Thursday, October 8, 2009

Contract military guards asleep...literally. Do we want this at NWS Earle?

Once the Department of Navy opens Laurelwood housing to civilians by its intended deadline of September, 2010, the base commander (whether current Capt. Maynard or a successor) and his security team will be responsible for the ensuing 30 years for policing the new 2-mile road from Rt. 34 to the homes, in addition to enhancing security and bringing on additional staff to keep civilians out of the fully functional areas of a facility w/300 bunkers of bombs and ammo.

Currently, the Department of the Navy uses contract security guards to supplement the seemingly thin staff of Naval police who patrol the base and cover 2nd- and 3rd-shift duties. The company that provides this service is Myers Investigative & Security, apparently of Dunn, NC. (Myers' legacy website is no longer available, and as is the case with many private military contractors, it is often difficult to trace the whereabouts of executives or contacts with these service providers).

Anyway, the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense, in this report issued in January of 2009 at the request of Congressman Chris Smith, found that Weapons Station Earle failed to prove background checks on Myers guards working within its lines, nor did it maintain proper oversight of these (essentially) rent-a-cops.

This becomes all the more unsettling in light of this Associated Press story, citing a report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting, today that an Army sergeant at a U.S. military base in Kuwait not only found a contract security guard leaning back in a chair, apparently sound asleep while on duty, but that defense auditors also found at least $6 billion of questionable charges where contractors are bilking the military.

Now what does a contract security guard asleep on the job in Kuwait, plus the bilking of the DoD have to do with guards at Earle or NOPE? As U.S. taxpayers...EVERYTHING!

Even bluer in the face, NOPE continues to argue that the costs to the Department of Navy to enforce the civilian occupancy portion of an outdated private military housing contract will not only nullify the Navy's presumed savings (the Navy says it will cost too much to buy out the deal and needs to open Laurelwood to civilian renters), but introduce the base to all sorts of threats to the core mission of transporting and storing explosives. The last thing we in the NOPE community need, outside of the financial devastation to our towns, is for a contract guard at Earle to fall asleep on the job and for something bad to happen at the base.

Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up...

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