About Armed Civilians at Recruiting Centers

In the wake of the Chattanooga shooting, we’re seeing several places where well meaning civilians have taken upon themselves the duty of standing guard over recruiting stations.

While we admire the intent, the fact is, it will have some unintended consequences. US Army Recruiting Command has issued guidance to the field regarding this.  Via TAH.

Subject: USAREC Policy – Armed citizens at recruiting centers ATO’s,

Situation: The USAREC COC has received reports from two Brigade ATOs, social media and TV coverage that law abiding armed citizens are standing outside of our recruiting centers in an attempt to safeguard our recruiters.


1) Recruiters will not acknowledge the presence or interact with these civilians. If questioned by these alleged concerned citizens; be polite, professional, and terminate the conversation immediately and report the incident to local law enforcement and complete USAREC Form 958 IAW USAREC 190-4 (SIR)

2) Do not automatically assume these concerned citizens are there to help.
Immediately report IAW USAREC 190-4 (Suspicious Behavior)

3) Immediately report any civilians loitering near the Station/Center to local police if the recruiter feels threatened. Ensure your recruiters’ clearly articulate to local police the civilian may be armed and in possession of a conceal/carry permit. Ensure recruiters include any information provided by local police in their SIR reporting the incident.

4) Ensure all station commanders implement FPCON Charlie 6 (Lock and secure entry points) addressed in previous email.

5) I’m sure the citizens mean well, but we cannot assume this in every case and we do not want to advocate this behavior.

*** The timely and accurate submission of 958s (SIR) is imperative to track these incidents and elicit support from TRADOC, ARNORTH and NORTHCOM.

As with Jonn, I agree that this is a mostly reasonable policy. The Army cannot endorse the actions of the citizens. Nor can they simply assume they mean well. Furthermore, should some untoward action occur, say, these citizens mistakenly take another American for a threat and engage them unlawfully, it is imperative that it be known that the Army had nothing to do with it.

Unfortunately, FPCON Charlie 6 (Force Protection Condition) basically shuts down the recruiting station. And therein lies a problem, as the sine qua non of recruiting is engaging with the public.

While informing local law enforcement, and filing SIRs makes sense, it also increases the odds of an unhappy encounter between these citizens and LEOs.

I think as a first step, USAREC might have directed station commanders to share this guidance with those citizens who are attempting to both provide a service and made a statement. One presumes that senior NCOs have enough judgment to discern the likelihood that a party of armed citizens outside have no ill intent, and sharing this guidance would cause them to reconsider if their actions were truly in the recruiter’s best interests. And if they choose to continue their vigil, well, provided they are within the bounds of the law, that is their right.

14 thoughts on “About Armed Civilians at Recruiting Centers”

  1. The stupid must stop. Does the Army really think recruiters can’t tell the intentions of a couple of white guys with chick-fil-a and prior-service badges/hat pins?? Lot of those types been killing folks recently? Assinine, idiotic bureaucrats in a uniform that should be purged with prejudice.

    That “guidance” should be used as field expedient anal hygeine product and returned to the issuing authority as such.

  2. Yet another flag officer that needs to resign or retire. I’ve got to assume that senior NCOs have had their brains removed to become recruiters so that they can’t tell who the bad guys are. Stupid.

  3. Of course, restricting access to recruiting stations will go far in speeding the Army’s reduction to a total of 420,000…

  4. Locking down recruiting offices is the way to go. Insures safety of the recruiters and of any kids that might want to volunteer to be cannon fodder in the AFG. Makes a lot of sense. But, only if you are an Obama GOFO.

  5. Previous 5 contributors put things very well and thus I am unable to add anything.

  6. Dollars to doughnuts this is coming from higher up than GOFO. Barry hasn’t been exactly winning the news cycles this week, and having private citizens do the jobs that our military can’t isn’t helping.

  7. “…_allegedly_ concerned citizens…”?!? Really?!?

    Kiss my actually concerned A$$, general…

    While strategic concern may be real in the missive, strategic communication skills are seriously lacking by the USAREC writer.

    1. It’s possible, but it sure looks like USAREC is saying that they don’t really want people with guns standing around outside.

      Which, believe it or not, a lot of civilians get nervous seeing people with guns, and would avoid the recruiting stations. That kind of thing isn’t going to help recruiters achieve their mission.

      And yes, I’ve had parents ask me if there were weapons in the station before permitting me to take their child to the station for an interview.

    2. Perhaps we don’t need people in the U.S. military who are afraid of guns.


    3. Yeah, but their kids deserve the benefit of the doubt. It might be the only chance they have to live in reality, dealing with actual hardship, serving for a few years.

    4. On the other hand, anyone old enough to have a driver’s license can drive him/herself to a recruiters’ office.


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