The Fort Hood Shooting in 2009
Tuesday marks the 10-year anniversary of the attack at Fort Hood, Texas, that left 13 people dead and more than 30 wounded. On Nov. 5, 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan, 39, entered a readiness processing center on post and opened fire using a handgun fitted with a laser sight on unarmed soldiers and civilians preparing for deployments.
On November 5, 2009, 13 people are killed and more than 30 others are wounded, nearly all of them unarmed soldiers, when a U.S. Army officer goes on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood in central Texas. The deadly assault, carried out by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was the worst mass murder at a U.S. military installation. Early in the afternoon of November 5, 39-year-old Hasan, armed with a semi-automatic pistol, shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is great”) and then opened fire at a crowd inside a Fort Hood processing center where soldiers who were about to be deployed overseas or were returning from deployment received medical screenings. The massacre, which left 12 service members and one Department of Defense employee dead, lasted approximately 10 minutes before Hasan was shot by civilian police and taken into custody. The Virginia-born Hasan, the son of Palestinian immigrants who ran a Roanoke restaurant and convenience store, graduated from Virginia Tech University and completed his psychiatry training at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, in 2003. In the aftermath of the massacre, reviews by the Pentagon and a U.S. Senate panel found Hasan’s superiors had continued to promote him despite the fact that concerns had been raised over his behavior, which suggested he had become a radical and potentially violent Islamic extremist. Among other things, Hasan stated publicly that America’s war on terrorism was really a war against Islam.
The terrorist attack at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009, left 13 killed, 32 injured, and countless other lives forever changed. In the aftermath, a range of analyses emerged about the attacker, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, and the events that led to that tragic day. In many ways, the Fort Hood attack was a harbinger for the slow but steady increase in lone-actor terrorist attacks in the United States. It forced the intelligence and law enforcement communities to re-evaluate counterterrorism processes and long-held assumptions about radicalization within the United States. The attacks also shook policy circles, heralding extensive efforts to identify why relevant authorities failed to prevent the shooting. There were a series of congressional hearings and investigations, internal Administration reviews, and an external commission. There was also no shortage of news reports and academic papers, all attempting to answer the central question of why an Army major would kill his fellow servicemembers. As a congressional staffer on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at the time of the Fort Hood shooting, I spent more than a year investigating the events.
In any event, according to the Fort Hood website, the post is one of the largest in the world with 45,414 assigned soldiers and 8,900 civilian employees. The installation, which encompasses 214,000 acres, is home to two divisions -- the Army's 1st Cavalry and the 4th Infantry (Mechanized). There are 12 other units attached or based there.
Swaine, Jon. “Fort Hood Shooter Nidal Hasan ‘left free’ to kill”, The Telegraph, 4 August 2013, and New York Times: Investigators Study Tangle of Clues
Hasan, Nidal. “The Koranic World View as It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military”, National Capital Consortium, June 2007, and Hasan, Nidal, “Religious Conflict among U.S. Muslim Soldier, MPH Independent Project Proposal, 2008