual review of service members who participate.
Grant an additional day of leave for service members who score expert with a sidearm, and who carry, on annual qualifications.
Encourage service members to obtain and carry their privately owned sidearms.
5. Demand measured metrics of the policy effects: How many service members are carrying in defense of self and others? Numbers to be reported every six months.
These are a few of the measures which could change the climate denigrating the carry of personal arms that has infected the U.S. military. These changes would aid in the protection of our service members, and the country. They would be a positive confirmation of the oath of all service members to protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
They would be another promise kept by President Trump, Commander in Chief.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.