Defense

Review finds information-sharing marred response to Fort Hood attack

Though intelligence agencies intercepted e-mails between Army Maj. Nidal Hasan and a radical Muslim cleric a year before he allegedly went on a violent rampage and killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, lack of clear policy and procedures impeded sharing of such threat information with the Army, the service said in its final review of the deadly incident released on Tuesday.

The FBI also reportedly learned that Hasan had wired money to sources in Pakistan months before the shooting, but again this information did not make its way to the Army.

Foreign intelligence information is shared by the FBI through multiagency federal, state and local Joint Terrorism Task Forces, but prior to the Fort Hood attacks Defense Department participation in these task forces was inadequate, the Army said in its report. The Army now plans to station 26 criminal investigators with these task forces.

In April, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Pentagon will use the FBI's e-Guardian threat reporting system to access multiagency terrorist threat information. In its new report, the Army said it planned to merge information from e-Guardian with classified intelligence information to provide even better insight into potential terrorist threats.

The Army said it has also established a Threat Awareness and Reporting Program , which requires troops to report behavior by fellow soldiers viewed as a potential sign of terrorist or extremist sympathies.

This program is supported online by the new iSalute project, which allows anyone with an Army Knowledge Online account to automatically report suspicious behavior or potential threats.

On releasing the report, Army Chief of Staff George Casey said: "While we know we can never eliminate every potential threat, we've learned from the events at Fort Hood. We have made significant progress, particularly in threat awareness and reporting, coordination in intelligence sharing, and training for our security forces, but our work is not done."

The Fort Hood incident also pushed the Army to improve its background checks, and the service said it plans to fully deploy its Army Investigative Enterprise Solution to automate the process. The Army has budgeted $95 million for this system in fiscal 2011 and $76.2 million in 2012.

In addition, the Fort Hood incident is thought to have exposed the Army's inability to manage its response to a crisis at one of its installations because the service does not use the enhanced 911 phone system to coordinate with police and ambulance departments off base.

An enhanced 911 system, the Army said in its report, requires a well-managed telecommunications infrastructure database capable of providing automatic number identification and automatic location identification, using GPS technology and geographical information systems.

The Army said it will start deploying enhanced 911 systems at its bases in 2012, having budgeted $37.6 million for it in 2012 and 2013.

The Army also plans to deploy mass warning systems at its bases to ensure rapid notification of personnel in case of a crisis. These systems include outdoor "Giant Voice" loudspeaker systems, building speakers, and automated phone and computer alert systems. The Army has budgeted $105.8 million for mass warning systems in 2012 and $117.6 million in 2013.

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