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Report: Security at U.S. overseas posts insufficient, inadequate

Special to WorldTribune.com

WASHINGTON — Foreign security contractors for U.S. diplomatic
facilities have been deemed inadequate, a report said.

The State Department said the majority of foreign security contractors
hired to protect U.S. embassies and consulates were deemed insufficient and
inadequate. The department’s inspector-general surveyed foreign guards
deployed around 86 diplomatic posts.

Pakistani security officials stand guard outside the U.S. diplomatic mission in Karachi.

“OIG [Office of the Inspector-General] also found at some overseas posts that local guard contracts let under the current lowest-price award method had performance problems and an increased need for oversight from department officials — a condition that may be alleviated by the use of the best-value method where price is not the overriding factor in awarding the contract,” the inspector-general said in a report.

The report, released in February 2012, said foreign security guards
deployed at two-thirds of the 86 posts were deemed inadequate. The
inspector-general said the biggest problems included the U.S. embassy in Iraq.

The inspector-general said 37 percent of the problems included
insufficient number of local guards. Another 40 percent of the complaints involved insufficient training of foreign security guards.

Titled “Review of Best-Value Contracting for the Department of State
Local Guard Program and the Utility of Expanding the Policy Beyond
High-Threat Posts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan,” the report said the
U.S. diplomatic facilities in Iraq as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan
required what was termed “best-value contracting.” The inspector-general
said this would take into account the past performance of contractors.

In 2009, the State Department was granted authority to award best-value
contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This authority has not applied
to other overseas diplomatic posts.

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