As a former member of the U.S. military and a combat vet, it pained me to see four Marines and a Navy sailor cut down by a lone jihadi in Chattanooga, Tenn., last week. This latest attack has, once again, launched a discussion about why U.S. military members are not armed when they are on post or at an off-post duty station (like a recruiting center).Ordinarily, I will admit there is no need for most members of the U.S. military to be armed. When they are not operating in a war zone, historically threats to their lives from hostile actors has been no more or no less significant than to the general public at large.
But these are not ordinary times. Today, America’s uniformed service members face increased risks from precisely the threat that killed the Marines and sailor. That threat is growing and, in fact the Obama administration and the Defense Department have known this for some time. Continue reading