You’re Not in a Broom Closet, Are You?

Office space has been in the news lately. Karl Rove mourns that his old office in the West Wing has been carved into four cubicles. Four – imagine! Al Kamen has reported the furious jockeying of critical spots somewhere, anywhere, in the West Wing of the White House by the new staff. You can see the diagram here. Proximity to power is power? See which one is number 1 and 2.

You can almost expect this same thing replicated in all executive offices as every new cabinet secretary and staff moves in. So it was only a matter of time…


Office Snafu at State
touts Madam Secretary over at Foreign Policy. The 7th Floor folks reportedly are not happy being bumped to make space for Jack Lew. “We hear rank-and-file foreign service officers (FSOs) are none too happy with the move, which is considered a slight to Burns, a career diplomat who is the highest-ranking FSO in the country.”

Should I add this to my Huh? News?

A slight to Burns, plueeze!

State just got a sparkling newly minted Deputy Undersecretary for Management and Resources. Alleluia! This was a slot that went unfilled under Condi Rice; a great decision that really helped her resource gathering talents at Capitol Hill.

So now there is the Secretary of State, then James Steinberg (D) and Jack Lew (D/MR), then Bill Burns (P). While “P” has traditionally been the number #3 person at State (and the top career official), change has come to the State Department. Now this change has bumped “P” down to number #4 (still the top career official) and on and on it goes cascading down the chain and the collateral office spaces. But I fully expected this, why would anyone imagine otherwise?

A Diplopundit reader who saw the office snafu entry asked if the office space issue is really that bad: “People go from cheering in the halls to expecting the worst in the space of a week? It’s too bad, because I was so taken with the idea of an optimistic, united State Department.”

I don’t know what it’s like over at the 7th Floor. But Bill Burns is a professional career diplomat. I’m sure that he, as well as most of the employees of the State Department appreciates the importance and the significance of bringing in Jack Lew to deal with management and resource issues. Mr. Lew said that he will focus on making sure the Department “is well-coordinated internally and is collaborating effectively with others agencies and organizations, on spending smarter as we build capacity to execute against our objectives and on delivering results.” At his confirmation hearing he pledged to work with Congress “to demonstrate that resources are used effectively and to make the case for the additional resources need to ensure success.”

Call me naïve, but I like what I heard. And frankly, I’d like to roll out the red carpet for this guy. I hope Jack Lew delivers. Short of giving him the Secretary’s office, he should have his choice of official digs at Foggy Bottom, seriously. If “R” or whatever letter of the alphabet soup needs to move one floor down to facilitate this, so be it. I for one would like Jack Lew to be as close to the Secretary’s office as possible for the regular access he needs.

Besides, unless the principals or their staffers have been consigned to a broom closet with no telephone and internet connection, I really don’t see this office space rigodon as an issue. I’d like to see Jack Lew get as comfortable as he can and receive all the support that he needs — so he can get some work done.

As one sensible blog comment made recently: “Give it a break folks. Bill Burns is not concerned about his office space based on people I have talked to. What people really care about is can Jack Lew deliver the resources hoped for. If he can there is reason to rejoice. If he can’t, there are more important things to worry about than just office space — like getting the job done.”

I’d like to put this as nothing more than part of the normal transition process. We all have some strong reactions to change, not just in our work lives but also in our personal lives. I think that reaction comes from the fact that change comes with its permanent shadow of fear. The reinvention, reorganization, turnaround and every new management, in and out of government – they all impact people’s emotion – whether in terms of our role, importance, our influence, attention we receive, staff we get — you know, office space, paper clips, etc. etc. and where we all fit in the larger puzzle of the universe. One alternative is to hold on to the existing state of affairs, maintaining the status quo. The other alternative is to get over that fear and open up to the new possibilities.

More new possibilities, please.

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Would Blackwater Be Beta Dog Now?

Iraq to Deny New License To Blackwater Security Firm, WaPo reports (January 29, 2009; A12). The Iraqi government has informed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that it will not issue a new operating license to Blackwater Worldwide, the embassy’s primary security company, which has come under scrutiny for allegedly using excessive force while protecting American diplomats, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

I don’t think this is a totally unexpected development. I think folks have been waiting for this shoe to drop for a while now.

Quick review of the protective services contracts:

March 2000
– Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS-I) Contract
(former Yugoslavia)
DynCorp International

July 2002
– WPPS-I (expanded) Palestinian Territories
DynCorp International

November 2002
– WPPS-I (expanded) Afghanistan
DynCorp International

2005
– WPPS-II Contract Iraq
Blackwater USA (Baghdad and Hillah)
DynCorp (Erbil and Kirkuk)
Triple Canopy (Tallil and Basra)

2009
– WPPS-III (contract to be awarded early 2009?)


The OIG reports that “there have been no assessments or analysis to determine the personal protective service requirements in Iraq, including how many security personnel to employ, where they should be deployed, or the level and manner of protection given the threat in particular locations. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) noted several instances that raised concerns over the efficient deployment of contractor security assets.”

The concerns it cited over efficient deployment are as follows:

  • In Tallil in 2007, there were no security protection movements for more than six consecutive months despite having between 30 to 53 security specialists stationed there.
  • At the Basra Regional Embassy Office, chief of mission personnel had engaged in five security movements since January 2008 off the Air Base, and as of late-September 2008, approximately 113 security specialists, support staff, and guard force personnel were assigned there.
  • In August 2008, at the mostly vacated Kirkuk Regional Embassy Office, the OIG team observed that 14 private security specialists and guard force personnel were assigned to protect one Foreign Service administrative officer.

That infamous shooting at Nisur Square involved 19 private security specialists, in four heavily armed trucks transporting a USAID protectee. I’m not begrudging the protection afforded COM personnel in Iraq but how effectively can they really do their jobs if they are delivered and extracted by troops of armed guards to/from their every meeting point? And considering that we have people who want us dead there, aren’t the other parties in these meetings put at risk simply by meeting US officials? No answers, just questions …

According to the OIG, Department security officials have also stated there were no plans to conduct an overall assessment of the security requirements in Iraq before the solicitation and awarding of WPPS III contract. Why not? I’m scratching my head here, why not?

Wouldn’t it make sense to find out how many you need before you contract out those services? While at it, perhaps the new administration can put rightsizing the embassy in Baghdad in somebody’s top must-do list, too (please not HR)? With transparency in the air, it’s about time we see some sunlight on the logic of the staffing pattern there.

In any case, Blackwater is the largest provider of private security specialists, administrative and support staff, and guard force for the State Department, so this development has the potential to significantly impact what State can do in Iraq. Unless, Blackwater buys a stake either/both in DynCorp or Triple Canopy, and be the beta dog or the two other companies hire the former BW guards.

Or there is this …

U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor said during the indictment of the Blackwater guards on December 8:

As set forth in the indictment, the five defendants were all employed by the Armed Forces outside the United States. Specifically, the defendants worked as independent contractors and employees of Blackwater Worldwide, a company contracted by the Department of State to provide personal security services related to supporting the Department of Defense in the Republic of Iraq, within the meaning of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, or MEJA.

This indictment represents the first prosecution under MEJA to be filed against non-Defense Department private contractors, which was not possible prior to 2004 amendments that specifically expanded the reach of MEJA to non-Defense Department contractors who provide services, quote, “in support of the mission of the Department of Defense overseas” end quote.

So apparently — these guards were contracted by the State Department “to provide personal security services related to supporting the Department of Defense in the Republic of Iraq.” If that is the case, if State is supporting DOD in Iraq, then perhaps the time has come for Hill and Bob to have that MOU for DOD to provide security protection for our embassy personnel?

BTW, am I the only one confused by that attorney’s convoluted reasoning about why these guys are covered by the MEJA? On December 12, the Congressional Research Service writes that “As the term is defined in the agreement, “U.S. contractors and their employees” only applies to contractors that are operating under a contract/subcontract with or for the United States Forces. Therefore, U.S. contractors operating in Iraq under contract to other U.S. departments/agencies are not subject to the terms of the SOFA and are, arguably, immune from Iraqi civil and criminal jurisdiction as long as CPA Order 17 remains in effect.”

Since CPA Order 17 have not been rescinded when the SOFA was signed, doesn’t it stand within reason that it was in effect prior to the signing of the SOFA, and thus still covered the now indicted guards? I don’t know if these guards are guilty or not, I don’t know them from Adam, never met any of them — but I have some Vulcan blood; I like logic served cold.

Related Items:

OIG: Review of Diplomatic Security’s Management of Personal Protective Services in Iraq
(January 2009)

CRS: U.S. – Iraq Withdrawal: Status of Forces Agreement: Issues for Congressional Oversight
December 12, 2008

OIG: Status of the Secretary of State’s Panel on Personal Protective Services in Iraq Report Recommendations
(December 2008)

Ambassador McGee Slogs on in Fruitcake Bob’s Zimbabwe

Here is something that will get Mugabe’s goat. On January 29, Ambassador James D. McGee, visited the Unicef warehouse in Workington, Harare. The visit by the ambassador followed the arrival, last week, of a USAID-provided consignment of nearly 440,000 bars of soap—valued at nearly US$365,000—to the UN Children’s Fund, which will provide it to humanitarian organizations to distribute as part of hygiene education programs in areas most affected by the cholera outbreak. During the tour, Ambassador McGee inspected warehouse commodities and received UNICEF briefing on distribution and general U.N. health and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs. He also took questions from journalists during the event. Asked why the aid did not come through the host government, he made the following response (from SW Radio Africa):

Ambassador McGee: Let me be very frank about that. Too many things disappear when they go to the government. You all know that. I will just cite one recent case. Recently, 14 million dollars from the Global Fund which was destined for people who had HIV and AIDS disappeared. And we went to the Government, they said, ‘well, we needed that money for other things, – what’s more important than taking care of a person who has HIV and AIDS, getting the anti- retro-viral drugs that they need to continue to live. But the government took this money and freely admitted that they took this money and used it for something else. What? We don’t know. So of course, we are not going to give this money to government. We are not going to give these commodities to government, until government shows us that they can do the right thing and take care of the people of Zimbabwe. That’s all we ask- something very, very small. Take care of your own people.

Since October of last year, 2007, a year and a half ago, over US $250 million have come into Zimbabwe in assistance- 250 million dollars. Since 2002, one billion United States dollars has come to Zimbabwe in assistance. I don’t want to hear anybody telling me about illegal sanctions. A billion dollars- can the government of Zimbabwe say that they spent a billion dollars on their people during that time? I don’t think so. So I don’t want to hear anything about illegal sanctions. It makes me angry when U.S. tax dollars have to go to feed the people of Zimbabwe, but I see a lot of people in government with 60 bedrooms in their house. You know what I am talking about, don’t you?

Wanna bet that this would make Bob the Destroyer cranky as hell? And yeah, yeah, yeah … he’s going to threaten to kick Ambassador McGee out of there. Again. Can’t somebody please convince Bob to get out already, like somebody convinced Marcos to leave the Philippines in 1986 for Hawaii? Dictators may have “staying power” but in the end they are either deposed, tried and executed (not necessarily in that order) or exiled to rot and die in some foreign country. Unless rotting in your own country while taking everyone with you, is the more er, patriotic thing to do.

Fair Pay Act of 2009 – About Time, Too!

President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 into law today! Yay!

In my other life, I did work as a software analyst for a tech company. As I was considering whether to stay in the company or not, I learned that I was paid significantly less than my colleagues even as we were doing exactly the same work. At that time, I had yet to complete my graduate degree. My project manager told me, they were paid more because they had advanced degrees. I still remember feeling crappy about it but it also made my decision to leave easier. No, I did not take my employer to court; I went back to school to complete my degree.

The new law amends title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and modify the operation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, to clarify that a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice that is unlawful under such Acts occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, and for other purposes.

So President Obama’s first piece of legislation signed into law has real meaning for me. I’ve been there, they’ve done that. The Court ruled that employees subject to pay discrimination like Lilly Ledbetter must file a claim within 180 days of the employer’s original decision to pay them less. The new law means that complaints can now be filed 180 days after any discriminatory paycheck. I won’t recover anything from my former employer since gone bankrupt but this would make employers think twice before pulling these kind of tricks on others.

More info here and here. The blog post here also includes links to the SCOTUS’ majority and minority opinions.

Bad News Round-up


Tell me there will be some good news tomorrow …

On January 27: Fox News reports that “U.S. Consulate Mistakenly Sells Secret Files in Jerusalem”

Three years ago, in December 2005, a woman reportedly purchased a file cabinet from the American Consulate in Jerusalem during its regular furniture auction. Fox News reports last Tuesday (January 27, 2009) that “hundreds of files — with social security numbers, bank account numbers and other sensitive U.S. government information — were found in a filing cabinet.”

“We thought of calling the American consulate right away, and then we thought, you know they’ll just hide it and say, ‘Oh, we made a mistake.” The buyer, a woman named Paula was quoted as saying.

According to the report, Paula decided to come forward with the file after hearing about a Sept. 22, 2008 incident in which a Palestinian teenager crashed a BMW into a group of Israeli soldiers (her son’s unit); and she was angered when she heard that the car was purchased from an auction held by the consulate. The report includes a statement about U.S. officials denying any connection to the car. Fox News investigation also found there was no connection. Paula, an Israeli who also holds U.S. citizenship, says she wanted to expose the incident because her loyalty is to the state of Israel.”

I just want to point out that a U.S. Consulate is normally a much smaller presence than an embassy. Whereas an embassy would have a senior General Services Officer (GSO) who may directly supervises auctions like this (reporting to a Management Officer), in smaller posts, auctions and other management and administrative duties become collateral duties for Consular, Political, or Econ/Pol Officers. So one becomes post management officer or post security officer in addition to one’s primary gig. But in this case, it looks like Jerusalem has its own Management Officer, GSO and its own Regional Security Officer.

Read more about this here.

The Department’s Acting Spokesman, Robert Wood confirmed to the press yesterday that there is an investigation underway and that “the file – the components of the file cabinets have been returned,” but could not say when.

TSB at the Skeptical Bureaucrat has written about this here.


On January 28: Third State Department worker pleads guilty to passport snooping

A third former employee of the U.S. Department of State has pleaded guilty to illegally accessing the electronic passport application files of Barack Obama and dozens of other politicians and celebrities in a snooping case that came to light last March.

Gerald Lueders, 65, of Woodbridge, Va., entered the guilty plea yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington, admitting to a single count of unauthorized computer access, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.

In his guilty plea, Lueders acknowledged that between July 2005 and last February, he logged into the State Department’s Passport Information Electronic Records System (PIERS) and viewed the passport applications of more than 50 politicians, actors, musicians, athletes, members of the media and other people.

Since all the three incidents appear to be all out of idle curiosity, makes one wonder why they had time to be idle in the first place. Once I worked with somebody who often pretends she was doing work while reading magazines as the rest of the office scrambles to attend to customers. Nobody ever said anything about it. Until a new supervisor arrived. The supervisor, a lovely, grouchy old lady marched up to this woman’s desk and simply growled, “Doris (not a real name) what are you doing?” I loved that lady! And that was the end of “Doris’s” hobby work during office hours.

Read the whole thing here.


One January 28: An ABC News Exclusive: CIA Station Chief in Algeria Accused of Rapes

The CIA’s station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

The suspect in the case is identified as ***** in an affidavit for a search warrant filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. by Scott Banker, Special Agent with the United States Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). The allegations against the suspect were for committing aggravated sexual abuse and sexual abuse, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2241(b)(2) and 2242. Officials say the 41-year old *****, a convert to Islam, was ordered home by the U.S. Ambassador, David Pearce, in October after the women came forward with their rape allegations in September.

Greg Miller reporting for the LA Times quotes an unnamed government official speaking of the suspect: “He is exactly the guy we need out in the field,” said a senior U.S. government official who had met with the accused officer in Algiers last summer before the scandal emerged. “He’s African American. He’s Muslim. He speaks the language. He seemed well put together, sharp and experienced.”

More on this here, here and here. And one more from CQ. I’m sure there’ll be a lot more coverage on this as the story develops. However this turns out, his cover is blown now.

Click here to read the affidavit (graphic details).

Excuse me, I need to go to the vomitorium now.

Happy Data Privacy Day!

Today, January 28, the United States, Canada, and 27 European countries will celebrate Data Privacy Day together for the second time.

Designed to raise awareness and generate discussion about data privacy practices and rights, Data Privacy Day activities in the United States have included privacy professionals, corporations, government officials, and representatives, academics, and students across the country.

One of the primary goals of Data Privacy Day is to promote privacy awareness and education among teens across the United States. Data Privacy Day also serves the important purpose of furthering international collaboration and cooperation around privacy issues.

Just for today, check out these materials:

Privacy Today slide presentation (ZIP 39.3MB) and manual (PDF 522KB)

Secure your computer to protect your privacy presentation (ZIP 594KB) and speaker notes (PDF 319KB)

Read more education materials, and useful links and resources (including videos) related to privacy data at this Intel page.

Below are my additional stops for data privacy and internet safety. I hope you will find these useful in discussing data privacy and online safety with the young ones.

Netsmartz
Also runs NetSmartz411, a first-of-its-kind, online service provided by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to answer questions about Internet safety, computers, and the Web. NetSmartz411 is provided at no cost to the public and made possible by a generous donation from the Qwest Foundation.

Safe Canada
A one-stop shop for safety and security information and services in Canada with extensive resources on internet safety and internet security for school-age kids.

Hillary’s First 7 Days: A Snapshot in Numbers


1:
Session with reporters; she talked about foreign policy and diplomacy


3:
US foreign policy retooled along the three axes of diplomacy, development and defense


3:
Special envoys appointed (here and here)


6:
Remarks delivered


14:
Number of Afghan women judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys she met with; they were training participants in the Department’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan


37:
Tel-cons with presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers


2,200:
number of employees who signed letter to HRC calling for equal benefits to same sex partners. (More in Life After Jerusalem and Dead Men Working)

Top Transition Mistake: Assuming “They” Are All Idiots

Early this month, the Council for Excellence in Government, the Senior Executive Association, Harvard Business Publishing and The Washington Post hosted an interactive workshop Accelerating Leadership Transitions at the National Press Club led by Dr. Michael Watkins, author of the international bestsellers, “The First Ninety Days and co-author of “The First 90 Days in Government.”

Dr. Watkins started the workshop with the employees’ hopes and fears for the Obama Administration. There were several direct quotes there but one that leaped out the screen/page was this one: “De-politicization of entire organizations. Value employees for their talents and contributions and not for their assumed political affiliation.”

I don’t know if the contributor of that quote came from DOJ, DHS, State or elsewhere.

In any case, the workshop included top ten lists of mistakes that political appointees and civil servants make when dealing with each other during transition:

Top Ten Mistakes of Political Appointees in Dealing With Career Civil Servants:

#10. Assuming government runs like a business.

#9. Poor ethical choices.

#8. Unclear vision/goals/setting priorities.

#7. Not valuing existing processes/procedures.

#6. Only getting input from senior executives.

#5. Change for the sake of change.

#4. Not understanding agency culture and history.

#3. Trying to change too much too fast (a challenge for this new administration)

#2. Not learning the issues/not listening/coming in with preset ideas/rush to judgments.

#1. Ignoring/underestimating/distrusting career people (i.e. assuming they are all idiots).

Advice to Political Appointees in Dealing with Career Civil Servants

“Career staff is in for the long run. You are coming in with great enthusiasm for crafting a new paradigm. So did the last crew! Consult and listen carefully, and you will get valuable advice and learn how to avoid pitfalls. Communicate your frustration, and allow a chance for the interaction to improve before giving up.”


More in the workshop.


Top Ten Mistakes of Career Civil Servants Dealing With Political Appointees:

#10.Not speaking up/pushing back/”yessing” the boss.

#9. Hoarding information/protecting turf/territorialism.

#8. Becoming paralyzed/reactive due to uncertainty about direction.

#7. Clinging too hard to policy positions/focusing on barriers.

#6. Assuming political appointees know less than they do.

#5. Assuming appointees know more than they do.

#4. Hiding issues/not being forthcoming about issues.

#3. Attempting to “manage”/”manipulate”/”sell” political appointees.

#2. “This too shall pass”/”We tried that”/passive resistance/cynicism.

#1. Ignoring/underestimating/distrusting political appointees (i.e. assuming they are all idiots).

Advice to Career Civil Servants in Dealing with Political Appointees:

“Remember that political appointees are there to support the President’s agenda. Remember that you are there both to support them and to create and preserve the human infrastructure for this administration and its successors.”

“Serve and advise to the best of your ability at all times. You are not there to be either a road block or a “yes man.” Be patient.”


There is more in the workshop — s
o you’ve got to watch it! I think this is a useful session not just for political appointees and senior civil servants but also for Foreign Service officers transitioning into their new jobs every 2-3 years. Dr. Watkins also shared a transition story involving one of the bureaus at State some years ago – includes a used car person and a colored telephone. Heh!

To see the video of the workshop, visit www.visualwebcaster.com/ninetydays. You need to supply your name, title, organization and email address (non-government email is acceptable) in order to view the video. The video runs for 1:29:00 with intros. Dr. Watkins starts at about 9 minutes into the video. A 16-page downloadable handout is also posted with the video.

Dr. Watkins also writes a blog on leadership, The Leading Edge, at the Harvard Business School Publishing. Check it out!

Insider Quote: The truth is you do less with less

Do you feel that the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) should continue to use Private Security Contractors (i.e. Blackwater, Dyncorps, Triple Canopy) to fulfill its protection responsibilities in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan?

“YES in the near term; The current state of DS, in my opinion, necessitates the use of contractors in this area. We currently do not have sufficient personnel to effectively carry out the mission. Political issues preclude our senior management from openly and honestly disclosing the true extent of our need for resources required to fulfill our mandate abroad. For years, DS has done “more with less” but the truth is you do less with less. Until there is a consensus within the branches of government that our mission must be more appropriately funded, we will have to employ private security firms to augment our personnel in critical threat locations. Even in the unlikely event that we are authorized to recruit, hire and train enough Agents to deal with our expanding duties, they will not be mission ready in the short term.”


Diplomatic Security Agent #5

―p.97

Should the U.S. Department of State Continue to Use Private Security Contractors to Protect U.S. Diplomats?
June 2008 │140 pages PDF
By Special Agent Derek Dela-Cruz
(Master of Military Art and Science, Fort Leavenworth, KS)

Legacy: The War That Paid for Itself

(CRS table, click here for larger view)

I don’t think these experts are tripping over each other now for TV appearances. But a while back they all had the idea that this war would pay for itself — and some.


But see – a
s of enactment of H.R. 2642 (the FY2008 Supplemental), the cumulative total for funds appropriated since the 9/11 attacks — to DOD, State/USAID and VA for medical costs for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and enhanced security – total $864 billion.

About 94% of the funds are for DOD, 6% for foreign aid programs and embassy operations, and less than 1% for medical care for veterans.

I’m sorry — I have to say that out loudly, I don’t think my brain is processing this quite well.


About 94% of the funds are for DOD, 6% for foreign aid programs and embassy operations, and less than 1% for medical care for veterans.

I’ve been harping about the serial underfunding of our red-headed step-child but — less than 1% spent for the medical care of our veterans? According to the DOD casualty report, there are 30,984 troops wounded in action as of January 26, 2009. How about those who eventually commit suicides (read here and here)? Or suffers from TBI or PTSD? One mathematical model found that “about 35 percent of soldiers and marines who deploy to Iraq will ultimately suffer from PTSD — about 300,000 people, with 20,000 new sufferers for each year the war lasts.” That’s all lumped under less than 1%.

If that is not absolutely obscene, I don’t know what is.

The only thing more obscene are politicians proclaiming their support for our troops — politicians who were themselves responsible for this cumulative (mis)appropriation over the last seven years.

The Congressional Research Service has an updated report on The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11. I am posting the full summary below:

With enactment of the FY2008 Supplemental and FY2009 Bridge Fund(H.R.2642/P.L. 110-252) on June 30, 2008, Congress has approved a total of about $864 billion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Afghanistan and other counter terror operations; Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), providing enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).

This $864 billion total covers all war-related appropriations from FY2001 through part of FY2009 in supplementals, regular appropriations, and continuing resolutions. Of that total, CRS estimates that Iraq will receive about $657 billion (76%), OEF about $173 billion (20%), and enhanced base security about $28 billion (3%), with about $5 billion that CRS cannot allocate (1%). About 94% of the funds are for DOD, 6% for foreign aid programs and embassy operations, and less than 1% for medical care for veterans. As of July 2008, DOD’s monthly obligations for contracts and pay averaged about $12.3 billion, including $9.9 billion for Iraq, and $2.4 billion for Afghanistan.

The recently enacted FY2008 Supplemental (H.R. 2642/P.L. 110-252) includes a total of about $160 billion for war costs for the Department of Defense (DOD) for the rest of FY2008 and part of FY2009. Funds are expected to last until June or July 2009 well into a new Administration. The Administration did not submit a request to cover all of FY2009.

While Congress provided a total of $188 billion for war costs in FY2008 — $17 billion more than the prior year — this total was a cut of about $14 billion to the Administration’s request, including both reductions in DOD’s investment accounts and substitutions of almost $6 billion in non-war funding. CRS figures exclude nonwar funding.

Congress also cut funding for foreign aid and diplomatic operations for Iraq and Afghanistan by $1.4 billion, providing a total of $4.5 billion. For FY2009, Congress provided $67 billion, close to the request. Earlier, to tide DOD over until passage of the supplemental, the House and Senate appropriations committees approved part of a DOD request to transfer funds from its regular accounts.

In an August 2008 update, the Congressional Budget Office projected that additional war costs for the next ten years from FY2009 through FY2018 could range from:

$440 billion, if troop levels fell to 30,000 by 2010 or
$865 billion, if troop levels fell to 75,000 by about 2013

Under these CBO projections, funding for Iraq, Afghanistan and the GWOT could total about $1.3 trillion or about $1.7 trillion for FY2001-FY2018. This report will be updated as warranted.

And this guy and a whole rest of them who got us into this pretty mess are off sailing into the sunset with their book deals, speaking gigs and legacy building projects. Crap! I won’t buy any of their books if you promise not to attend any of their legacy shindigs.