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Military Base Active Shooter Attacks

If an armed assailant can successfully kill people at a heavily armed U.S. installation, then no one is without risk.

By Vaughn Baker • President • Strategos International

It’s easy to shrug our shoulders at reports of shootings and attacks. Because they happen so frequently, they can become merely background noise in our lives, leading to complacency.

“What can we do?”

“At least it can’t – or won’t – happen here.”

But a report today grabbed my attention: “Two dead, one injured in shooting at Pearl Harbor base.”

And it’s not the first time an active shooter has assaulted a military installation.

These events shatter our sense of complacency and let the wind out of “it can’t happen here” denialism.

If it can happen there, it can happy anywhere
If this many military bases can be lethally attacked in the United States, then wherever we are, it can happen here.

However, just because it can happen here doesn’t mean it has to.

I’m not a fatalist. I believe our choices make a difference and I’ve seen this to be true numerous times in my decades in law enforcement and security.

Whether it’s a church, school or small business, action can be taken to reduce the risk of an attack. It could be something as simple as locking the front door or requiring a video ID before letting someone inside.

Depending on the type of facility, the plan may be much more complicated. But something is better than nothing.

When I mention these things, people often jump to technology: cameras, alarms, etc.

Those things all have their place. But it’s people – trained people – who make a real difference in stopping attacks.

What kind of training am I talking about? It’s practical and usually doesn’t involve firearms:

  • Situational awareness
  • De-escalating conflict
  • Locking down and locking out bad guys
  • Understanding body language of potentially violent individuals
  • Knowing where and when to keep an eye out for problem people

That’s a start. Much more training may be prudent. But the point is to start.

Even the most secure and heavily armed installations in our nation get attacked and suffer deaths.

It can happen here.

But don’t let it happen on your watch.


Vaughn Baker, Strategos International

Vaughn Baker is president of Strategos International, a Kansas City, Mo.,-based firm that provides security training, consulting and executive protection services. Baker has 20 years of experience in law enforcement including patrol, investigation, SWAT and special operations. He has trained thousands of school, health care, government, law enforcement and military personnel in security practices. Baker has also developed specialized intruder response curriculum for schools and churches, including some of the nation’s leading training on behavior pattern recognition. He is the author of The Church Security Handbook and, with Mark Warren, Active Threat. In addition, he served as deputy director of training and as an instructor for the Surefire Institute, a California-based tactical lighting manufacturer and tactical training company. He is also the director of security for a church of more than 7,500 in the Kansas City area, a position he has held for more than a decade. Connect with Vaughn Baker on LinkedIn.