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House Approves Increased Security at Embassies and Consulates

December 21st 2012

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Despite the Obama administration's evasions and finger-pointing in the aftermath of the Benghazi terrorist attack on the American consulate, the House of Representatives on Thursday approved the annual defense policy bill authorizing $633.3 billion in defense spending for 2013, including an increase in the number of U.S. Marines for embassy and consulate security duty.

The GOP-led House overwhelmingly approved (315-107) the National Defense Authorization Act and now it's being sent to the Senate for their approval followed by the NDAA being submitted to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. The bill calls for an increase of about 1,000 Marines to be deployed as protection for U.S. diplomatic facilities throughout the world.

Currently there are about 1,200 Marines posted in over 130 nations, as well as 200 stationed at the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group headquarters and schoolhouse at Quantico, Va., according to the Marine Corps. The Marines security details are deployed to protect diplomatic personnel and facilities while the State Department security officers are responsible for classified documents, cybersecurity, emergency planning and other duties.

The Office of the Secretary of State is requesting that Congress appropriate $1.3 billion, over and above the money allocated to the Defense Department for Marine security, for civilian security officials and physical security measures such as close-circuit television, access control systems, alarms and "panic rooms" for embassy and consulate staff.

The State Department began depending more and more on private security contractors during the late 1980s and ’90s military downsizing, analysts said. Then demand boomed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, accelerating the trend.

Unfortunately, the companies contracted usually hire personnel from among the indigenous population, many of whom have a limited amount of training and experience.

Jim Kouri writes for The Examiner, from where this article was adapted.


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