Top Generals Say Army Considering Arming Recruiters in Wake of Attack

Odierno and Milley agree arming some soldiers is appropriate

Army Recruiter / AP

Both the outgoing and incoming chiefs of staff of the U.S. Army said on Tuesday that the Army would consider arming recruiters after a terrorist attack against a Marine recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tenn., left five dead.

"When it comes to recruiting stations, we are looking at it now—what are we doing now to best protect them," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno told Fox News. "We will look at every avenue—arming them, there is some authority issues with that so we have to look all the way through that."

Odierno  also sought to clarify remarks he had made in the immediate aftermath of the attack. "We have to be careful about over-arming ourselves," Odierno is reported to have said on Friday. On Tuesday he told Fox News his answer was in reference to arming all soldiers. "What got confused was another question asked to me, ‘Do you think we should arm all our soldiers on all our installations,’" he told the news outlet. "That I have a problem with."

The man slated to replace Odierno as chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley, also addressed the issue of arming recruiters on Tuesday. When Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) asked Gen. Milley whether he thought arming recruiters was appropriate the general said yes. "I think under certain conditions, both on military bases, and in our stations, recruiting stations, reserve centers, that we should seriously consider it, and in some cases I think it’s appropriate," he said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.