Should U.S. Military Supervise Private Security in Kabul?
Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 05:25 PM EDT
An article in TIME magazine today continues the coverage of the sorry private security situation at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. First there were the photos of security contractors behaving ingloriously and the scathing report of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and its letter to Sec. of State Clinton. Yesterday (9/10) Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent detailed the ArmorGroup contract
In a follow-up story today, Ackerman quotes the communications director, Leslie Philips, for Sen. Liebermanâ€™s government affairs committee, on what they knew and how long State has known of these issues
The blog, Diplopundit, has some information as well and fills in the org. chart at State vis-a-vis diplomatic security a bit on this
POGO urges the military to assume supervision of the embassyâ€™s private security contractors (PSCs). In Iraq, it wasnâ€™t until SecDef Gates pushed the Memo of Agreement through after Blackwaterâ€™s debacle at Nisoor Square in Sept. â€˜07 that DOD and State really got on the same page there and serious incidents involving Stateâ€™s PSCs decreased to zero.
Contractors are leery of coming under military command and control (C2) but POGOâ€™s recommendation has some merit. The two reasons why soldiers donâ€™t do this static protection work for the Embassy â€” (1) itâ€™s not in the militaryâ€™s remit to do so and (2) they donâ€™t have the personnel. With all the on-going and pained debate about getting more civilian help and State personnel on reconstruction teams around Afghanistan, itâ€™s a sad statement about State that they canâ€™t even fill their security jobs at the Embassy properly and that this is not a new conundrum for them. Private security is Stateâ€™s Achillesâ€™ heel.
This article originally appeared on International Security.