WHAT’S ANOTHER $60-100 MILLION, SEQUESTER WILL COVER IT

6/18/13

Report: Obama’s Africa trip could cost $60M-$100M:
Obama’s journey to Africa this month will in no way be an exception The Washington Post estimates that Obama’s Africa trip could cost $60 million to $100 million, citing a person familiar with the details who cited previous presidential missions to Africa. A more precise estimate is impossible because details about the president’s security are classified. . “The security requirements are not White House-driven, they are Secret Service-driven.”
“Hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of an emergency. “Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay. Fighter jets will fly in shifts, giving 24-hour coverage over the president’s airspace, so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close. “The elaborate security provisions — which will cost the government tens of millions of dollars — are outlined in a confidential internal planning document, an unusual glimpse into the colossal efforts to protect the U.S. commander in chief on trips abroad.”
Any journey by the president, such as one scheduled this week for Northern Ireland and Germany, is an immense and costly logistical challenge. But the trip to Africa is complicated by a confluence of factors that could make it one of the most expensive of Obama’s tenure, according to people familiar with the planning. The first family is making back-to-back stops from June 26 to July 3 in three countries where U.S. officials are providing nearly all the resources, rather than depending heavily on local police forces, military authorities or hospitals for assistance. The president and first lady had also planned to take a Tanzanian safari as part of the trip, which would have required the president’s special counterassault team to carry sniper rifles with high-caliber rounds that could neutralize cheetahs, lions or other animals if they became a threat, however the safari had been canceled in favor of a trip to Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, where Nelson Mandela was held as a political prisoner.
Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also made trips to multiple African nations involving similarly laborious preparations.
Obama’s overseas travels come as government agencies, including the Secret Service, are wrestling with mandatory, across-the-board spending cuts. The service has had to slice $84 million from its budget this year, and this spring the agency canceled public White House tours to save $74,000 a week in overtime costs.
Clinton’s 1998 trip to six African nations cost the U.S. government at least $42.7 million. Most of that was incurred by the military, which made 98 airlift missions to transport personnel and vehicles, and set up temporary medical evacuation units in five countries. That figure did not include costs borne by the Secret Service, which were considered classified.
The Secret Service planning document, which was provided to The Post by a person who is concerned about the amount of resources necessary for the trip, does not specify costs. “The infrastructure that accompanies the president’s travels is beyond our control.” Current and former government security officials involved in presidential trips said White House staff also help determine what’s required, because they plan the visits and parameters.
Obama will hold bilateral meetings with each country’s leader and seek to forge stronger economic ties at a time when China is investing heavily in Africa. He also will highlight global health programs, including HIV/AIDS prevention. The first lady, who toured South Africa and Botswana without the president in 2011, will headline some events on her own during the week. The stops will add to the logistical challenges, because she will require her own security detail and vehicles, the planning document shows.
Obama will spend a night in Dakar, Senegal, two nights in Johannesburg, a night in Cape Town and one night in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Among the 56 vehicles for the trip are parade limousines for the president and first lady, a specialized communications vehicle for secure telephone and video connections, a truck that jams radio frequencies around the presidential motorcade, a fully loaded ambulance that can handle biological or chemical contaminants and a truck
But with quick stops in three countries, the agency will need three sets of each, because there is not enough time to transfer the equipment, according to the planning document.
One hundred agents are needed as “post-standers” — to man security checkpoints and borders around the president — in each of the first three cities he visits. Sixty-five are needed to meet up with Obama in Dar es Salaam. Before the safari in Mikumi National Park was canceled last week, an additional 35 post-standers had been slated to protect the Obamas and their two daughters there, according to the document. In addition, 80 to 100 additional agents will be flown in to work rotating shifts, with round-the-clock coverage, for Obama’s and his family’s security details, counterassault teams and logistics coordinators.
The planning document does not provide a total number of how many individual agents will be involved in the trip; some will work in more than one location.
AND SQUESTER IS OF NO CONCERN
Sources—the Washington post, daivd Jackson, carol leoning, daivd nakamura, alice crites

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