Saudi students resume training at Navy bases with new firearm restrictions
Saudi flight candidates are cleared to resume training at US Navy bases, following the deadly terror attack carried out by one of its own in Florida late last year.
International military students have now resumed their flight training after the vetting requirements set forth by Defense Secretary Mark Esper were satisfied by the US Navy.
“Updates to Navy policy include a new regulation prohibiting the possession of personally owned firearms by IMS, limiting access by all foreign nationals to assigned facilities and installations only, and requiring IMS to accept these policies to train in the United States,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cdr Megan Isaac said in a statement.
The move to limit firearms possession by foreign nationals, while in many ways controversial and unclear as to how it will work against agents of terror, was implemented in hopes that it would prevent a repeat of the December 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, which was carried out by a Saudi military officer and filmed by his comrades.
The Royal Saudi Air Force pilot was attending an international training program that has hosted more than a million students from about 250 countries in the past two decades, and the violent incident was the first instance of such a thing taking place.
That said, around twenty Saudi students were sent home following an FBI investigation.
“The Navy is making every effort to minimize disruptions to our foreign national partners while implementing the revised security initiatives,” Isaac told UPI. “Foreign military training remains one of the most effective tools to advance US national security, and these actions will enable the Navy to continue to strengthen our alliances and build our partnerships.”
The Navy also plans to implement a policy allowing the continuous review of international military students by March 13.
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