Defense Department plans changes to vetting of foreign students after deadly attack

Posted at 11:38 AM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-21 18:11:45-05

PENSACOLA, Fl. - The Department of Defense is planning changes to vetting procedures for foreign military students following a deadly attack in Florida last month.

Three Sailors were killed by a Saudi national in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola December 6th.

All three Sailors were posthumously awarded Wings of Gold by the Navy and were also honored during the annual Army-Navy football game.

Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper is expected to visit Naval Air Station Pensacola this week and brief leaders on the new vetting and security procedures.

Previous vetting had been carried out by home countries of students in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security and State Department.

"We've taken an enhanced look on how we can use our resources to do enhanced vetting. We owe that to our people and owe that to the families, but we also want to ensure that this program continues," Pentagon spokesman Johnathan Hoffman said during a news conference.

More than a million foreign military students from about 150 countries have trained in the United States during the past two decades.