Menendez Introduces Embassy Security and Personnel Protection Act of 2013
Menendez: “If we are serious about preventing a future Benghazi attack, we must focus on the way forward. This bill transfers lessons learned into action.”
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced today the Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty Embassy Security and Personnel Protection Act of 2013 to prevent future attacks on U.S. diplomatic posts.
“If we are serious about preventing a future Benghazi attack, we must focus on the way forward. This bill transfers lessons learned into action,” said Menendez. “We need to properly fund embassy security and construction in our most high risk, high threat areas and work together to protect those who serve this nation abroad.”
The bill will authorize funding for key items identified by the Accountability Review Board on Benghazi, including embassy security and construction; Arabic language training; and construction of a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center to consolidate and expand security training operations for State Department personnel. It provides contract authority to the State Department to allow it to award contracts on a best value basis, rather than to the lowest bidder, where conditions require enhanced levels of security. The revised contract authority is particularly important for local guard contracts where it is essential that contract personal are adequately trained to provide security at foreign posts.
The bill also requires detailed reports from the State Department on its progress toward implementing all of the recommendations made by the Accountability Review Board and requires the identification of and reporting on security at high-risk, high-threat posts.
The legislation is comprised of four titles and includes the following section highlights:
- TITLE I: FUNDING AUTHORIZATION AND TRANSFER AUTHORITY
Sec.101. Capital Security Cost Sharing Program
Summary: This section authorizes funds for the State Department share of the CSCS Program, the centerpiece of the Overseas Building Office’s Embassy construction and maintenance operations. It also expresses a sense of Congress that the CSCS Program should prioritize the construction of new facilities in high risk, high threat areas. The section requires that all USG agencies pay their share under the CSCS Program before sending personnel overseas.
Sec.102. Language Training
Summary: This section authorizes such sums as may be necessary to upgrade the foreign language capacity, with an emphasis on Arabic, of American employees of the Department of State to include employees in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
Sec.103. Foreign Affairs Security Training Center
Summary: This section authorized necessary funds for the acquisition, construction, and operation of a Foreign Affairs Security Training Center in the U.S. to unify, improve and expand security training for State Department personnel.
- TITLE II: CONTRACTING AND OTHER MATTERS
Sec. 201. Local Guard Contracts Abroad Under Diplomatic Security Program
Summary: This section would give the State Department the authority to award contracts on a best value basis (as opposed to awarding contracts to firms offering the lowest evaluated price) where conditions require enhanced levels of security or systemic problems exist that effect the security posture of the mission.
Sec. 203. Disciplinary Action Resulting From Unsatisfactory Leadership In Relation to A Security Incident
Summary: This provision authorizes disciplinary action in the case of unsatisfactory leadership by a senior official with respect to a security incident abroad.
- TITLE III: EXPANSION OF THE MARINE CORPS SECURITY GUARD DETACHMENT PROGRAM
Sec. 301. Marine Corps Security Guard Program
Summary: This section requires the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to develop and implement a plan to incorporate additional Marine Corps Security Guard personnel at U.S. embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic facilities. The section requires an annual review of the Marine Corps Security Guard Program to be submitted to Congress in the form of a report.
- TITLE IV: REPORTING ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACCOUNTABILITY REVIEW BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS
Sec. 401. Department of State Implementation of the Recommendations Provided by the Accountability Review Board Convened After the September 11-12, 2012, Attacks on United States Government Personnel in Benghazi, Libya
Summary: This section requires a report on the Department of State’s implementation of the recommendations of the Accountability Review Board.
Sec. 402. Designation and Reporting for High Risk, High Threat Posts
Summary: This section requires the State Department to make a determination about which U.S. posts overseas are high risk, high threat posts and to report the Congress on the security posture at each designated post.
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