The Pentagon has paused its training in the U.S. with Saudi nationals until officials conduct a thorough review. The directive follows a deadly shooting that killed three sailors and injured eight other people at NAS Pensacola, Florida, according to a senior defense official.
Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist issued a memo this week following the incident saying leaders would review security and screening procedures for foreign students attending training in the U.S., as well as ongoing bilateral training programs. But Saudi students in particular have been ordered to take a temporary operational pause in training in what the Pentagon says is a “safety and security stand down” during the review, the senior defense officials said in a phone call with reporters Tuesday.
There are roughly 5,000 Saudi students in the U.S. at this time for various training programs, the official said. The Navy first issued its own temporary grounding for Saudi aviation students training at three Florida bases earlier on Tuesday.