A recent report by the Defense Department’s inspector general office has revealed that 128 civilians were able to live on military bases due to a poor vetting process and inefficient background checks. Civilians were able to secure hosing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana; Fort Detrick, Maryland; and Naval Station Mayport, Florida do to the inefficient, and sometimes non-existent, background checks. Current laws allow civilians to live on military bases in privatized housing if total occupancy for the base falls under 95% and no other Department of Defense affiliated renters apply for the housing.
Current policy requires the Army and Air Force to screen all non-employee access card holders through both an FBI and interstate data base to determine whether or not they have warrants for their arrest, are on a terrorist watch list, or have committed a felony in the past ten years. The Navy only utilizes the FBI databases. Anyone that is flagged for any of these offenses is denied access to the base and any available housing.
However, the report shows that 110 of the civilians given access to the bases were give completely unrestricted access without being submitted to complete background checks. 10 of the residents living on the bases had no background check completed at all. 61 one of these civilians were granted access even after their leases expired and they had no reason to access the base. This oversight represents a severe threat to national security where potential terrorists or spies are given free rein over U.S. military bases.
The three bases mentioned above were selected completely at random. It is likely that many other bases have erroneously allowed civilians to roam throughout their respective territories.
Investigators have blamed the “oversights” on commanding officers not providing adequate guidance for the vetting process, despite a clear set of standards and regulations already being in place. The military has committed to running complete background checks on all civilians currently living on military bases. The Air Force and Navy have allegedly finished background checks this summer. The Army has not commented on when the comprehensive background checks will be completed.