Pentagon 'Not Aware' of any Personnel Impacted by Paris Attacks

  • A woman watches victims in the 10th district of Paris, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
    A woman watches victims in the 10th district of Paris, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
  • Rescue workers and medics work by victims in a Paris restaurant, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
    Rescue workers and medics work by victims in a Paris restaurant, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
  • Spectators invade the pitch of the Stade de France stadium after the soccer France against Germany, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 in Saint Denis, outside Paris. Two explosions were heard outside the Stade de France stadium. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
    Spectators invade the pitch of the Stade de France stadium after the soccer France against Germany, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015 in Saint Denis, outside Paris. Two explosions were heard outside the Stade de France stadium. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

The U.S. Defense Department isn't aware of any American military or civilian personnel impacted by the terror attacks in Paris, an official said.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is "closely monitoring the situation," according to a statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.

"At this point in time we are not aware of any DoD personnel involved in this tragedy," he said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people at this difficult moment."

The U.S. as of June had 114 total military personnel and dependents in France -- a small fraction of the 80,000 American military men and women and their families who live and work in Europe, according to Pentagon personnel statistics. Most U.S. troops are based in Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy.

More than 100 people were killed Friday in shootings and explosions around Paris, many of them in a popular concert hall where patrons were taken hostage, police and medical officials said, according to The Associated Press. The series of attacks gripped the city in fear and recalled the horrors of the Charlie Hebdo carnage just 10 months ago, the AP reported.

In response, French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and took the unprecedented step of closing the country's borders.

Carter plans to talk with his French counterpart, Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian, at some point this weekend. It wasn't immediately clear what kind of defense or security support Carter would offer, if any, or whether U.S. personnel would be evacuated from the country.

Jim Carafano, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., said the attacks will likely spur U.S. European Command to tighten security around American military installations across the continent, he said.

"You're going to see force protection across EUCOM go up," he said in a telephone interview with Military.com.

The attacks may also cause officials in France and other countries in Europe to rethink their policies to take in refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria and other countries in the Middle East, Carafano said. They may also request more U.S. military and security assistance to intercept refugees at sea or target terrorists abroad, he said.

U.S. Rep Mac Thornberry, a Republican from Texas and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, described the incident as "a horrifying terrorist attack." "My prayers are with the people of Paris tonight," he said in a statement. "In the midst of a horrifying terrorist attack, the President is right to offer the French any assistance they may need. We do not yet know what specific group is responsible, but their strategy of attacking soft targets, spreading terror and uncertainty, and using the fear they create to further radicalize and recruit is one we will have to get much better at confronting."

A group of Americans, including U.S. military members, in August helped foil a terrorist attack on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

The three childhood friends were on vacation when they subdued a gunman wielding an AK-47 assault rifle, pistol and box cutter. Spencer Stone, now a staff sergeant in the Air Force, Alek Skarlatos, a specialist in the Oregon Army National Guard, and civilian Anthony Sadler were awarded the French Legion of Honor, the country's highest award, for their heroics.

--Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com.

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