Pentagon suspends operational training for Saudi military students

11 December 2019 (Last Updated December 11th, 2019 12:23)

The Pentagon has ordered the temporary suspension of operational training for more than 800 Saudi students in the US after the recent Pensacola shooting.

The Pentagon has ordered the temporary suspension of operational training for more than 800 Saudi students in the US after the recent Pensacola shooting.

A shooting incident at the US Navy’s Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida last week left three US Navy sailors dead and eight others wounded.

A member of the Saudi Royal Air Force group training at the Pensacola base was held responsible for the unprovoked firing episode.

The Pensacola shooting has raised questions over the vetting process of foreign military students.

The Pentagon has called for a review of the existing screening process for international military students who visit the US for military training.

In a memo, the Pentagon stated that the review should be completed in ten days.

The move to indefinitely halt flight instruction and other operational training is expected to affect nearly 850 Saudi Arabian students currently staying in the US.

It comes after the US Navy decided to suspend flight training for over 300 students from Saudi Arabia.

The ‘safety stand-down’ orders are limited to operational training and would not impact classroom training of the Saudi personnel.

In the memo, US Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist said: “These efforts will seek to more closely align International Military Students vetting procedures with those we apply to US personnel.

“With respect to specific training programmes and personnel under their cognizance, the Secretaries of the Military Departments may take additional security measures as they see fit.”

An FBI investigation is underway to ascertain whether the accused Saudi shooter acted alone or as part of a larger terror group.