U.S. Sec. of Defense visits NAS Pensacola to discuss new vetting procedures

Local News

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper visited Naval Air Station Pensacola Wednesday for the first time since the Dec. 6 terrorist attack.

Sec. Esper held a news conference on base but didn’t answer many questions. Esper met with reporters for about six minutes so there are a lot of questions still unanswered.

As far as physical screening procedures at the entrances to U.S. military bases, Esper said that will be up to each individual base. That has been a concern at NAS Pensascola where portions of the base like the museum and lighthouse are open to the general public.

Esper said he shared with base command the changes to vetting procedures for foreign nationals who are here training on U.S. military bases, a weapons policy change and changes in credentials for foreign students but he did not go into detail.

“The vetting changes will be far more comprehensive,” Esper said. “It’ll look at every aspect of their background. It’ll look at social media and it will also involve continuous monitoring once they’re here in the United States so we’ve taken any number of measures like that to ensure we have a much higher degree of confidence with regard to each of the students.”

NAS Pensacola is still only open to those with Department of Defense ID and will soon be open again to the general public.

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