Immediately following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, military installations and federal facilities went to extremely high states of physical security, probably the highest posture seen in decades. This state of readiness stayed in place for several months in some cases, and remained heightened for years above what had previously been normal.
Relaxation of that posture is appropriate, but physical security remains an important consideration; terrorist organizations pose an enduring risk to our nation. Unfortunately, over the dozen years since the attacks, many people have returned to a pre-9/11 sense of security, both personally and operationally. Recent examples illustrate this point.
Within a four-day period in March, I witnessed three incidents of poor security procedures on the same small annex of a larger naval installation. What may appear as isolated examples could actually represent a more widespread problem and an unacceptable level of risk.