Defeating the Active Shooter – Featured Naval Postgraduate School Thesis

Defeating the Active Shooter: Applying Facility Upgrades in Order to Mitigate the Effects of Active Shooters in High Occupancy Facilities

Naval Postgraduate School

In June, Naval Postgraduate School students Charles E. Ergenbright and Sean K. Hubbard completed a thesis on the topic of active shooters. Their paper analyzes a variety of historical active shooter scenarios at schools such as Virginia Tech, the University of Texas, and the University of Iowa. Each case study was rated in terms of lethality and initial vulnerability. The study also explores and evaluates facility upgrades made in response to the shootings.

The authors’ key recommendation is to mitigate the threat of active shooters through a standardized Victim Initiated Mitigation (VIM) system. This system should also be scalable, depending on the budget of the institution. Additionally, the authors propose a national threat reduction standard.

From the thesis: “The average duration of Active Shooter incidents in Institutions of Higher Education within the United States is 12.5 minutes. In contrast, the average response time of campus and local law enforcement to these incidents is 18 minutes. In the majority of Active Shooter incidents affecting U.S. IHEs, the emergency response time greatly exceeds the incident duration and affords law enforcement authorities no opportunity to interdict the shooter or prevent further casualties. […] Data analysis on each of these incidents revealed facility composition as a critical vulnerability common to all of these incidents. Accordingly, the recommendations included in this thesis suggest a practical implementation of facility upgrades capable of mitigating the deadly effects of Active Shooters.”

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