The Use of Afghan Nationals to Provide Security to U.S. Forces
“So it was with the attacker at FOB Frontenac. In July 2010 at another forward operating base, his employer, Tundra Security, fired him for allegedly making statements about killing U.S. personnel and recommended that he not be rehired. The contractor’s chain of command did not enter that recommendation into the attacker’s file, and the attacker was rehired by the same contractor in 2011, just before the attack at Frontenac.
Chairman Buck McKeon Statement February 1, 2012
“In September last year, this committee explored the issue of attacks by members of the Afghan National Security Forces on U.S. and coalition personnel. The witnesses concluded that DOD had “mitigated the risk about to the degree we can,” in “these few occasions” when such attacks have occurred.
Since then, the committee staff has continued to look into the factors behind attacks by Afghan nationals on coalition forces, including attacks conducted by Afghans hired by private security contractors to protect U.S. bases. The staff has used the attack in March 2011 at Forward Operating Base Frontenac as a case study to better understand the range of issues. In that attack, two soldiers died, including my constituent, Specialist Rudy Acosta, and four were wounded. I would like to note that Specialist Acosta’s father and mother, Dante and Carolyn Acosta, are with us today.
“Private security contractors are used in Afghanistan to provide personal protective services for Department of State personnel and dignitaries, to guard construction sites, to ensure safe movement for other private companies doing business in Afghanistan, for guarding supply convoys, and to augment coalition forces by providing base security. In the case of base security, the Commander in Chief is responsible for determining the size of the U.S. force deployed to Afghanistan, the missions that force will undertake, and the necessary contractor support. For different reasons, both President Bush and President Obama have chosen to limit the size of the U.S. force and to use private security contractors to enhance base security. In contrast, it is Congress’ role, and the purpose of today’s hearing, to assess the advisability of these policies and whether the Administration needs to change its approach.
“Complicating matters further, President Karzai has dictated that only Afghan nationals may be certified for employment as private security guards and has not permitted U.S. citizen contractors. Karzai has also ordered the private security contractors to be disbanded. The Afghan Ministry of Interior will assume full responsibility for providing the Afghan Personal Protection Force (APPF), a new organization that from March 2012 onward, with a few exceptions, will replace private security contractors. The APPF will be available on a fee-for-service basis to coalition forces to perform the services I just described.
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