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Afghan security bill now in hands of Senate

Defense bill goes before US Senate

Posted: October 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon’s legislative attempt to decrease the number of troop deaths from contracted security force violence in Afghanistan is before the U.S. Senate, with its language wrapped into a larger defense bill.

McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, introduced the legislation in March following persistent lobbying by Canyon Country resident Dante Acosta, father of Rudy Acosta, who was killed in March 2011 inside an American base in Afghanistan by a rogue recruit from a security firm hired to protect American soldiers.

If passed, the bill would bar the military from using private contractors or members of the Afghan Public Protection Force to provide security for U.S. troops, bases and facilities in Afghanistan.

The measure was originally presented as a stand-alone bill, HR 4117, to the House Armed Services Committee.

But McKeon, who is chairman of that committee, later elected to roll the language of the bill into the National Defense Authorization Act rather than push it forward as an individual item, according to Claude Chafin, a spokesman for the committee.

The act is still undergoing review in the Senate but was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May.

During a debate Wednesday between McKeon and his Democratic congressional challenger, Dr. Lee Rogers, Rogers criticized McKeon for not moving the bill forward.

Thursday, Rogers said he was not aware that the language of the bill had been added to the National Defense Authorization Act, but that he stands by criticism that McKeon is moving too slowly.

McKeon criticized Rogers Thursday for what he called inexperience in legislative matters and said while the bill is a legislative response to the problem, he and other members of the House Armed Services Committee are studying other ways to curb the violence against American troops by those hired to protect them.

Attempts to infiltrate hostile individuals among hired security forces to get close enough to kill American troops or officials is ongoing, he said.

The so-called “green-on-blue” attacks have escalated for two years and accounted for about 14 percent of coalition troop deaths through September this year. Reports indicate they’re most common in provinces where the Taliban is strongest.

lmoney@the-signal.com

661-287-5525

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