Military personnel at recruiting centres should be 'authorised to arm themselves'

Military recruiting army navyAP Photo/Bebeto MatthewsAn NYPD anti-terrorism officer stands guard with a K-9 unit at a military recruiting station in Times Square, Friday, July 17, 2015, in New York.

The shooting that killed four Marines at two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee has prompted questions about how best to protect these centres from potential attacks.

Rand Corporation terrorism and security expert, Brian Michael Jenkins told the New York Times Friday that facilities like the military recruiting center targeted by a 24-year-old gunman Thursday are deemed “soft targets,” and are “no more protected than a shoe store in a shopping mall.”

Jenkins says the people working there “are in uniform, but unarmed.”

That vulnerability has led Oklahoma governor, Mary Fallin (R) to issue an executive order authorizing full-time military personnel to arm themselves at military facilities in the state, KOKH-TV reports.

“It is unfathomable that [unarmed Marines] should be vulnerable for attack in our own communities,” Fallin said in a statement Friday.

FBI spokesman Ed Reinhold said the shooting in Chattanooga is being investigated “as an act of terrorism until we can confirm it is not.”

It’s another in a string of similar attacks against military outposts in the US since 2009. In that period, three different attacks on military installations in the US have left 26 people dead.

Not all of the attacks, however, were a result of homegrown extremism — but such motives have been on the rise, according to analysis from New America, a nonpartisan think tank.

In a July report, the organisation found 313 individuals have been charged with jihadist extremism within the United States since 2001.

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