Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst (R) have introduced the Secure U.S. Bases Act, a measure that aims to “reform and improve” the outdated foreign military student training programs after the December 6, 2019, NAS Pensacola terrorist attack. The attack that left three U.S. servicemen dead was committed by a Royal Saudi Air Force student pilot.
This bill is tough. The days of passing a simple background check to enter the U.S. as a foreign military guest or trainee is over.
Scott’s bill requires that each applicant offer a “physical address, fingerprints, and other data, an in-person interview and an extensive background check that will include a review of social media activity,”
That’s not all. Even after addressing all of these stipulations to enter the country, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence will make the ultimate decision on whether to permit the applicant to enter the country.
According to Sen. Scott’s press shop, the bill does the following:
The Secure U.S. Bases Act:
- Creates a new visa category for foreign military students training on U.S. bases with restrictions on their travel and actions while in the country. Individuals who receive the new visa will be prohibited from possessing, acquiring, or using firearms, except for uses specifically required by their training program and be under the continual oversight of their commander regarding his or her whereabouts and activities.
- Alters the application process, vetting and monitoring requirements for foreign military students.The application to train on U.S. bases will require an official endorsement letter from the Chief of Intelligence of their country, personal information including a physical address, fingerprints, and other data, an in-person interview and an extensive background check that will include a review of social media activity. The U.S. Director of National Intelligence will be responsible for the final decision on whether to admit an applicant into the program.
- Differentiates military training programs based on risk. The bill requires the Secretary of Defense to develop a method for classifying relative risks, by country, and to consider the overall risk profile of each country when making determinations of applicants’ eligibility. The DOD must also to consider implementing appropriate training programs in other countries when appropriate.
“The safety and security of American men and women in uniform is always a priority for me, and it should be a priority of our entire government,” said Sen. Scott “The tragic terrorist attack in Pensacola last year revealed an unnecessary risk. This terrorist should never have been allowed in our country, let alone on an American military base with easy access to American military men and women. The Secure U.S. Bases Act will make sure foreign military students training at U.S. bases are thoroughly vetted and monitored, and that our troops are protected and never have to experience a tragedy like this again.”