Minnesota has no plans to arm National Guard in nonsecurity duties
The Minnesota National Guard has no plans to arm soldiers and airmen whose regular duties are not security-related, a Guard spokesman said Monday. But even before the shootings in Chattanooga, Tenn., illustrated potential security concerns for re...
The Minnesota National Guard has no plans to arm soldiers and airmen whose regular duties are not security-related, a Guard spokesman said Monday.
But even before the shootings in Chattanooga, Tenn., illustrated potential security concerns for recruiting centers and other military facilities, the Minnesota National Guard had begun a comprehensive review of how prepared it might be for a possible attack.
The question of security for state National Guard facilities arose after the governors of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Florida and Indiana authorized the arming of full-time National Guard members to deter attacks and allow them to protect themselves and civilians in case they are targeted.
The orders were made last week in response to the deadly rampage in Chattanooga, in which Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez launched an attack against a storefront recruiting center and reserve station and killed four Marines.
A Navy sailor injured in the attack died Saturday.
Gov. Mark Dayton said he won’t order any immediate upgrades to security at Minnesota National Guard recruiting stations or other facilities in the wake of the Chattanooga shootings.
But Dayton said the topic is likely to be the subject of discussion this week when a group of governors, including Dayton, meets in Washington to advise the Guard on a number of issues.
In response to questions from reporters following a morning event, Dayton said the issue of strengthening security for state Guard installations is more of a federal issue for Congress and the president.
“We certainly want to provide the kind of security that allows servicemen and women to do their work safely,” Dayton said. “We certainly want our military men and women here to be safe and protected.”
Dayton is a member of a national forum of governors that advises federal defense agencies on National Guard issues.
The Council of Governors advises the secretary of Defense, secretary of Homeland Security and the White House Homeland Security Council on National Guard matters and civil support missions.
Col. Kevin Olson, a Minnesota Guard spokesman, said the Minnesota Guard reviewed what is known as “force protection” at each of its facilities in May.
The Minnesota Army and Air National Guard also have participated in active shooter response exercises in conjunction with law enforcement.
“While we do not disclose specific security measures at our facilities, enhanced steps include increased patrols, heightened physical security, verification of visitors, a review of emergency action procedures and vehicle security,” Olson said in a statement.
Armed security officers are permanently stationed at the air bases in Duluth and Minneapolis.
Olson said security measures for state National Guard and federal facilities will continue to be evaluated and enhanced as deemed necessary.