Does The State Department Need It’s Own Combat Force?
Following the withdrawal of US combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the State department believes that it’s diplomatic staff will be vulnerable without the establishment of it’s own combat-capable protection force. In spite of USD $Billions spent on equipping and training the Iraq and Afghanistan army and police, confidence remains very low that these forces are capable of providing the necessary security and stabilization.
Photo Caption: Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul
Newly assigned U.S. Army Soldiers stand atop a mesa near the city of Qalat, Afghanistan, in the Zabul Province, after climbing it to gain situational awareness. The Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul is composed of Air Force, Army, Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and Department of Agriculture personnel who work with the government of Afghanistan to improve governance, stability, and development throughout the province. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson)
The State Department Bureau of diplomatic Security uses vehicles and aircraft in many other regions of the world to provide protection to personnel in many countries around the world. However this equipment is deemed “insufficient” to meet the extreme security challenges presently faced in Iraq, for example. The situation is so poor that the Bureau has already published documents with the Pentagon stating they will be required to “duplicate the capabilities of the U.S. Military” as early as next month, when all American combat forces are scheduled under the revised SOFA time table to make their egress from Iraq.
According to remarks from Patrick Kennedy, Undersecretary of Defense for Management in a memo to Dr. Aston Carter, undersecretary for acquisition, “After the departure of U.S. forces, we will continue to have a critical need for logistical and life support systems of a magnitude and scale of complexity that is unprecedented in the history of the Department of State. To provide the security environment that is required to sustain the State Department mission in the Southwest Asia region, the bureau seeks sophisticated surveillance systems, heavy cargo trucks, fuel trailers, 50 mine resistant ambush protected vehicles (MRAP’s) and 24 of Sikorsky Black Hawk Helicopters.
“Without the equipment” stated Kennedy, “we can expect increased casualties.
More than four months after inconclusive elections and unresolved differences over key government positions, analysis indicates the political instability crisis will increase with no relent in sectarian violence. There are fears that insurgents are exploiting the deadlock to stimulate further unrest, thereby undermining the military and diplomatic gains achieved over the course of the most protracted military engagement in our nations history.
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