The Chattanooga Shooting: Domestic Terror in Tennessee?

On July 16th, 2015 a gunman opened fire on two military installations in Chattanooga, Tennessee killing four Marines and one Navy Sailor. The gunman first opened fire on a military recruitment center with what Police believe was a variant of an AK-47 assault rifle. He then drove seven miles away to a Naval Reserve center where he opened fire again before being gun downed by police

Initial media reports indicate that the Chattanooga shooting gunman, Mohammad Youssuf Abudulazeez, may have beenChattanooga Shooting radicalized by ISIS or other Islamist groups. However, the investigation is still ongoing and the FBI has not yet confirmed that the Chattanooga shooting was an instance of domestic terror. Despite the ongoing investigation, ISIS has waged a media campaign calling upon sympathizers to attack targets in the US homeland. As such, renewed attention has been thrust on the physical security of installations operated by the military, government, and law enforcement.

Using Physical Security to Defend Against Domestic Terror

As a result of the Chattanooga shooting, government officials will be looking at new ways to bolster physical security. While significant improvements were made to physical security in the years after September 11th, the new domestic terror threat posed by lone wolf gunmen may require additional measures. Although there are many physical security measures that government agencies should take, the three examples below help illustrate the approach:

  1. Lowering the Profile: Government officials should attempt to lower the profile of their personnel and installations. Obviously, this cannot be done in every circumstance. Military recruiters and recruitment centers are designed to be seen. However, agencies should attempt to eliminate unnecessary signage, taking special precautions to obfuscate the activities of their more senior members.
  2. Counter surveillance training: Terror attacks are often preceded by some type of surveillance or reconnaissance. This helps the terrorist better plan for the attack. However, this type of action can often be spotted beforehand, and organizations should train their people to identify surveillance, casing, and other suspicious activities.
  3. Visual Obstructions: Organizations can use visual obstructions to protect against shooters and gunman. In fact, this is one of the cheapest physical security measures to implement. Trees, foliage, frosted glass, furniture, and much more can be used to obstruct the vision of a potential shooter. Without a clear line of site, the shooter has trouble planning his attack and engaging his targets.

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The IMG Group is a leading employee security firm with considerable experience in physical security. Corporate or business organizations concerned about their need for detailed physical security planning can reach out to the IMG Group for assistance. The company’s expert security consultants provide services such as employee protection, VIP and executive protection, risk and threat assessments, workplace violence prevention, protective services, crisis management planning, and more.

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