Chairman Carper: “We Have a Responsibility to the Victims and Their Families to Learn All That We Can from Navy Yard Incident to Prevent Similar Tragedies from Happening Again”

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released a statement in response to several reports released by the Department of Defense, the Navy, and Office of Management and Budget regarding the September 16, 2013 shooting at the Washington Navy Yard:

“While we may never fully understand what events led to the tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard, we have a responsibility to the victims and their families to learn all that we can to prevent similar tragedies from happening again. Indeed, we owe it to the entire nation to strengthen our capacity to prevent individuals with ill intent from gaining access to our most sensitive facilities and secret information. In the wake of the shootings last September, our Committee began a review of the security clearance process and security practices and procedures at federal facilities. After holding two hearings on this terrible event, it became clear that the quality of our security clearance review processes, as well as the physical security at our federal buildings, are in need of improvement. The reports released today underscore our hearings’ findings and confirm our fears and frustrations that this tragedy might have been prevented. The inter-agency review of the security clearance process, led by the Office of Management and Budget, offers a comprehensive set of common-sense reforms to address vulnerabilities in the government’s process for determining security clearances. And the reports issued today by the Department of Defense and the Navy underscore the urgency of these reforms. I will work closely with the Office of Management and Budget’s Deputy Director for Management, Beth Cobert, as well as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, Katherine Archuleta, as they work with other agencies to properly implement the reports’ recommendations. Our Committee will carefully review the Administration’s proposals to determine which recommendations may need additional legislative authority to be fully effective.

“I frequently say, ‘The road to improvement is always under construction’ and that is certainly true when it comes to safeguarding sensitive government information as well as federal facilities and the men and women who work there. The world around us is constantly changing and so are the threats to our security.  We should always strive to figure out how to respond effectively to that constant state of change and do things better.  It’s clear that we still have more work to do to learn as much as we can from this tragedy and try to prevent similar ones in the future but I believe the recommendations from these reports will help us better prepare for the next threat, and in turn, save lives.”