The Foreign Service Journal - September 2014 - page 14

14
SEPTEMBER 2014
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
planning and budgeting.
Adams also observes that the QDDR
is an opportunity to replace the current
crisis-response approach with an actual
strategy. But that can’t happen, he insists,
unless the peripatetic Sec. Kerry gets off
the airplane and “fully backs” the exercise.
Since Associated Press correspondent
Matt Lee’s challenge to State Department
spokesperson Jen Psaki—to name one
thing that was actually accomplished as a
result of the 2010 QDDR—went unan-
swered on April 22, the final product is
likely to come under closer scrutiny.
Editorial Intern Aishwarya Raje and
Managing Editor Susan B. Maitra
Quis Custodiet Ipsos
Custodes? (Who Will
Guard the Guards?)
W
riting in the June 13
Washington
rity contracts at U.S. embassies. Alarm-
ingly, a team from the State Department’s
Office of the Inspector General found that
none of the six posts it visited had fully
complied with vetting and other require-
ments for contractors who provide the first
line of defense against attack. In particular,
regional security officers at five of the six
posts were said to have performed “inad-
equate oversight” of local guard vetting.
conducted in the wake
of the September 2012 attacks on the U.S.
mission in Benghazi that left four Ameri-
cans dead, examined six embassies.
Although the names of the posts were
redacted from the 49-page audit and its
annexes, State said they were located in
Africa, Europe and Latin America, and
chosen based on “the estimated number
of local guards employed and the ter-
rorist threat level as of March 20, 2013,
among other factors.”
In redacted replies, security chiefs
at each of the embassies agreed to
recommended changes in their proce-
dures. The audit notes that compliance
had been completed in about half of
the recommendations; the rest were in
progress, but still undocumented by the
embassies.
The State Department hires local
guards to augment U.S. security “because
of growing security threats at posts
worldwide,” the audit notes. Most are
employed to “secure access to posts and
provide building and residential secu-
rity.” As of the end of 2012, the total bill
for such hires worldwide was about $556
million. In March 2013, the audit said,
there were 100 active local hire security
contracts worldwide.
The Senate should carve out State’s career nominees and expedite
their confirmation just as it does for military promotions. Make no
mistake: Vacancies in so many world capitals send a dangerous
message to allies and adversaries alike about America’s engagement. This
perception makes it much more difficult to do the nonpartisan work at the
heart of U.S. foreign policy—defending the security of our nation,
promoting our values and helping our businesses compete to create
American jobs back home.
—Secretary of State John F. Kerry, from
.
Contemporary Quote
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