by David Phinney
Friday September 25th 2020

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Private Security Protecting Army General

US Army Brigadier General Jeffrey Dorko
http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4075
Q That’s okay. Help us understand why senior U.S. military officers, such as General Dorko yesterday, are protected by private security contractors and not U.S. troops.
MR. MORRELL: My understanding of that is limited, but let me suggest this. I think this is a very limited case. I don’t think this is indicative of how general officers operate in Iraq. He, as I understand it, was from the Army Corps of Engineers and works with a group that is basically comprised of civilians. And this, I think, has to do with Iraqi reconstruction and so forth. And for that reason, I believe that there were contractors procured for his protection.
I think this gets back though, Jamie, to the overall issue of dedication of resources. We simply do not have the resources to do everything that perhaps we would like to do. And so you have to make choices about where they can best be used. And it’s our belief that our highly trained and competent U.S. military personnel are best used going after the enemy, going after al Qaeda, and that’s why certain fixed structures are protected by contractors and that certain personnel, as you mentioned with General Dorko, are protected by contractors. I also think it may be in the case of that group an effort to prevent less of a militaristic face to the endeavor, to reconstruction.
Q If you had more resources, if you had more troops, would it better if U.S. generals were protected by U.S. troops? Or is it just as good or fine for them to be protected by contractors?
MR. MORRELL: I think, by and large, U.S. generals are protected by U.S. troops.
Q Well, those who command combat forces, I take it, but —
MR. MORRELL: Well, for example, when we go to — when anybody goes to Iraq, when they go to the international zone, you’re protected — all of us there are protected by private contractors. I mean, you’ve got Triple Canopy who protects the compound there. So I think at some point or another we all benefit from the protection provided by private security contractors — you know, generals, civilians alike. Now when they leave the wire, that’s another question.
Q I guess the only thing I was getting at was whether this arrangement with private contractors in some cases is a bit of a compromise, or is it seen as essentially equally good as protection by the U.S. military?
MR. MORRELL: I don’t know if I would characterize it as equally as good; it could well be. I’m just not an authority on such matters.
What I would suggest you do, though, Jamie, is talk to specifically the Army Corps of Engineers about why it is they felt it best that General Dorko be protected by a private security contractor. I can only guess that it had to do, perhaps, with resources and it had to do, perhaps, with the image that they wanted to project to the Iraqi people in the areas they operated.

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