Marine Corps Limits Foreign Troops' Base Access After Pensacola Attack

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A military police officer stands guard at the east gate outside of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 22, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Michael Thorn)
A military police officer stands guard at the east gate outside of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 22, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Michael Thorn)

International troops will soon face new restrictions in how they access Marine Corps installations as the service tightens security following a terrorist attack on a Navy base that killed three sailors.

Marine Corps commands have until Feb. 25 to complete rosters of all foreign troops assigned to their units, schools or training courses in the U.S.

International troops are currently allowed to access all Marine Corps installations. The new rosters will soon limit their base access to only those for which they have explicit orders.

The same will apply to any dependents the foreign troops may bring, according to the new rules, which were announced in a service-wide message Thursday.

Related: Pensacola Shooter Visited 9/11 Memorial Before Rampage, US Attorney General Says

The new policy isn't meant to impede foreign troops' training, said Capt. Joe Butterfield, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon. The Defense Department ordered each service to limit international military students' access to facilities across the force after a Saudi officer training in Pensacola, Florida, opened fire in a building there, killing three and injuring several others.

The Dec. 6 attack, the FBI found, was inspired by a terrorist organization. Al-Qaida's leader in Yemen recently took credit for the deadly shooting.

The attack prompted a military-wide review of its vetting and security protocol for international troops training at U.S. bases. But military leaders have stressed that it's important to continue hosting partner nations' troops at U.S. schoolhouses and other facilities.

Foreign troops who need access to more than one Marine Corps installation as part of their required duties must have a signed letter or other official documentation from a commander or other U.S. military officer, according to the service's new policy.

Unofficial travel to other Marine Corps bases must also be approved in writing for all international troops and their dependents.

Base guards have also been ordered to scan foreign troops' access cards at any point they attempt to enter an installation, even during periods when other personnel can be waved through visually due to traffic or other circumstances.

This is at least the second new base security measure the Marine Corps has enacted in response to the Pensacola terror attack.

In December, the Marine Corps authorized about 3,000 law enforcement personnel to carry concealed weapons on base, even when they're off duty.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

Read more: Some Marines Get OK to Carry Concealed Firearms After Deadly Shootings

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