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Felons, others had routine, unauthorized access to Navy facilities, report says

The Pentagon Inspector General released a report Tuesday showing 52 convicted felons had routine, unauthorized access to Navy installations over roughly the past nine months.

The 52-page draft report found the lapses were largely the result of cost-cutting efforts and circumventing the competitive bid process in hiring contractors to provide access control.

“Those decisions placed military personnel, dependents, civilians and [military] installations at an increased security risk,” the report concluded.

The report was released one day after a Navy contract worker used a valid access card to enter the Washington Navy Yard and fatally shoot 12 people.

“While the timing of the delivery of this report was coincidental, I believe it to be relevant to physical security on military installations,” said California Republican Rep. Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

His committee is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on the impact of recent and drastic federal spending cuts on the Defense Department. The cut are known as sequester and started in the spring.

The report, which covered the period October 2012 to June 2013, focused on the Navy Commercial Access Control System, which is used to manage vendors, contractors and suppliers “requiring routine access to Navy installations.” It found that the Commander, Navy Installation Command was responsible for the decisions that led to the lapses and misrepresented NCACS costs.

Among the inspector general’s recommendations were for CNIC to replace at least one part of its access-control system, called Rapidgate, and align its credential requirements more closely with those of the Defense Department.

The department was forced to cut roughly $37 billion this year as a result of the sequester. House and Senate Republicans are working on proposals to exempt the department from roughly $52 billion in cuts next year as part of any resolution that would authorize a military strike on Syria.

However, a congressional aide said that Navy’s cost-cutting mentioned in the report was to deal with the $487 billion, 10-year Pentagon budget reductions from the 2011 Budget Control Act, not sequester, according to The Hill newspaper.