Thursday, July 23, 2009

Protecting Civil Aviation from MANPADS Attacks: New Milestone Reached

Protecting Civil Aviation from MANPADS Attacks: New Milestone Reached
US State Dept, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman, Washington, DC, Thu, 23 Jul 2009 13:54:26 -0500

The United States in close cooperation with 29 countries has destroyed over 30,000 foreign, at-risk Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) since 2003, thus potentially preventing these weapons – commonly referred to as shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles – from falling into the hands of arms traffickers, criminals, and terrorists who could threaten civil aviation.

The threat posed by MANPADS to civil aviation is real. 40 civilian aircraft have been hit by these missiles since the 1970s. A total of 859 deaths resulted from these attacks.

The United States salutes the countries that have worked cooperatively to reduce their excess, aging stocks of MANPADS. The United States encourages all nations to voluntarily reduce the MANPADS and other conventional weapons that are not essential to their defense needs, and to reduce their old and unstable munitions.

The U.S. Department of State appreciates the assistance of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Transportation Security Administration, Organization of American States, NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Regional Center on Small Arms in Kenya, and other international organizations for their vital collaboration on MANPADS threat reduction initiatives to make the world’s skies safer for airline passengers and international aviation.

As part of the U.S. Government’s inter-agency threat reduction response to the misuse of these light, easily concealed weapons, the Transportation Security Administration has since 2003 conducted 33 “Assist Visits” to airports in 26 countries in order to help the host nations identify vulnerabilities to potential MANPADS attacks, at a cost of approximately $500,000.

Since 2001, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has invested over $113 million to help destroy 1.3 million small arms and other conventional weapons around the world, including these more than 30,000 MANPADS. In fiscal year 2009, the Bureau’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement is investing approximately $130 million to destroy MANPADS and other conventional weapons, and to conduct humanitarian mine action in a continuous effort to make the world safer.

Visit to learn more about the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement’s conventional weapons destruction and humanitarian mine action programs.

PRN: 2009/770

US Surpasses Target of 75,000 Trained Peacekeepers by 2010

U.S. Department of State Surpasses Target of 75,000 Trained Peacekeepers by 2010
US State Dept, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman, Washington, DC, Thu, 23 Jul 2009 13:55:37 -0500

The United States has surpassed its commitment, adopted at the 2004 G-8 Sea Island Summit, to train and equip 75,000 new peacekeepers to be able to participate in peacekeeping operations worldwide by 2010. As of this month, the Department of State’s Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) has succeeded in training and equipping more than 81,000 new peacekeepers, and has facilitated the deployment of nearly 50,000 peacekeepers to 20 United Nations and regional peace support operations to secure the peace and protect at-risk populations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan. Additionally, GPOI provides support to the Italian-led Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units that instructs stability/formed police unit trainers and has graduated over 2,000 trainers from 29 countries.

This commitment to enhance global peacekeeping capabilities was made in support of the G-8 Action Plan to Expand Global Capability for Peace Support Operations, which was adopted at the 2004 G-8 Sea Island Summit. The bulk of the training in support of this commitment has been conducted in Africa by GPOI’s Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) Program. Other G-8 member states are also making significant contributions to fulfilling commitments made under the G-8 Action Plan through efforts to build capacity for global peace support operations, which are often in partnership with or complementary to the United States’ projects.

GPOI represents the U.S. government’s contribution to the 2004 G-8 Action Plan to increase global capacity to meet the growing requirement and complexity of peace support operations. GPOI has provided peace support operations training and non-lethal equipment for the militaries of 56 partner countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central/South America, as well as staff training, technical assistance, equipment, and building refurbishments for two regional headquarters and 23 peace support operations training centers.

GPOI capacity building activities are implemented through partnerships between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Defense. United States combatant commands – including Africa Command, Central Command, European Command, Pacific Command, and Southern Command – play critically important implementing roles. The United States coordinates extensively with international and regional organizations, especially the United Nations, to maximize complementarities and reduce redundancies in global peace support operations capacity building efforts.

Starting in October 2009, GPOI will embark on its second phase (Fiscal Years 2010-2014) in which it will build on its success with a shift in focus from providing direct training to increasing the self-sufficiency of partner countries to conduct sustainable, indigenous peace support operations training on their own. In doing so, GPOI will help partner countries achieve full operational capability in peace support operations training and consequently develop stronger partners in the shared goal of promoting peace and stability in post-conflict societies.

Information about GPOI is available at

On Federal President's Foreign Policy

O's Foreign Failures. By Peter Brookes
New York Post, Jul 23, 2009

MOST Americans have noticed that President Obama's economic policies aren't getting the job done. Fewer, however, realize that the administration's foreign policies are flagging after just six months in the White House, too.

Yup, that's right: All that Obama hopey-changey, blame- America-first, anything-but-W stuff hasn't restored, much less advanced, America's position in the world as was promised.

In fact, quite the opposite: Weak-kneed, apologetic "Obama-plomacy" is already being exploited across the globe -- at great expense to our national security.

Start with Iran: The Obama administration has extended an unclenched fist toward the mullahs, but the theocrats have done little more than slap it away -- repeatedly.

In fact, today they have even more uranium-enriching centrifuges spinning, meaning Iran is moving closer to having the bomb. Many analysts believe the fateful moment is just around the corner.

Yet the administration wants to give Tehran more time (till the end of the year) to see the error of its ways. Sorry, Mr. President: After 20-plus years of involvement in a mostly clandestine nuclear program, that's just not likely.

This "What, me worry?" attitude is putting Israel and the Arab Middle East increasingly on edge as they await the day Iran joins the Mushroom-Cloud Club.

And where was the leader of the Free World when Iranians were demonstrating -- indeed, dying -- for liberty on Tehran's streets recently? Spending weeks dithering with talking points to ensure he didn't look like he was "intervening."

Over in Asia, North Korea has launched missiles, set off a nuke and threatened war. The regime is refusing to come back to the nuclear-negotiating table and is holding two arrested US journalists. It's also likely trying to send bad stuff to the junta in Myanmar (possibly for transshipment to Iran or another rogue regime).

While he's rightly surged US troops in Afghanistan, Obama was unable to charm the Europeans into giving more troops, despite our mutual interest in keeping the country out of terrorists' mitts.

And then there's Russia. We made unilateral concessions in a strategic-arms agreement that may undermine the strength of our conventional forces by eliminating dual-mission bombers and submarines.

Obama's hope was that in exchange for the (in principle) nuke-arms-reducing pact, we'd get the Kremlin's help stopping Tehran's nuclear program. Oops: After the summit, Moscow publicly delinked the two issues.

Nor have we reached an understanding with Russia on the missile-defense bases the Bush administration was planning to build in Eastern Europe to protect us from Iran.

Speaking of Eastern Europe: America's fawning over Russia has left these nations wondering about Obama's commitment to their security in the looming shadow of an increasingly growly Moscow bear. In an open letter to Obama last week released in a Polish newspaper, 20 former senior officials from the region expressed concern about current US policies.

In Latin America, the Obamanistas totally botched the situation in Honduras, siding with power-grabbing, deposed President Manuel Zelaya -- and thus with his ally, Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chavez.

They've also back-burnered getting Congress to ratify free-trade agreements with our best ally in Latin America, Colombia, as well as Panama -- and have gone cheap on helping Mexico fight the surging narcotraficantes just over the border.

Osama bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri and the rest of the al Qaeda gang haven't given up the ghost yet, either, despite Obama's can't-we-all-just-get-along speech in Cairo.

Sadly, there's nothing to balance out this string of losses in the wins column, sports fans. The hapless Washington Nationals have a better record.

OK, foreign policy is a tough business. But Obama overpromised on foreign affairs -- and, so far, he's underdelivered.

The president wrongly thought he could turn his perceived popularity abroad into results. Instead, like many liberals in the past, he's come face-to-face with the reality of the dog-eat-dog world of international politics, where some of the pooches are self-interested pit bulls. If current trends continue, we're going to end up on the wrong end of someone's canine teeth.

Indeed, as many have correctly said over the years, getting domestic policy wrong can cost people their jobs -- and it has. But getting foreign policy wrong can cost people their lives -- and it will.

Peter Brookes is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.