Pompeo: Schools need to employ U.S. veterans as protectors and mentors

Former Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo penned an opinion piece for Fox News in which he offered that a strategy drawn from military procedures must be implemented if America is to make its schools safer.

Specifically, Pompeo suggested that willing veterans should be sought and employed in a variety of roles to prevent attacks on innocent children and school staff.

“Nineteen precious children and two caring adults were murdered by a lone shooter at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Our country cries for answers, not political rhetoric. We must do all we can to prevent this horror from happening again. To do so requires pertinent action and the application of time-tested principles adapted from our nation’s military,” he wrote.

“Hundreds of millions of guns are owned by law-abiding citizens who venerate our Bill of Rights. Millions more, however, are held illicitly by criminals aided by a southern border that is porous, allowing arms trafficking. Therefore, a ban on rifles that resemble military weapons in appearance will not restrict the ability of those with murderous intent from obtaining lethal arms. More effective measures are required,” the former CIA director said.

“Our Navy protects its vessels through the adoption of a layered defense,” he wrote. “We must protect the precious vessels that are our schools and our children this way. The first layer is the formation of a defensive zone to obtain advantage; the second layer is intelligence gathering; the third, interception; the fourth, point defense. Many of these individual layers are already in place in our nation’s schools.”

“We must employ our veterans, including those with disabilities, to serve as school mentors, character coaches, and afterschool instructors,” Pompeo advised. “Those who have sacrificed, through their selfless service to our nation, can instill leadership, compassion, courage, love of freedom, and the importance of health and fitness.”

Pompeo continued, “Veterans, with regular presence in our schools, can spot troubling behaviors, to alert school officials to potential threats. In this, they would be responsive to the 2002 Secret Service and Department of Education report, Threat Assessment in Schools: A Guide to Managing Threatening Situations and to Creating Safe School Climates, for had the report’s measures been followed, targeted gun or other violence in schools throughout America would have been reduced, perhaps markedly.”

“This report considered how the Secret Service operates by anticipating and evaluating potential threats before they could act. Veterans could become essential bridges between school officials who, under the report’s guidelines, are charged to conduct threat assessment inquiries, and law enforcement, who are charged to conduct threat assessment investigations,” Pompeo explained.

“In accord with other concerns such as fire safety, if entry or exit from a school can be controlled through a series of physical measures, the security of the institution is enhanced. As part of the COVID rescue plan, over $100 billion was approved for the nation’s K-12 education system. Some estimates note that 90 percent of this money has yet to be spent,” he noted.

“Point defense is the final boundary against targeted school violence. It is, by definition, a last-ditch effort. In this, we need not reinvent the wheel: Schools may be protected by the same means used to secure airports, courthouses, or government offices,” Pompeo suggested.

“In these venues, select personnel are armed. Law enforcement officers in schools must carry guns. State and local school systems should consider whether contract security personnel, veterans, or teachers should also be armed.”

“The introduction of armed veterans, supplemented by a hidden-carry program for teachers or the addition of more armed guards or officers attached to schools, should be considered as a key component of any time-urgent point defense, for experience shows that school assaults may end before any outside police force can arrive on school premises, much less make entry to apply force,” he went on. “In every case, it is imperative that all those armed in schools be subject to routine psychological screens designed by professionals.”

Pompeo concluded, “Too many so-called gun-control measures represent either an uninformed or a political diversion that cannot staunch targeted violence aimed at our schools. No system of defense is perfect, but the erecting of multiple layers of defense provides the surest means to enhance the safety of America’s students. It is time we act as one nation.”

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