– Domani Spero
At the Daily Press Briefing on June 16, 2014, the State Department spox said this about the relocation of Embassy Baghdad personnel to Basra, Erbil and Amman Jordan (US Mission Iraq: Now on Partial “Temporary Relocation” To Basra, Erbil & Amman (Jordan):
QUESTION: Would you call this an evacuation?
MS. PSAKI: No, we would not.
QUESTION: Is it just a chance to have some members of the embassy work remotely?
MS. PSAKI: It is a situation, Lucas, where we evaluate the security and – on the ground. And at our posts and embassies around the world we made a decision that the right step here was to relocate some of our staff to other parts of Iraq and to a supporting neighboring country and so that’s the step we took and that’s why we took it.
QUESTION: And –
QUESTION: — hold on. Just to follow up –
MS. PSAKI: But let me reiterate one thing: Our embassy staff and our embassy is open and operating. Our diplomatic team at the highest levels is engaged closely with the Iraqis and that will continue.
QUESTION: But it just has a fifth of the amount of personnel as it did before.
MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to get into specific numbers, but again, a range of these employees are temporarily relocating – temporarily – to some other areas in Iraq, and again a close neighboring country.
Today, the State Department issued a new Travel Warning for Kenya. It further announced that the Embassy is “relocating some staff to other countries” but that “the Embassy will remain open for normal operations.” The relocation is not specifically called “authorized” or “ordered” departure. The announcement only says “some staff”and it is not clear whether these are family members or non-essential personnel they are
evacuating relocating. We take it this is not considered an evacuation either? Is this a new trend? When can we see this in the DSSR? (Also see US Embassy Kenya: Isn’t That Travel Warning Odd or What?).
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya. The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya. U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas. Due to the terrorist attack on June 15 in Mpeketoni, in Lamu County, the U.S. Embassy instituted restrictions on U.S. government personnel travel to all coastal counties – Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and the coastal portion only of Tana River County.
Based on the recent changes in Kenya’s security situation, the Embassy is also relocating some staff to other countries. However, the Embassy will remain open for normal operations. This replaces the Travel Warning of May 17, 2014, to update information about embassy staffing and current travel recommendations.
The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including the Nairobi area and the coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani. Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings – to include car bombings – kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports. Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region. Travelers should consult the Worldwide Caution for further information and details.
Read in full here.
We should note that the State Department’s Family Liaison Office does not have any current guidance for employees on temporary relocation due to an official non-evacuation.
Makes one wonder how these employees on temporary relocation are assisted by the government. Were they all issued TDY orders to other countries? Were they sent on early R&Rs? How about their family members?
See — an evacuation status is authorized by the Under Secretary of State for Management in 30-day increments, up to a maximum of 180 days, per DSSR 623f. When an evacuation is declared, a Subsistence Expense Allowance (SEA) is given to official evacuees. “Transitional separate maintenance allowance” TSMA is also granted to assist employees with additional costs they incur when their family members are required to occupy temporary commercial housing while establishing permanent housing in the U.S. following an evacuation and the conversion of the post to an unaccompanied status.
If this is in fact a “temporary relocation” with staffers sent on TDYs,there would be no evacuation orders, and there would be no evacuation allowances paid to staffers or family members relocated to other countries. The 180-day clock will not start
If this is called a “temporary relocation” but staffers and/or family members are issued evac orders, granted evacuation allowances and the 180 day clock is on, then this is in fact an evacuation even if it’s not called that; and we’ll need a new State Department dictionary.
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- US Mission Iraq: Now on Partial “Temporary Relocation” To Basra, Erbil & Amman (Jordan) (diplopundit.net)
- U.S. to Evacuate Many Staff Members From Baghdad Embassy (nytimes.com)
- US Embassy in Kenya Requests Security Upgrade (abcnews.go.com)
- Al-Shabaab warning: tourists visit Kenya ‘at their own peril’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Security Beefed up at US Embassy in Baghdad (abcnews.go.com)
- Another extremist attack in Kenya: 9 dead (stripes.com)
- State Dept.’s Jen Psaki: No, I Wouldn’t Say This Is An Evacuation, Embassy Staff Are Being ‘Temporarily Relocated’ (hapblog.com)
- Here’s what the State Department is calling the evacuation of personnel from Baghdad (theblaze.com)