NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – In light of two separate military installation shootings in less than two weeks, many are questioning security and how these tragic shootings keep happening.
Sen. Tim Kaine asked the Navy questions many in Hampton Roads have had since last Monday night’s shooting at Naval Station Norfolk. Kaine was attending a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing Wednesday morning, a few hours before the shootings at Fort Hood.
Though the hearing wasn’t specifically about the Naval Station Norfolk shooting, Kaine brought the topic up when it was his chance to question Navy Assistant Secretary of Energy, Installations and Environment Dennis McGinn.
Kaine questioned how Jeffrey Savage was able to obtain a TWIC card.
“Has it been established whether this individual received the TWIC card prior to his criminal conviction and the card was never revoked, or did he receive the TWIC card in spite of having a manslaughter conviction?” Kaine asked McGinn.
Kaine also questioned whether scaling back the defense budget is the right move.
He draws on his experience as governor of Virginia during the investigation into Virginia Tech’s mass shooting, which revealed mental health programs at the university were underfunded.
“We’re tightening the belt in ways that will come back to bite us in a lot of ways. I don’t know if security is one of those ways, but everything costs money,” Kaine explained. “And if we’re trying to foolishly save here or there, I just worry that we have instances like this — to all kinds of other things that wouldn’t go wrong if we had taken a more strategic approach.”
Sec. McGinn promised to get answers to Sen. Kaine’s questions, but could not answer them at the meeting.
McGinn mentioned the Navy is probing whether security changes recommended in the investigation following the Washington Navy Yard shooting could have prevented last Monday’s tragedy had they already been implemented.
The investigation into the security policies as they relate to the shooting at Naval Station Norfolk is spearheaded by Adm. Bill Gortney, head of the Fleet Forces Command here in Hampton Roads.