March 20, 2014


Washington, D.C. Navy Yard security checkpoint (Credit: Tim Evanson)

The Department of Defense recently released the results of its investigation into the prior military and employment history of Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. Managers, co-workers, and others who interacted with Alexis voiced concerns about his mental health before the Sept. 16, 2013, shooting that left 12 people dead.

The report many problems with the Navy Yard’s security procedures including:

  • The background check on Alexis was missing critical information
  • Alexis’ secret security clearance had conditions attached, but no one made sure those conditions were followed
  • Alexis’ employer The Experts Inc., a private IT firm, had “no insight into Alexis’ chronic personal conduct issues during his Navy service when they hired him and placed him in a position that required access to classified information”
  • The Experts did not report Alexis’ behavior suggesting his psychological problems
  • Alexis’ Navy supervisors did not report his problematic behavior during the background check on Alexis

The investigative report found that supervisors and employees could have but failed to intervene and raise serious concerns about Alexis. The report notes that The Experts was aware of Alexis’ “erratic behavior” a month before the deadly shooting and removed his security clearance temporarily but did not report the incident or ask the Pentagon’s security service whether the removal should be reported. If Alexis’ problematic behavior had been reported, the Pentagon report states that his authorization to access the Navy Yard would have been revoked.

The Pentagon has not terminated any employee as a result of the mass shooting.