Under the Radar

Sound Off: Should the Military Allow Civilians to Guard Recruiting Centers?

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The Pentagon has long insisted that its recruiting centers around the country be staffed by unarmed men and women, mostly to create what that brass believes is a welcoming environment for potential recruits and partially to short-circuit theories that the military is secretly planning a domestic takeover.

In the wake of the July 16 shootings at two facilities in Chattanooga, TN, armed civilians (many of them veterans) have been standing guard at recruiting centers around the country.

Department of Defense spokesman Peter Cook has asked the self-appointed guardians to stand down:

While we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support for our recruiters from the American public, we ask that individuals not stand guard at recruiting offices as it could adversely impact our mission, and potentially create unintended security risks. We continue to partner with and rely on first responders for the safety of the communities where our service members live and work.

Cook's request may have been prompted by the accidental discharge of an AR-15 outside a Lancaster, Ohio facility last Thursday.

There are a lot of questions here. Do you agree with the Pentagon's position that unarmed recruiters create a more welcoming environment? If so, do civilians armed with automatic weapons marching around outside create an even more forbidding scene than an armed recruiter sitting behind a desk? Should the military run its facilities the way it sees fit or is self-appointed civilian oversight the way to go? Sound off!

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