In the wake of the deadly shooting at NAS Pensacola, the Pentagon has now ordered a pause to all training in the U.S. with Saudi nationals until a thorough review has been completed.
Military.com reports the pause affects 850 students in various training programs. They will continue to have classroom training, but any operational training will be paused.
In a memo issued this week, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist said military leaders would review security and screening procedures for all foreign students being trained in the U.S.
In what the Pentagon says is a "safety and security stand down" Saudi students in particular have been ordered to take a temporary operational pause in training.
According to military.com "a senior defense official said the U.S. military has trained more than 28,000 Saudi students over the life of our security cooperation relationship "without serious incident." But "we are going to take some short term looks at our programs to see how we can address any shortcomings," the official added.
However, according to some family members of the victims, along with other service members speaking out, the Pentagon is still not addressing the 800-pound gorilla in the room: why are U.S. soldiers disarmed on their own bases?
Fox News reports “It’s so stupid that on a military base, the shooter was allowed to roam free for so long,” according to one instructor pilot. “In a gun fight, that’s an eternity.” The pilot, like others interviewed by Fox News, did not want his name used because he was not authorized to speak with the media.
One of the pilots said Navy brass denied their request to arm themselves on base.
“We trust 18-year-old privates in combat with grenades, anti-tank missiles, rifles and machine guns, but we let service members get slaughtered because we don’t trust anyone to be armed back here in the United States,” a senior U.S. Army officer told Fox News.
“Why are we cowering in our offices, it’s insane,” the officer added.
One of the three victims of the shooting, 23-year-old Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, was the captain of the U.S. Naval Academy rifle team.
His family urged military and elected leaders to allow service members to be armed on base.
“He was well qualified to have a firearm and defend himself. If we are going to ask these young men and women to stand watch for our country, they need the opportunity to defend themselves. This isn’t the first time this happened and if we don’t change something, then it won’t be the last,” said Adam Watson, Joshua’s brother. “My brother was an excellent marksman. If my brother had not had that right stripped from him, this would be a different conversation.”
As Daniel Horowitz wrote for Conservative Review, gun-free zones are always a bad idea, as 96.2 percent of all mass shootings have occurred where guns are banned.
But having “gun-free zones” on military bases is “particularly counterintuitive. Given the strict security, the perpetrators know with certainty that, of all places, not a single soldier will be carrying a weapon because the penalty for doing so is quite severe. Yet, clearly, that same security hasn’t worked to prevent evil people from bringing in weapons. This policy makes our soldiers sitting ducks.”
Lest we forget, 14 people were killed and 30 injured by Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood in 2009. Aaron Alexis killed 12 and injured eight at the Washington Navy Yard in 2013. And five soldiers were killed by Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez at Naval Reserve base in Chattanooga in 2016.
Bad people will always find a way to do bad things, and no protective measures will be able to stop 100 percent of crime. But doing absolutely nothing is guaranteed to have zero effect.
Are we wrong about this?