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Armed Deterrence: Countering Soft Target Attacks

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Technical Report

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Aiar War College Maxwell Air Force Base United States

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The continued rise of self-radicalized lone-wolf terrorist attacks and mass shootings by mentally unstable individuals presents significant security challenges for military personnel serving outside of DoD facilities and at geographically separated units that offer no security. The recent attack on a recruiting center in Chattanooga, TN highlights this concern and raises the question of whether arming additional military members is a prudent force protection measure to counter this emerging threat. The overall intent of this paper is to argue that arming select military members with an open carry firearms policy is a prudent force protection measure for Reserve Officer Training Corps ROTC detachments because it provides a visual deterrent against soft target attacks. Further, if perceptual deterrence should fail, an open carry firearms policy is most often the only viable means to stop deny an active shooter in order to safeguard the lives of military personnel. This paper uses a qualitative approach to argue that the benefits of arming ROTC Cadre with an open carry firearms policy outweigh the perceived risks of implementation. Presenting an in depth analysis of the postulated threat, the author synthesizes the problem by first examining current terrorist trends and active shooters events, to include their motivations. The paper then exposes the hazards affecting ROTC detachments due to their unique soft target nature. Four recommendations emerge from this paper, which provide several policy recommendations and considerations for full implementation. The first recommendation involves overhauling DoD Directive 5210.56 in order to address non-DoD owned or leased facilities. The second recommendation proposes that each DoD Component should draft measures to arm ROTC Cadre with an open carry firearms policy.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law

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