WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Wednesday that the Pentagon will review security at military installations and how it issues clearances to its troops and employees.
Hagel's action follows the deaths of 12 civilian employees Monday at the Washington Navy Yard office complex. A Navy contractor shot them to death and was killed by police, authorities said.
"We will do everything possible to prevent this from happening again," Hagel said.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will lead the review, Hagel said.
The security clearance for Aaron Alexis, the alleged Navy Yard gunman, dates to 2008, shortly after he enlisted in the Navy Reserve, according to the Pentagon.
He was not required to renew the clearance, which allowed him to work as a government contractor with access to the Navy Yard. Clearances remain valid for two years after troops leave their service unless a violation that has been adjudicated by courts occurs.
Alexis had brushes with the law before he joined the Navy. Most recently, last month, he called police in Newport, R.I., telling them that he was hearing voices and that people were trying to prevent him from sleeping by using a microwave device.
Newport police passed that information on to Navy officials. It's unclear what, if anything, was done with the report by the Navy.
"We are reviewing all of that," Hagel said.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, said that the automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, did not affect security Monday at the Navy Yard.
"The budget issue did not degrade security at the Navy Yard," he said.