The military services have taken swift action to increase security after Thursday's shootings in Tennessee, even closing some facilities and telling Marine recruiters not to wear uniforms in public.
Defense Secretary Ash Cater approved immediate steps taken by the military branches to increase security and has told the services to get back to him by the end of next week with additional force protection measures, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement on Friday.
The steps were taken just a day after a gunman attacked two military facilities in Chattanooga, leaving four Marines and one sailor dead. Suspected gunman Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez was killed in the attacks on a joint-service recruiting station and a nearby Navy Operational Support Center.
One of the steps Carter approved was Marine Corps Recruiting Command's decision to have recruiters not wear their military uniforms for now, a defense official said. The recruiting command also closed down all offices within 40 miles of the facilities in Chattanooga and increased the force protection condition level from "Bravo" to "Charlie."
"Charlie" is the third highest security level. It indicates an incident has occurred or officials have evidence that terrorists are planning an attack. Security measures can include thorough vehicle inspections and requiring an escort to get on base, according to a pamphlet from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.
U.S. Army Recruiting Command has also elevated its force protection condition level to "Charlie" in coordination with the Marine Corps, the Defense official said. Navy Recruiting Command Southeast has doubled the number of hours it conducted Random Access measures and has increased efforts to work with local law enforcement to increase police patrol presence.
U.S. Northern Command raised the force protection condition level to "Bravo" in May just days after two suspected terrorists were shot before they could attack a contest in Texas that depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a cartoon.
Defense officials have said that NORTHCOM does not plan to raise the security levels on U.S. military bases, but the defense official explained that commanders have the ability to increase the force protection condition levels if they feel the need to do so.