On July 16, 2015, four Marines were killed and three injured in an attack on an Armed Forces Recruiting Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A fifth victim also died later of wounds sustained during the attack.
By the next day, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter directed military services to “…take immediate steps to improve the security and force protection of our personnel.” He later added, “We must protect our people, installations and facilities from threats.”
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s Chief of Leasing Section, Jonathan Weinberg, and his Recruiting Leasing Team have been working on Carter’s decree and steadily implementing safety measures at recruiting centers – and they’ve been doing so well before the attack in Chattanooga.
From Utah and parts of Nevada, to Visalia in Southern California and up to the border of Oregon, The Recruiting Leasing Team has been responsible for traveling to and implementing safety measures at approximately 130 recruiting centers throughout the Sacramento District.
To date, the team has installed safety features like intercom entry access control, fragment retention film on windows, mechanical roller blinds, entry control bells and peepholes in doors. Future measures slated for all of the Armed Forces Recruiting Centers include closed circuit TV, secondary exits, and possibly ballistic walls.
“It’s not as straightforward as you might think. Some of the recruiting centers don’t even have a second door for egress,” said Weinberg. “Which means we either have to install a door, or if the lease doesn’t allow that, we need to find them a new location.”
The Recruiting Leasing Team has been to every one of the approximately 130 recruiting centers representing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Although the team has already implemented security measures at all of the centers, they still have more work to do.
“The Corps of Engineers was allocated $80 million for fiscal year 2016 to implement safety measures nationwide. That sounds like a lot at first, but Sacramento District received just $4 million of that,” said Weinberg.
With federal monies stretched thin and additional security features still needed at recruiting centers, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines continue to seek additional funding to bolster the Corps’ efforts. When funds are attained, it remains the Recruiting Leasing Team’s responsibility to ensure the security measures get put in place.
“We are proud of the work we’ve already accomplished towards providing safer recruiting stations for the Armed Forces, and we are honored to have the opportunity to continue this important work on their behalf,” said Weinberg.
Weinberg’s team also handles non-recruiting leasing, acquiring and managing leased space for in-house customers such as regulatory and construction, plus other Army customers or agencies that need leasing services but do not have leasing authority.