SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10744]
THE ROLE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IN THE SECURITY OF U.S. EMBASSIES ABROAD
SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
OCTOBER 10, 2002
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SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
DUNCAN HUNTER, California
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JIM TURNER, Texas
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
JAMES H. MALONEY, Connecticut
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
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CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
Mark Esper, Professional Staff Member
Alexis Lasselle, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, October 10, 2002, The Role of the Department of Defense in the Security of U.S. Embassies Abroad
Thursday, October 10, 2002
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2002
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STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey, Chairman, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
Turner, Hon. Jim, a Representative from Texas, Ranking Member, Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism
O'Dell, Brig. Gen. Douglas, USMCR, Commanding General, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism), United States Marine Corps
Williams, Ray, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Countermeasures and Information Security, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Department of State
Wilmer, Terrance, Managing Director of Real Estate and Property Management, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, Department of State
Chambliss, Hon. Saxby
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DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted for the Record.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Questions Submitted for the Record.]
THE ROLE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE IN THE SECURITY OF U.S. EMBASSIES ABROAD
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism,
Washington, DC, Thursday, October 10, 2002
The panel met, pursuant to call, at 8:35 a.m. In room 2212, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton [chairman of the panel] presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY, CHAIRMAN, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Mr. SAXTON. This hearing was actually Vick Snyder's idea, and we think a lot alike on a lot of issues. I thought this was a good idea to do this as well.
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As I told the General yesterday, when we get around the world and see the security, we become concerned about security, I guess, at some of our embassies, so we thought that we would do this.
Just for the record, Henry Hyde thinks this committee holding this hearing is a good idea. I have discussed it with him, so we are not stepping on anybody's toes in the Congress.
So, anyway, the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism convenes for a public hearing on the Security of U.S. Embassies Abroad and the Role of Department of Defense (DOD).
This hearing will focus on the relationship between the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) and the U.S. Marines Corps guard detail that can be found at nearly every overseas post.
Today's witnesses are Mr. Ray Williams, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary for Countermeasures and Information Security, Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the State Department, and Brigadier General Douglas O'Dell, Commanding General of the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which is an anti-terrorism brigade.
Thank you both for appearing this morning. And before we go forward, let me ask either Jim or Vic if they have any comments that they would like to make at the outset.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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STATEMENT OF HON. JIM TURNER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM TEXAS, RANKING MEMBER, SPECIAL OVERSIGHT PANEL ON TERRORISM
Mr. TURNER. Mr. Chairman, I will yield to Mr. Snyder, because, as you said, he so wisely urged us to have this hearing and it is an issue that Mr. Snyder has been passionate about for a long time. And I am confident that the degree of interest and commitment that he has shown to strengthening the security of our embassies is making a difference. And I want to thank you, Jim, for the efforts that you have made, because you have certainly heightened the issue and brought it to the forefront.
And it has I think meant a lot to the rest of this panel to learn from you about the importance of protecting our embassies and the need to frankly invest more dollars in accomplishing the task. That is so very critical.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding this hearing. I suspect with the small numbers we may have opportunities to go around a couple of times in our questions, so I will just be brief. Just make the comment that it wasn't all that long ago when we had a hearing related to your responsibilities as the chairman of Military Installations Subcommittee, and we had a panel of military people. We were asking them about, I think we had a Marine who was asked about the difficulties with the very poor infrastructure at some of our embassies, and they acknowledged that there was a tremendous problem. That was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. That evening is when the blast went off across the street from the Peruvian embassy, which really brought home, I think, for Jim and I that this really is a problem. So we look forward to your discussions.
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We certainly know there is a whole lot of issues, not just infrastructure, but that is just part of it. The infrastructure is the potential target, and everything else that we do is to try to protect that potential target.
Thank you all for being here.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Williams, I guess the floor is yours, if youor if you have made an agreement about who goes first, we are ready to hear your testimony.
STATEMENT OF RAY WILLIAMS, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR COUNTERMEASURES AND INFORMATION SECURITY, BUREAU OF DIPLOMATIC SECURITY, DEPARTMENT OF STATE; ACCOMPANIED BY TERRENCE F. WILMER, CRE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, REAL ESTATE AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, OVERSEAS BUILDINGS OPERATIONS, SA-6, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. WILLIAMS. All right, sir.
Mr. Chairman, and distinguished members of the committee, I am honored to appear before you today to speak on behalf of the Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security, and its partnership with the Marine Security Guard (MSG) program.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security comprises the law enforcement component of the Department of State. Our Special Agents are sworn law enforcement officers with statutory authority to investigate passport and visa fraud, conduct counterintelligence investigations and protect the Secretary of State, foreign dignitaries and other designated officials.
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In addition, the DS Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program provides training to selected foreign law enforcement and security officials, empowering our allies to stop terrorists and other organized criminal groups on their soil.
Over 440 DS agents serve at embassies and consulates worldwide. The senior agent at an overseas post is referred to as the Regional Security Officer, or RSO. The RSO reports directly to the Ambassador through the Deputy Chief of Mission and is responsible for the protection of all U.S. Personnel, facilities and classified information under the purview of the Chief of Mission.
Marine Security Guards fall under the operational control of our assigned RSOs, and is the only Marine Corps element under the operational control of a non-DOD element. The RSO responsibilities for the Marine Security Guard Detachments include, but are not limited to, command and operational control during crisis situations, promulgation of guard orders, supervision of training, and ensuring that the Marine Security Guards are provided appropriate levels of support by both the post and the Department.
The Marine Security Guard Detachment in league with local guards, host country security elements and surveillance detection teams together give the RSO four layers of security resources and post protection.
Surveillance Detection (SD), developed pursuant to specific recommendations made in the Crowe Report, is charged with preventing terrorist attacks by recognizing preoperational surveillance directed against U.S. Personnel and facilities.
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SD teams are designed to work unobtrusively in plainclothes beyond the walls of the embassy. Conversely, their local guard counterparts provide a uniformed presence at entry points to official facilities. Their primary function is to perform access control through screening of visitors and vehicles.
Host government security assists in determining the threat environment and provides an on-scene law enforcement presence at the perimeter of our facilities. Marine Security Guards form the innermost ring with responsibility for controlling access to sensitive areas of the mission, safeguarding of classified information, providing internal defense and performing specific escort duties within controlled areas of the facility.
The transnational nature of the lethal terrorist threat we now face has taken us from a relatively stable threat matrix, reflecting regional or more often country specific indigenous terrorism and political violence, to a threat matrix based on asset vulnerability.
Significant threats against our missions abroad now surpass more than 4,000 each year. The targeting of U.S. Interests abroad will continue, and we have been aggressive in addressing the challenge.
In 1999, we issued a worldwide surveillance detection program consisting of more than 2,500 contract employees and members of host government security forces.
We have implemented more than $200 million in physical security improvements to perimeters of existing facilities, and we are in the third year of a 4-year $225 million technical security upgrade program designed to replace aging systems and retrofit MSG posts around the world.
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We have significantly expanded the RSO presence at posts, and in the next 5 years will add another 19 MSG detachments to the 131 currently deployed around the world.
The Department, through the Diplomatic Security and Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) Bureaus, has embarked on an aggressive long-range capital program designed to provide a secure environment for the conduct of foreign policy.
Consistent with Department policy, new Marine living quarters will be included at each of 66 new embassy compounds scheduled for construction within the next 5 years.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, let me say that the Department of State and U.S. Marine Corps have a long partnership based on trust and common mission and goals. The demands brought on by the war on terrorism have only strengthened our resolve.
I certainly appreciate the interest of the committee, and will welcome any questions that you or other members may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Williams can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Williams. We appreciate that.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. DOUGLAS O'DELL, USMCR, COMMANDING GENERAL, 4TH MARINE EXPEDITIONARY BRIGADE (ANTI-TERRORISM), UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
General O'DELL. Chairman Saxton, Mr. Turner, Mr. Snyder, and members of the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism, it is an honor to appear before you this morning to discuss the Marine Security Guard Program and, sir, with your permission I would like to submit my prepared testimony for the record, but briefly summarize my remarks as well.
Mr. SAXTON. That will be fine. Without objection.
General O'DELL. For over 50 years, the Marine Corps has been responsible to the Department of State for internal security and protection of U.S. Embassies and consulates. And when formally established in 1948, the Marine Security Guard Program consisted of 300 Marines. That has grown today to more than 1,250 Marines and is expected to grow over the next 5 years to almost 1,500 Marines. Those Marines are divided into eight geographic Security Guard Companies, that provide security for 131 diplomatic missions in 121 countries around the world.
The Marine Corps is proud of its longstanding partnership with the Department of State in providing security for our diplomats and facilities overseas. And with regards to this relationship, I would like to emphasize three main points. First, the mission of the Marine Security Guard Program is clearly and succinctly set forth in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Department of State and the United States Marine Corps. This document, which is revised every 2 years, was last signed in January of 2001, and it states that the mission of the Marine Security Guard is twofold. The primary mission is to provide internal security services at U.S. Embassies and consulates to prevent the compromise of classified material.
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The secondary mission of the Marine Security Guard is to provide protection for U.S. Citizens and U.S. Government property located within designated U.S. Diplomatic and consular premises during exigent circumstances. I believe it is those sorts of activities that we are here to speak about most importantly this morning.
And perhaps most poignantly, those sorts of exigent circumstances are brought to mind when we think of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. It is important to note, however, that in the conduct of their duties the Marine Security Guards are under the operational control of the Department of State through the Ambassadors or their designees.
The second point I would like to emphasize is that the responsibility of the external security of any embassy lies with the Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service and host nation governments, as Mr. Williams has explained.
Marine Security Guards do not patrol outside of the perimeter of any embassy or consulate, nor do they have any authority outside of the embassy compound to conduct security operations. And, as Mr. Williams has explained, the SD teams and host nation provide an invaluable service to detect preoperational surveillance and other threats directed at the missions.
This point is brought home by the fact that in countries where the Marine house is geographically separated from the embassy, foreign governments forbid Marines to carry weapons between the Marine house and the embassy when reacting to an emergency on the embassy compound. Reaction force Marines access their weapons only after arriving at the chancellory. I would note that for this and many other practical reasons, the Marine Corps and the Department of State have agreed that any newly constructed embassy facility will house the Marines, and that any Marine house would be incorporated into the embassy compound itself in order to mitigate the reaction force problem.
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Finally, while I have emphasized the counterespionage and internal security role of the Marine Security Guards, the Marine Corps does recognize that the U.S. Embassies have been and will be again the target of terrorist attacks. Though not stated in the Memorandum of Agreement, it is certainly by implication today that the Marines of the Security Guard Battalion are in the business of antiterrorism.
This is nothing new because for nearly 20 years at embassies and consulates from Beirut to Karachi, Pakistan, most recently the men and women of the Department of State and Marine Security Guards have been present at some of the most visible and deadly terrorist attacks ever conducted on U.S. Interests abroad.
In order to meet this terrorist threat, on October 29th of last year, the Marine Corps reactivated the 4th Marine Corps Expeditionary Brigade, and designated it as an antiterrorism brigade, or 4th MEB(AT).
At that time the Marine Security Guard Battalion became one of the 4th MEB(AT)'s major subordinate elements. In doing so, the Marine Corps fully affirmed that Marine Security Guards are on the front line of the war on terrorism every day around the world.
This is not to say that Marine Security Guards will take on external security at embassies. This is neither appropriate nor cost effective. However, it does recognize that Marine Security Guards need to acquire the, quote, antiterrorism mindset, unquote, just as we have trained Marines over the years to spot security violations as they search for unsecured classified information internal to the embassies and consulates. We must now train them to be more aware than ever that any diplomatic mission, no matter how remote or how benign its locale, may be targeted by terrorists.
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Instilling this mindset into a new generation of Marine Security Guards is a focal point of the 4th MEB(AT), and I believe will enhance the security of our diplomatic missions and the men and women who serve in them in the months and years to come.
Again, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today, and I am ready to answer whatever questions you or the panel may have, sir.
[The prepared statement of General O'Dell can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Well, thank you very much, General. We appreciate again you being here very much.
Vic Snyder began to talk to me about this issue, I guess probably a year or 18 months ago, and so I was aware that there was concern.
And, incidentally, let me just say at the outset, I said this to General O'Dell yesterday, and Mr. Williams, so that you know, we are having this hearing for a couple of reasons.
One is that the situationthe threat situation around the world has changed significantly. That is very obvious to us. Second, we are having this hearing because we want to do whatever we can to be helpful to both the State Department and the Marine Corps. There is no intention to be critical of any one or any processes. We just want to understand what it is that you think your needs are, and how the Armed Services Committee and Congress can help fill those needs.
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I was, subsequent to Vic and I talking about this over a year ago, I took a trip to Russia. And on the way to Russia, it was a Congressional Delegation (CODEL), we stopped in the Netherlands at the Hague, because one of my very good friends had just become Ambassador to the Hague. And I admit that I was a little bit surprised when I walked in to visit with my friend at the embassy there, because the perimeter of the embassy was protected with snow fence, and there was a trailer that had been placed outside of the embassy for the host nation security, which had nobody in it. And I walked in, of course, to check into the embassy. And the Marines were there, and politely escorted us to the Ambassador's office.
And I was kind of struck by the notion that the threat has changed so much, and the security seemed to be maybe like it was before September 11th. And I am just curious for a general reaction, as to generally how we have changed in terms of our relationships with host countries, how they have reacted to the new threat posed by our embassies out there as actual targets, and how things are different today than they were prior to the time that we recognized that we were targeted.
And from both of you, and again this is not meant in any way to be critical, we want to be helpful. Mr. Williams.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Well, a lot of issues there. Starting with your last point. Certainly things have changed. People talk about 9/11. For the State Department it was August 1998. That is when the world really changed. And as I alluded to in my comments, in previous years we have tracked terrorism basically country by country.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There are very few examples, I don't think there are more than about four in the last 20 years, of transnational terrorism. We had the Red Brigade and a couple of other instances. But it has been relatively few instances. We were able to establish a matrix that dealt regionally or country specific with the threat. And, by and large, it didn't change a great deal.
Peru, Bogota, Colombia, Beirut, pretty stable in terms of the threat that we face. And, of course, when you can define something of that nature, of course you can apply resources to it. And we did a lot of construction in Latin America to counter that sort of thing.
Transnational terrorism, which we are now seeing, reverses the entire matrix. Instead of having your critical threat posts and high threat posts such as the Beiruts and the Bogotas, now Calgary to Cairo is a level playing field. That makes it much more difficult for the application of resources, which in any event are going to be finite.
Part of this problem, too, is when you are facing an immediate problem, responding with a 5-year construction program is not necessarily the way to go. We have some posts that probably are our most threatened, that are small, lack the logistics and infrastructure to support a construction project. In other words, if you have a small post that is high risk, based on its vulnerabilities that is in a house or has no real security to it, we may have to put 20 cleared Americans out there for 2 years to try to build a facility to house five or six people. Those people do not have the infrastructure to support that number of people, and how do we protect that huge increase on a green site during the process?
So there are a lot of problems. Part of the issues that were raised by the Crowe Report was a lack of attention paid over the years to embassies and their maintenance.
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It has been a long-termit has been a problem that has been in front of us for a long time. I think the average age of an embassy is about 40 years old. Many of these are leased buildings, they are not owned, which is problematic. When you try to make upgrades, many upgrades are impossible due to the simple structure of the building. They won't support the weight.
You solve one problem by putting in ballistic windows, you create another problem by destabilizing the structure, and you end up with a catastrophic problem as a result of your upgrades in the event of certain types of attacks. So it is a long-term problem, and the long-term answer is sustained funding. There is a tendency with these things to try to do something immediately. Construction is not something that is easy or quick. It is going to take time. And the answer really lies in continued emphasis and assistance from Congress in providing the necessary funds to carry out the upgrades.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Williams, could you talk a little bit about cooperation from host nations? How good is it? How bad is it? I suppose it is different all over the world.
Mr. WILLIAMS. It will vary from country to country for a variety of reasons. And when I mentioned asset vulnerability, there are a lot of issues that go into the equation. While again it was fairly easy to pick out the Beiruts and the Bogotas, what we have now are the low threats now that have become in some means the high threat, because of their simple vulnerability to attack.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So we have tried to assess our building programs and our resources to look at the overall world picture. We try to look at not only the vulnerability of the building itself in terms of the compound, but the capabilities of the host government in terms of security, intelligence, their willingness. There is a reluctance by some, and others are very much willing to go along with what we want to do.
It becomes very problematic, especially in Europe and other areas where our embassies are old, in terms of history. They are located in downtown areas. You try to close off streets, and you look at Embassy Row here. And if we had the Germans and Israelis and others say, well, we would like to close down Massachusetts Avenue, you have got real push-back. We have got enough problems just with the White House and the problems that that is causing.
We are trying to do this around the world. Some governments are much more forthcoming than others, and they have their own perception. The responsibility under convention rests with the host government for our security. Now, we know we can't depend on that necessarily. But they perceive the threats in many instances much different than we do. That really hasn't been brought home to some of these countries.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Turner.
Mr. TURNER. Mr. Chairman, let me yield to Mr. Snyder so he has the opportunity to ask all of the questions that he would like to ask.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Saxton, for calling this hearing. This Terrorism Panel, as some of you may know, because Mr. Saxton convinced the leadership of the committee that it would be a good idea to have this panel, and I forget exactly when we started, but it was some time before September 11th. And we had a series of classified briefings in here in which we learned to pronounce the word al Qaeda probably before a lot of people did. And unfortunately your fears were confirmed that this was something that we needed to pay attention to.
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I want to echo what Mr. Saxton said. There is not any effort to point fingers in this. I think what led to my interest in this partly was I just think the budget number that the President brought out is just inadequate. But this is a bipartisan problem. It has been inadequate under both Democrats and Republicans, so there is not any effort to seek partisan advantage.
When Mr. Rumsfeld came before the House Armed Services Committee for his budget for the Department of Defense, he began saying his top priorities, as they should be, are the defense of the American homeland, defense of Americans and defense of our bases overseas.
Now, the problem is there was no mention, and it is not his responsibility, for embassies and consulates. And they are, you know, as you pointed out in yourI think both in your written statements, I think you, Mr. Williams, referred to them as the front lines.
So we have the front lines, one section of the front line we are treating differently than other parts of the front lines. So we had a very robust increase in the defense budget after September 11th, but it was not reflected in how we approached embassy infrastructure and security.
Let me ask both of you, do youwhen you are looking at the embassies, and like Mr. Saxton, I visited quite a number. And some of them I just don't see how we can defend them. I mean, they are just very, very difficult, very soft targets. But do you all have input into the process within the Department of State for the recommendations of the priorities on the embassy, either replacement, rebuilding or the security enhancements?
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Mr. WILLIAMS. Absolutely. The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is deeply involved. It is a process, there are of course other issues that drive construction of embassies other than simply wishes of security. And that is fine. It is understood. That is the way that it should be.
But it is a collective effort between the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which will outline the parameters and will provide a matrix, which is provided to Congress, Commerce, Justice, and State appropriations (CJS) and others on an annual basis, of where we are at and what the top postit is a classified document, since it outlines or you can draw vulnerabilities from it. But it is a document that is coordinated with the Under Secretary for Management, and involves DS input, of course, OBO input, the regional bureaus and their preferences, because a lot of this has to do with where we are growing, where we are trying to pull back. Where we own land can make a big difference.
We may have one post that is highly threatened, but we can't obtain property. So, you know, let's get traction where we can. And when you look at the global nature of the problem from a DS perspective, if OBO can move ahead, we are all for it. And we work very closely together.
Dr. SNYDER. General, do you have any comment?
General O'DELL. Yes, sir. If I can add to that. And Mr. Williams has very accurately portrayed the dilemmas that face not only diplomatic security, but OBO: Old infrastructure, located in such places that it would be difficult to move them for a whole host of reasons. That said, where the solutions daily occur is at the embassy and consulate level from our perspective. That is the interface between the RSO and the Marine Security Guard Detachment, and that layered protection of the facility and the mission, to include host nation and Foreign Service national contract security as well.
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And that is done by both overt means and discrete means. And I think arguably one of the successes that we have enjoyed, and the Hague is probably, sir, a good example of this, is that of course we have a warm relationship with our host nation in the Hague.
But discrete means and the fusion of that information has allowed us to at every level within that layered security on a daily basis maintain that vigilance that is required, which in turn obviates some of the difficulties presented by the local, the lack of setback and so forth at these facilities. It is a 24/7 job for the RSO and for those Marines on post.
That said, clearly there are some things that need to be done. The Department of State and specifically OBO have a plan to do that, both in respect to the consular facilities themselves and the Marine houses over the next 5 years.
To further answer your question, though, we have input at the local level relative to facilities issues, setback and security on this. It is addressed through the Department of State, but by the RSO. As it pertains to Marine houses. We have a program of inspection internal to the Security Guard Battalion that is conducted at least twice annually by the company commanders at those eight regional companies as well as inspecting officers who work for those company commanders.
And currently the battalion commander, Colonel Boyette Hasty, is personally looking at every facility worldwide, a massive undertaking that he began just prior to the attacks last September. And we do have a process for raising those issues, as small as a gate latch or the quality of host nation security that protect the exterior of the Marine houses as well. It spans a spectrum of issues.
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And they are resolved at the Headquarters Marine Corps-Department of State level on a regular basis. There is always an outstanding book of issues, but it is a small book of issues.
Dr. SNYDER. You mentioned the Marine houses. In my introductory comments I mentioned embassies and consulates. But as we learned a week ago in the Philippines, when we had a blast there that targeted American military personnel, we lost the Marine and had the one killed in Kuwait a couple of days ago.
The Marine houses are an area of concentration of American forces. And it also brings home the point that at some of our embassies and consulates, they are packed pretty full of military personnel. The goal, if some extremist group is motivated by trying to push American troops out of the country, Marine houses and some of the embassies and consulates that are pretty full of military personnel I would suspect would be, as you say, highly lucrative targets for some of the terrorists.
General O'DELL. Yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. I wanted to ask, Mr. Williams, in your written statement you referred to the capital program, and yourI think your phrase was an aggressive long-range capital program. And my understanding is that this has been a high priority for the Secretary of State since he has come in and that he wasn't very satisfied with the whole operation, because these are difficult construction projects overseas, likeyou may want to comment on that.
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But it involves foreign governments and foreign building codes and security and safety and all of those kinds of things, and they are not easy, and they are not cheap.
Do we have somebody with OBO here with you today? Would it be possible to have the person from the officefrom OBOare you comfortable with that? I wanted to ask about the building program.
Mr. WILMER. I am Terry Wilmer, the Managing Director of Real Estate and Property Management.
Mr. SAXTON. If you can move up to the table, that would be great. Just pull your chair right up there if you don't mind. We are pretty informal around here.
Dr. SNYDER. What I wanted to ask is this, this is a bit tricky when we are talking about a budget number. But what concerned me was this. I know that the Secretary of State brought in General Williams, the other General Williams, not Mr. Williams, to head up OBO and to reallywho camehe is a retired Corps of Engineers General who came over for the sole purpose of looking at the construction program and trying to figure out a better way to do things.
And, you know, I am convinced that he has. And as Mr. Williams pointed out, the key now is sustained funding, I believe you said in your opening statement. My concern is that it is estimated that in 2002, I think, that we were going to spend about $815 million on embassies, but the President's request was 755. Now there was a supplemental to deal with Kabuland what was the other one? Kabul andthere were two. Pakistan.
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But, my specific question to you would be, would you describe what changes have been made in the building program under the Administration? I think General Williams has been coming in to do that. And, second, I think that this number needs to be augmented annually for a sustained period of time byI will provide a number6- to $700 million a year.
Now, in your statement, General, you talk about since 1998 we have had $225 million worth of improvements on security enhancement, not replacement embassies, but $225 million since 1998 for security enhancements, and I am suggesting that we need 6- to $700 million per year for a sustained period of time to deal with the aggressive long-range capital improvements program.
Can you handle that level of funding? What I hear from Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is that no, it might overwhelm you all. So my two questions: Can you describe the building program, how you see it? Second, is it to the point that it could handle that level of additional increase so we could play some catch-up in some of these embassies?
Mr. WILMER. Let me address, if I could, Congressman, what has changed in theroughly in the last 18 months since General Williams became the Director and Chief Operating Officer of what is now called the Overseas Buildings Operations Bureau.
Dr. SNYDER. Because the Secretary of State's concerns began before September 11th on these issues.
Mr. WILMER. Yes, they did. He personally hand picked General Williams for this job. General Williams, as you have alluded to, is a retired major general from the United States Army, served in a number of very critical positions with the Army Corps of Engineers. I had the privilege of serving with him in that regard a number of years ago.
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General Williams has brought a very businesslike, results-oriented approach to Overseas Buildings Operations, totally restructured the organization; has formed an industry advisory panel to impose on Chief Executive Officers (CEO) and other industry officials to give us advice in terms of best practices. He set up a standard embassy design program.
We have awarded contracts based upon that this fiscal year. This allows us to design and build embassies and consulate compounds more rapidly and at lower cost.
Dr. SNYDER. There are three basis sizes; is that correct?
Mr. WILMER. There are three basic sizes. Yes, sir, that is correct. In addition togoing to the question of our ability to execute, let me say that when General Williams took over 18 months ago we had about $600 million worth of work in progress, if you will, or workload that we were managing.
As of the end of this fiscal year, 2002, we had 2.5 billion. That is literally more than a quadrupling of our workload in progress under management. This fiscal year we awarded I believe in excess ofwe obligated I believe in excess of a billion dollars, record setting amount, both for the Overseas Building Operations and for the Department.
Dr. SNYDER. So we had authorization appropriations in, I guess, the years leading up to President Bush's Administration, but projects weren't getting completed. General Williams comes in and is able to play catch-up, so that the number of projects that we are doing actually on an annualized basis looks higher than the authorization, is that what you are saying? You got some backlog of money taken care of?
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Mr. WILMER. We have taken care of our backlog. We have awarded those contracts that we said we would award. We are a results-based organization. He gets results. That is very, very clear. We are very pleased with those results.
So for those who would say that the State Department, specifically OBO, doesn't have the capacity to execute, I think we would simply say if you look at the record in fiscal year 2002, and since General Williams has taken charge of the Overseas Buildings Operations, that that record will show that in fact we can execute and we have.
Dr. SNYDER. So I threw out the number 6- to 700 million.
Mr. WILMER. I can't comment on what the appropriate level is.
Dr. SNYDER. I am not going to ask you to comment on what the appropriate level is. My question is, if the Congress were to give you 6- to $700 million a year for 5 to 7 years, can OBO handle that in a way that you would not be embarrassed coming back in 1 or 2 years and saying we are overwhelmed, we got behind. But can you handle that level of funding?
Mr. WILMER. Sir, we can handle any level of funding that Congress would appropriate. We can certainly handle in the order of 6- to 700 million. We have demonstrated that this fiscal year.
Dr. SNYDER. My last question. I have seen that I guess somewhat classified book of all of the projects and the priorities and all. It looks to me like 6 to $700 million a year additional for a sustained period of time, it would still take a significant amount of time to work through those projects. Is that a fair statement? Do you have any comment about the time?
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Mr. WILMER. That is a fair statement. I believe the Crowe Report indicated approximately 80 percent of our facilities did not meet security standards. So you can do the math and realize that we have about 260 facilities around the world. Replacing those, recognizing that they are extremely complex facilities to build, very expensive, there are challenges to build them, does take time. So, yes, there would be a significant amount of time involved in trying to fully bring all of our facilities up to current security standards.
Dr. SNYDER. Even with that additional level of funding.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your indulgence.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Mr. Hayes.
Mr. HAYES. Thank you for coming. General O'Dell, speaking in general or in as specific terms as you would like about force protection measures with our Marines overseas, I am remembering my own visit to Afghanistan, and to give you a little bit more guidance, I have a serious concern, as I am sure that you do, there was an article in the L.A. Times in which a Marine, who was in Pakistan, he said, there is always an anti-American sentiment. You get picked out as a target just walking down the street.
I want to talk about that a little bit and see if you can help us understand anything we can do in general or specific in order to overcome that threat.
General O'DELL. Yes, sir, I would be happy to. Because the Anti-Terrorism Brigade is in the force protection business, force protection being an even larger continuum than simply antiterrorism measures. And the Marine Corps has been very much in that business since our own sad experience in Beirut. And it is true that every U.S. Serviceman abroad, whether he or she is serving in an embassy or in the field, as was the lance corporal that was killed in Kuwait the other day, is in one way or another potentially in harm's way, either through the threat of terrorism or physical injury as a result of local culture, be it traffic patterns, or for that matter disease threats and the like.
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And every commander in the Marine Corps prior to taking command, and I think this reflects the policy of all of the services, is required to undergo a course of instruction and training to prepare them for leading their service people in a threatened environment, whatever that threat is.
There are areas of the world, Pakistan would certainly represent one of those, where a young man or woman who might be identified as an American walking on the street, whether in or out of uniform, is threatened just by the very nature of their being profiled, if you will.
To mitigate that, and this is certainly true of all of the Marines in the Security Guard Battalion, but I think it is true of all of the Marines that we deploy through their commanders, who are so trained and instructed, are given the means to protect themselves through measures.
For example, you don't travel by yourself in a part of the city that has been identified, through host nation sources, or perhaps the local defense attache, as being unsafe for whatever reason, be it simply crime or the threat of terrorist attacks. You travel in larger groups. You don't travel during the hours of darkness in certain parts of these countries as well.
But to cite the event of just the other day, the death of Lance Corporal Sledd, all but the most extraordinary force protection measures could not have anticipated that circumstance. I think like all of the lessons that we have learned in force protection and antiterrorism, we are going to rapidly take that one on board, and I think you will see that the way we protect the training exercises outside of the continental United States will take on a different aspect as a consequence of that.
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That is one of the secrets, I think, to success in the global war on terrorism; that is, the rapid assimilation of lessons and observations as they occur. Very much part of the business that we at 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade have is assimilating those lessons, and applying them, not only to our own operations, but Marine Corps operations worldwide. But, clearly, the statement by the young man in the L.A. Times, though I did not read it, I think accurately reflects the fact that our service people worldwide are threatened.
We train them how to take care of themselves, and when we do learn a lesson, we pass that lesson along to them.
Mr. HAYES. If it is not classified, what were the circumstances in Kuwait that I guess these people posing as civilians were close enough to our Marines in training? Can you describe what happened there, or is that something that
General O'DELL. Certainly in open source there was a description of the events. But I think to get into the specifics, sir, we should do that in closed session.
Mr. HAYES. Back to Kabul for just a minute. Of the different things that we looked at that particular day, I spent something over an hour listening to the young Marines who are extremely, extremely capable and ready to do what they need to do.
General O'DELL. Thank you, sir. They are my men.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAYES. They certainly don't occupy the high ground in that particular location. It does not seem to cause them any anguish, but from our perspective their safety and their lives are of utmost importance to us.
I think if there is some way that we could make people a little bit more aware here at home of the threat and the risks that they take, then it would be much less resistance to us providing what they need for their protection.
General O'DELL. Yes, sir. I have been there twice myself, the first time in March and April of this year, not quite 3 months after we first reoccupied the embassy and took up the mission of protecting that little corner of America.And I was there just a month ago to see firsthand what had taken place in the way of enhancements to protection of the Marines and the diplomatic personnel who are assigned to that embassy.
And I must say that OBO has gone to extraordinary means to enhance the physical protection of the mission through enormous military and civil engineering, and much of it done by hand, because certainly 6 months ago it was hard to find a backhoe that would work in Afghanistan. I am happy to report that things have changed a little bit there.
But as an example, the Marine facilities, along those that the diplomatic personnel were living in, were very expeditionary, as I said to Mr. Snyder yesterday in our conversation. And to mitigate that, OBO very rapidly, over the first 90 days, brought in some very comfortable trailers, really shipping containers that had been converted to living quarters, went beyond that to harden those by means that I won't get into in open session.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And particularly for the Marine spaces, after we made some specific requests to improve the hardening of those spaces, they went above and beyond, in very rapid fashion, at a totally unanticipated cost of several million dollars. And I would assert that the spaces that those Marines that you visited there in your trip to Kabul are living perhaps in the most secure facility in all of Afghanistan currently as a consequence of OBO's very proactive response to our requests as far as that is concerned.
But I will tell you that we are constantly with the regional security officer and the Ambassador, discussing the requirements for protection of what I expressed to, I believe it was Mr. Saxton yesterday, perhaps the highest visibility target for transnational terrorists on the planet; that is, the mission in Kabul.
We daily are reassessing our plan to protect that through additional engineering. That is going on as we speak. But also, more discrete means, both in terms of our emergency action plan, quick reaction forces fromin conjunction with both U.S. And other coalition forces in the region.
And I would assert that anyone meaning to do us harm there is in for a rude surprise. That is not to say that it is by any means riskless, but the young men, and those women that occupy that facility, both from the Marine Corps and the State Department, understand that. And, as I am sure that you would agree, sir, they have shouldered that burden admirably.
Mr. HAYES. They do a great job. I have had the brief from your folks down at Quantico, which reinforces the fact that it is incredible that such a small number of folks can provide such a high level of security, and the consistency and the taste of the chicken Tetrazzini and Tabasco was consistent with Camp Lejeune. I am sure you will be glad to know that.
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Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General O'DELL. Not knowing when the Congressman was there, I think you were fortunate not to be there in January, sir, when the Tetrazzini was not quite as refined as it is now.
But I will tell you, sir, that a large part of the business that the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade at large is involved in, and candidly the Marines that are in Afghanistan now are not from the Marine Security Guard Battalion, they are from another element of the brigade, the Antiterrorism Battalion, as well as augmenting assets elsewhere in 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, but we are an economy of force brigade.
By that I mean we look to do as much as we can with as few Marines as possible in the targeted area, and the Marine Security Guard Program has for 50 plus years been evidence of our success in being able to do that. But we are redoubling our efforts there, because we think the more U.S. Personnel, as Mr. Saxton alluded to, the more U.S. Personnel that you put in and around a targeted area makes that much more attractive situation.
And be it by basic civil and military engineering, or by technological methodologies, both new and old technologies, exploited in different ways, we are daily making some headway to mitigate the threat to our Marines, and in this particular case the diplomatic personnel that we protect in those missions.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me just ask a follow up question. Talking about Afghanistan, a while back there was an attempt made on Mr. Karzai's life, and, I believe it was, an American security guard that I think may have been a marine.
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General O'DELL. No, sir, it was not.
Mr. SAXTON. Special Forces.
General O'DELL. They were military personnel but they were not Marines.
Mr. SAXTON. Following that incident there were some statements made that indicated that the reason that the American Special Forces had to take care of Mr. Karzai was because there was nobodythere weren't any Afghan security guards that he could trust, so the Americans got the job of doing that. If that's the case, what does that say about host-nation security at the embassy, at the embassy in Afghanistan?
General O'DELL. The host-nation security situation in Kabul is extraordinary in terms of it is atypical of the kind of host-nation security issues that we deal with in most other places around the world. Vetting who is trustworthy so as to constitute a host-nation external security force is one of the reasons for the Marine Corps presence there now, and the Marine Corps presence that is likely to remain over the long term, is required.
That said, we are in active discussions with the Department of State to look at means where we can employ further economies both in terms of the Marines on the technology that they bring to the table, as well as capabilities that State brings to the table and synergize that. But I think reliance on host-nation security in Afghanistan is a ways off.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I would defer to Mr. Williams in terms of some of the specifics from State's point of view.
Mr. WILLIAMS. From State's point of view we certainly agree with General O'Dell. It is extremely difficult to findvet a civilian security force within Afghanistan. It becomes very problematic to try to establish a guard force when we really would have to look at relying on third-country nationals. That causes a great number problem, not only the financial side, which is astronomical, but their protection against reprisals. Trying to use host-country assets which has very little infrastructure, trying to find trained people and then, of course, the tribal nature of the entire country is really problematic.
We are having the same problems with the Karzai detail. And our antiterrorism assistance program will be working with the Afghan Government to identify an Afghan force for training and eventually replacement of the American contingent currently assigned to Karzai.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. Sorry for missing your testimony. I understand general in your testimony that you mention the Marines who guard our embassies overseas, they cannot have weapons in their quarters off campus. That means in case of an attack or emergency they have to run unarmed to the embassy to get their weapons. Is there a plan on the table to make sure that future construction of our diplomatic missions includes sufficient housing so that Marines can be on campus to a much greaterI not only mean new embassies but also current diplomatic missions where that is the case?
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General O'DELL. Yes, sir, there is. And Mr. Wilmer can correct me if I am wrong, I believe that the plan that is to be carried out over the next 5 years will leave us at the end of that time with 24 Marine security guard quarters that are not collocated with the chancellory, and on the compound, if you will.
That said, the movement of marines from the Marine house to the chancellory in the event of an emergency situation would all be part of the emergency action plan that each embassy or consulate develops specific to that locale, that host country and the like. And how those marines move, how they would be protected in the midst of that move and the like, are specific to each of those emergency action plans.
One of the specific recommendations of the Crowe report, however, was that as part of those emergency action plans, we look at off-site secure storagenot on the embassy compoundthat would allow us to access supplies, medical supplies, and weapons, if necessary. That is problematic in some locales, less problematic in others, without getting into the specifics.
But, again, as I alluded to, the solutions for a lot of these dilemmas are very local and fall right into the lap of the RSO and in coordination with the detachment commander, the Marine detachment commander at those locals. And we are daily looking for solutions to that.
And I think in the mainthere are some specific situations that I can think of that I won't get into, but in the main, we have mitigated to the extent possible in the short run the key problem, and that is marine houses not being located on or internal to the compound.
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Mr. HOSTETTLER. Mr. Williams, would you be able to tell us the security staff defense condition, or however it is determined, of our diplomatic missions in Yemen and Kuwait these days? Is there a heightened security status at these facilities given the situation?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes, there has been a heightened concern and resources provided to both posts over the course ofover the last 6 months, if not more. Both of these are substantial facilities. I am not sure if you are aware of the facilities, but Kuwait, for instance, is about a 30-acre compound and it has in terms of setback about 400 yards. It is well protected. And for the most part the mission is collocated on that 30 acres. It includes the chancellory, the Marine security guards, and it has a number of staff housing units as well. The Kuwaitis have been very cooperative in working with us and support us quite well.
Yemen, we have had some concerns there, I think, as you know. We have put in additional special agents there for an extended period of time who have special training and special capabilities to augment the regional security office and the Marine security guard detachment. There is a split in terms of protection of U.S. forces. The Chief of Mission, of course, is responsible for all elements that do not fall under a CINC. And there are certain elements there that fall outside of the purview of the Chief of Mission.
That said, the RSO and the security element responsible for force protection, those assets, we work very closely together in a number of embassies around theworks well.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HOSTETTLER. I just have one more question. And it deals with the discussion that was had right before my question with regard to Afghanistan. And that is, this is the first I have heard about the tremendous concernobviously the assassination attempt woke everyone up, but some of the points that were made very problematic to find host-nation guard support for Mr. Karzai. There may be a long-term requirement for Marine and expanded Marine protection in that area. There is atypical host-nation status. The tribal nature of the entire country leads us to potentially go for third-nation guard support. I assume third nation means not Afghan, not American, but someone else in the region.
We are still a long way from stability in that region. I guess that is an understatement. But Mr. Karzai's security is just I think maybe typical, actually, of the situation in Afghanistan.
And if you could elaborate further on some other problems in the area that you see, because I am very concerned that we believe that the situation with Afghanistan is much further along than it actually is. And it sounds to me thatgiven the situation with Karzai and what you have talked about here with our needing to be there longer just to help establish the top of the government. The American peopleI will speak for myself. I am very concerned that we are not very far along this road in establishing some type of stability in this country.
General O'DELL. First of all, sir, let me clarify, marines are not involved in the personal protection of Mr. Karzai. I want to make that clear for the record. And I will say that when I was first there in March and April, and when I was there just a month ago, clearly Afghanistan is still a dangerous place. But it was a much more dangerous place 12 months ago. And if I can make some distinct comparisons between what I saw there in the late winter and early spring and what is there now: There is fresh food in the vendors' stalls, there are vehicles on the street, there are smiles on people's faces.
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This is an evolutionary process. I am speaking some hat personally now as well as professionally. I think the sad paradigm is that as life returns to normal in Afghanistan, it at the same time provides fertile ground to terrorists to move unnoticed among the liberated populace, if you will. That is, of course, problematic.
And the friction between the tribes is an issue that is not going to get resolved overnight. But I think from the standpoint of one marine's two visits to Afghanistan, the circumstances surrounding the Karzai government are considerably more stable than they were 6 months ago, just seeing what I saw from the perspective of Kabul and the immediate vicinity of Kabul and from inside the embassy compound as well.
Mr. WILLIAMS. I would like to make a caveat first that I am a special agent with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, which is support services, not the policy side. I am certainly not qualified to speak as a political officer. But our concernsthis is a very unique situation, it remains a war zone. You do not have the basic infrastructure within the country that you normally would rely on. You don't have the police to any particular extent. The loyalties are questionable.
We haven't been there in 12 years, trying to go in and determine who is who and what people have been doing. Before we hire Foreign Service nationals, we do basically the same investigation that Americans receive for a Top Secret clearance, the same basic nature of the investigation. In a situation like this, it is almost impossible. So we have counterintelligence concerns, we have straight-out concerns over whether we are hiring terrorists and that sort of thing. So it leads us to a real problem.
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And the General and I have discussed it in terms of, you know, once we commit to a situation that we have, how do we develop a transition and how long does that take? And the State Department is not sitting back saying well, you know, it isit is General O'Dell's problem. We have tried to be realistic with this and are interested in working with the 4th MEB in how we can do things now that things are settling down a bit, how we can relook at the resources being provided, and how maybe we can do things maybe more economically both in terms of the financial side and the resource side.
In terms of third country, there are guard services in that that are well trained from the outside. But when you start pulling in the costs of per diem and housing, housing is something that just simply doesn't exist. Food, trying to get food and medical care to these people, the cost and the logistics tied to it just become an astronomical problem.
And then bringing in a third country, how do you protect these people, what types of protection do they have, what types of authorities do they have, how do companies become licensed when there is no infrastructure to deal with at present? A lot of this is going to be a growing of the Afghan Government and its ability to develop bureaucracies and start dealing with a lot of the issues that they, of course, recognize. And it is going to be a slow and at times somewhat painful process. But eventually we will get there.
Mr. HOSTETTLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you. Mr. Reyes.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize, gentlemen, for not being here to listen to your statements, although I did read them previously. And, ironically enough, I was participating on a panel on race relations in the 21st century which coincides with some of the concerns that we have, particularly the region of Afghanistan.
Mr. Chairman, I was part of a CODEL led by Chairman Hunter that visited with Karzai in Kabul the week before that vice president of his was assassinated. And one of the recommendations that our CODEL made was that the U.S. take over security, because he expressed some concerns about not having the kind of confidence in the security forces, and those were the only ones that were available to him.
So I think if any Member ever doubts that there is a value in going abroad and participating in oversight, this is one example that I can point to where those oversights make a difference.
But the question I have, General O'Dell, when we were thereand I have been to Kabul three times since Easter and the last time I was in Julythere was an issue there with the Marines that they could not eat in the mess hall for some accounting thing.
General O'DELL. Yes, sir. That has been resolved. Yes, sir, it has been fully resolved. It was just a matter of sorting out the fiscal issues. The Marines were not going hungry.
Mr. REYES. I know that. But it was ironic we were briefed onand believe me, I have seen the same thing that you have, the progress from theI was there with another CODEL shortly after we took over, and the new Ambassador briefed us in the embassy, where it was still in tremendous disrepair. So I have seen the great improvement. And that detachment that you are talking about that is there now providing security for the embassy we ran into actually in Dublin on our way over, because they were going in on that rotation.
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General O'DELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. REYES. I will tell you, General, I am as proud as I could be as an American of the job that the Marines are doing all across the world in all our embassies. They are top notch, they are sharp. They understand, particularly in areas like Afghanistan, Bosnia, the Philippines and other highly conflicted areas, that they are the only thing that we have by way of security that is dependable, and they understand their mission and they understand what the consequences are should an attack occur.
So I can't say enough about the caliber of men that we have in thosemen and women that we have in those posts.
General O'DELL. They are remarkable young Americans, sir.
Mr. REYES. I would hope that for the future we have learnedbecause I was embarrassed that they couldn't eat in the mess hall because of some bureaucratic glitch. We did everything we could to get it resolved quickly. I would just urge that before our young men and women go into areas like that, let's err on the side of making them feel like they are appreciated, and giving them every opportunity to participate in things like eating in the mess hall and stuff like that.
General O'DELL. Yes, sir. And we can get into some of the specifics where it took a couple of weeks to work that out. And they began eating in the mess hall literally days after you were there. Part of it was limitation in terms of storage space, freezer/refrigerated support, and space to hold that much food for the numbers of people, both State Department and Marines, that were going to be served. And all of that food comes from, most of it, 95 percent of it comes from outside of Afghanistan. So refrigeration and so forth is a key to resolving that problem.
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But the Marines were comfortable. And frankly, they were a little suspicious of the State Department chefs. They have changed their mind. I ate with them over the period that I was there in early September and it is good food, and there is plenty of it.
Mr. REYES. Good. And I have got to go toI sit on the Intelligence Subcommittee and we have got a hearing that starts in about 5 minutes, but I did want to ask a couple of questions because I agree with my colleague Vic Snyder in terms of having a workable, comprehensive, worldwide upgrade plan for embassies. We know what the threat level is out there for terrorism, we know what their capabilities are. And whatever it takes, we need to do everything we can to upgrade those facilities and protect those young men and women such as your Marines, plus our Diplomatic Corps that depend on us, to make sure that they have as safe an environment as possible. So I support the initiatives that Congressman Snyder has been pushing forward.
But I am interested in two points: Having been numerous times to Korea and the partnership that we have with the Korean Government, is there a possibility that part of this upgrade program could be paid for by partnerships with the host countries? That is number one. Because our presence there equates to stability. We have been told that, particularly in the Middle East by the President of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and Pakistan and others, that our presence equates to stability for them.
So is there a possibility, number one, is there a possibility that there could be some kind of a partnership along the same lines as we have with South Korea?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And then second and probably most importantly for me, is there a plan in place to do these upgrades? In other words, do we have something concrete that we can pull off the shelf and say, all right, we have got this agreement withpick a country, whatever country it ishere is a plan, let's start moving, having heard that you don't have any problem in absorbing 6- to $700 million a year, hopefully more, until we get these facilities up to speed. So number one, partnership; number two, plan. I would like any or all of to you comment on that.
General O'DELL. I defer to the Department of State on the first question, sir. On the second question there is very definitely a plan in place for upgrading what I am most interested in: the Marine security guard quarters. A, moving them onto the compounds wherever practical and possible; and second of all, upgrading the force protection and the quality of life for those facilities.
Mr. REYES. We wereand I want to pay tribute to Congressman Snyder because we are so committed and concerned about this that we were willing to do an amendment in the Armed Services Committee to use some of that money to go to projects, construction projects that would do just that for the Marine detachments around the world. We weren't successful, but that is the kind of commitment that I think we have to have from Congress to protect our young men and women.
General O'DELL. I think that would be consistent with the way that it is budgeted now, sir. Because the Marine security guard program is paid for out of money of the DOD budget administered by State. We resolve that budget daily, and annually with State, as far as that is concerned. But the most significant portion of that budget is for Marine housing, primarily leases, long- and short-term leases on those Marine houses. So if there was earmarked money in that regard, we have a mechanism in place and the way we would administer that.
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Mr. REYES. Mr. Williams, do you want to comment on the partnership position?
Mr. WILLIAMS. I think there are several facets here. As I mentioned before, we certainly do have a plan. We provideand it stretches out a number of yearswe identify in tiers of 20 the top 80 posts that we are targeting. As one post comes online or goes into construction, we back out and look for the next post. And it is a vetted process, coordinated by the Under Secretary for Management, and it includes the regional bureaus, it includes DS, and it includes OBO.
And we look at notas I mentioned beforenot simply the threats, but where can we get immediate traction and results. Some of these areas, you have a very difficult time in finding property or determining ownership. There are all kinds of issues out there. So a lot of this istends to be post-specific.
But from the perspective of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, we are extremely impressed with General Williams and his approach. There is a real effort to standardize so we can work more efficiently, quicker, with less expensive means of dealing with problems. He is looking to build safe, secure, and functional office buildings.
In the past there has been a tendency to build architectural statements. Those types of facilities come with anomalies and they create certain problems from a security standpoint or from a mechanical standpoint. So we are very much in favor of his approach to this.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If I could say one thing, backing up to an earlier question by Mr. Snyder, I wanted to make sure that it was understood. In my comments I hit some highlighted areas that we are working on: $200 million for physical security, upgrades of perimeters, and a like amount on technical security improvements with cameras and alarms and that sort of thing. Those monies came out of a $1.3 billion supplemental in fiscal year 1999. And that should not be confused with the capital program which has a much greater amount of money involved.
Mr. REYES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me just ask if we can expand the conversation on host-nation security. We have talked in some depth about Afghanistan which is an atypical situation. We understand that every embassy's security needs are different let me ask how many host-nation security guards supplement the Marine security guards, on average? And is the number, on average, different than it was, say, 2 years ago?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Posts vary in size tremendously. We don't necessarily deal in numbers, we deal in labor hours. So how muchhow many people this involves is difficult for a specific post.
Mr. SAXTON. Let's talk about levels of host-nation security support.
Mr. WILLIAMS. Again, and I don't mean to be evasive, it does vary by post. There is a real difference in terms of capabilities and training that various countries have. And of course, the less sophisticated and capable a country is, the more that we have to put into assets. From our standpoint, we developed a worldwide surveillance detection program in 1999. We stood it up in about a year. It is a very effective means of countering surveillance, and that was probably closer to 3,000 people when you put the administrative support to it.
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With the perimeter upgrades, we put a lot of money into additional guards. We raised therather than going from a critical, high, medium, and low category in designing perimeter security based on a local threat now, all posts are treated the same regardless of internal events. We have found as a general rule the host governments have been very receptive. They face some real problems, though, as I mentioned. In terms of working with us when we start asking to shut down streets to gain added setback or we are attempting to purchase or expand into years, it is problematic for them.
The biggest problem we have with host governments is not necessarily that they don't recognize the problem, it is an attempting to sustain their presence. And we will gear up if they see a problem.
Mr. SAXTON. Do we have to pay them?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Under convention it is the host government's responsibility. In certain instances we will provide a stipend.
Mr. SAXTON. General O'Dell, your Marines interface with host-nation support people every day.
General O'DELL. Yes, sir.
Mr. SAXTON. Can you tell us whether you see an increase in host-nation support?
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General O'DELL. That increase I have seen is both tangible and intangible. And the tangible aspects areat the posts I have been to, as opposed to the same posts that I may have visited prior to 9/11, there is in many casesParis is an example, Oman is an examplea greater physical host-nation presence in the neighborhood in the vicinity of the consulate or the embassy.
I think a key difference, perhaps, in where we were a year ago and where we are today in terms of host-nation supportand, again, this is our observation through the lens of the individual detachment commander and the regional security officer at each embassyis the discreet countersurveillance activities that have been undertaken that have been a tremendous multiplier to our overall detection and deterrence program and that layered approach that Mr. Williams described; and in many, many cases, the amount of intelligence and information that is being shared today as opposed to where we were 12 months ago.
So there is a tangible aspect to it, whether it is local police, local military, local contract on post, in the streets, and in the neighborhood around the facilities. And second, the discreet capability that is not as great 12 months ago as it is today.
Mr. SAXTON. Who is responsible for making security arrangements with host nations? Is it the Ambassador on the post, is itis there somebody at the State Department? Is it a responsibility that the Marine Corps has? How does that work?
Mr. WILLIAMS. The responsibility ultimately rests with the Chief of Mission for the protection of the facility and the personnel. That is delegated to the regional security office and regional security officers at post who then interface with host government security and intelligence services.
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We havein expanding on what the General just said, we are finding most governments much more forthcoming in sharing of intelligence with us and by and large they do understand, they do take it seriously, they do the best they can. And of course, what you may see in Western Europe may be different than what you see in certain parts of Africa, just simply because of capabilities and that sort of thing. But, yes, right across the board, I think we can say that host governments are being responsive.
General O'DELL. If I might add, sir, you could agree that it is, in the perception of those host nations, in their self-interest, because an attack on an American facility in a host-nation headlined in the New York Times has subsequent impacts that they don't need to contend with necessarily.
Mr. WILLIAMS. From a policy standpoint, the Chiefs of omission have had no hesitancy in involving themselves at whatever level it takes should the RSOs run into problems in getting the attention of host-country officials. They are very much engaged right across the board.
Mr. SAXTON. Are you satisfied, Mr. Williamsand it sounds like you arethat the host-country cooperation is at a level that is satisfactory given the threat?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Well, again, it can vary from country to country, but overall, yes. The main issue with host governments is maintaining their attention. It is a drain on their resources, the request has political implications for governments, particularly city governments, and, as we see in Washington at times, between the city and federal institutions trying to protect themselves in elevated periods. But overall, yes, I am satisfied.
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Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Snyder.
By the way, we are told we are going to have a vote in about 5 minutes so we will have to wrap up here in about 10.
Dr. SNYDER. I will just make a closing comment, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you having this hearing today and I think your information has been very helpful. I was struck by a couple things. One, I think, Mr. Williams, in your written statement you refer to the 4,000 threats a year overseas. Is that correct; 4,000 threats?
Mr. WILLIAMS. Yes.
Dr. SNYDER. Embassies or personnel or the Marines or Marine houses, which is significant. I was alsoI am sorry, I forgot your name sir.
Mr. WILMER. Wilmer.
Dr. SNYDER. I think you said that the average age of the embassies is 40 years. Our ability to plan; we can't base this on where are the stable countries or the safe countries or the not-so-stable countries, because in 10 years or 15 years or 30 years, the whole world can be switched around. We didn't expect there would be a civil war going on in the Ivory Coast just a few months ago. So we have to look at all our embassies as potential targets and recognize there is not any safe place.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Jim has been talking about this issue a lot. I have been talking about it some. I talked to a variety of Members in the House and some Senators about it and brought up some conferences, talked to the Vice President about it. But it all seems to come back to OMB, you know, the reality of how we work around here. And I hope that you all will be more successful in your efforts in the future to get the level of funding, particularly for the capital account that I think you all deserve.
I mean, the reality is none of us will be surprised if, you know, we turn on the news or get the report that we lost three or four embassies in one day. If we have thishad a post-event hearing, we would sayif I asked you, are you surprised? No. We know that, as you said, there are lucrative targets out there for extremist groups. So we better hope that we havethat we can live with the actions or inactions that we all have committed to these outposts of the American people.
So thank you all for being here.
And thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding the hearing.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Hayes, anything further?
Mr. HAYES. No, sir. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Let me just express my appreciation for the great effort you have made today to help us understand these issues. We appreciate it very much. We don't pretend to be experts on what you folks do, and we are glad you are all out there doing it. And again, from time to time, if you see things that we can be helpful with, we hope you will convey them to us.
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Thank you very much. We appreciate it. And the hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 10:15 a.m., the panel was adjourned.]