September 1, 2010
In taking the lead in Iraq, the State Department plans to double the number of private security contractors it employs to about 7,000 by the end of 2011. It has also asked the Pentagon to leave behind some of its equipment to ensure employee safety. The US embassy in Baghdad is the largest American diplomatic facility in the world, employing 835 people including local staff. An additional 250 work in 16 provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) around the country.. By October of next year, the State Department will assume responsibility for the crucial tasks of training the Iraqi police; about 2,400 civilians at the Baghdad embassy and other diplomatic sites will be tasked with carrying out the more than 1,200 specific tasks the American military has identified to be handed over to them, transferred to the Iraqis or phased out. The plan to transition to civilian-led operations in Iraq powerfully demonstrates the essential role civilians play in U.S. foreign policy, a role that must be supported with sufficient resources to be effective.