NORFOLK In the last year, Navy installations in Hampton Roads have conducted at least four counter and anti-terrorism exercises as part of annual training known as Solid Curtain/Citadel Shield.
Various scenarios have included a lone gunman firing shots in the Naval Station Norfolk Commanding Officer's headquarters building, an active shooter at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek harbor, and a terrorist releasing anthrax from the sky over Naval Air Station Oceana.
Former Naval Station Norfolk Commanding Officer Joe Bouchard says he is impressed with all the security upgrades since he was C.O. from 2000 to 2003.
Bouchard says before the USS Cole bombing and the 9-11 attacks, he remembers gate security guards who didn't even check identifications cards.
'They're constantly drilling to be ready for intrusion attempts,' Bouchard said. 'The security on the bases is very good today.'
But with word Tuesday that Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has ordered top-to-bottom reviews of security at all Naval and Marine Corps installations in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard rampage, Bouchard says it is impossible to make every base 100 percent safe.
'In a free society we cannot completely eliminate our vulnerabilities without giving up the freedoms we cherish,' he said. 'An individual who has security clearances, who has the passes to get on an installation, who has had a background check that didn't turn up anything significant, but who harbors a grudge, or for whatever reason, develops psychological problems or whatever, that insider kind of threat is the most difficult threat to defend against.'