Wednesday, July 27, 2005

US Pentagon wants more authority to arm & equip African armies

From the transcript of yesterday's briefing with Pentagon spokesperson Larry Di Rita ...
Q. Have there been any high-value detainees in that region [Africa] within the last six months, year or so?

GEN. CONWAY: Not in the recent past.

MR. DI RITA: It's also an area more broadly that we're -- you know, the Department of Defense has not traditionally had the mission of train and equip of foreign militaries, and it's one we're working closely with the State Department and the Congress to expand our authorities in those areas. We feel it's a very important aspect of being able to enable other countries -- with pretty modest investments up front and some interaction with our forces -- to become a lot more capable quickly across a range -- a minimum range of activity. So it's an area that's very important to this department and to the government generally, and we're working closely to review authorities and see that we have the authorities that may be desirable in a very different world from the world that existed when the original authorities more restricted on our ability to do those kinds of things. (source)