Skip to comments.U.S. Military Involvement in 2014 Winter Olympics Security
Posted on 02/06/2014 11:51:18 AM PST by pabianice
Whenever nations come together for any major sporting event, there is always a fear that what should be a celebration of international competition and cooperation could be marred by terrorism. The biggest of these events is, of course, the Olympics. No other event unites the worlds attention quite the same way every two years. And the fear is grounded in historical events, such as the 1972 Munich hostage and murder attack on Israeli athletes and the 1996 pipe bomb attack in Atlanta.
Heading into the 2014 winter games this month in Sochi, Russia, anxiety about the possibility of an attack is high. The games are being held in a region beset by a conflict that has lasted decades. Southern Russia has seen sectarian violence, sporadic insurgencies, and a prolonged campaign of terrorism. Recent attacks across Russia have been tied to Islamic militants, especially a group called Vilayat Dagestan, which is the group behind the deadliest of the most recent bombings. Threats also have been made to the press and directly to some athletes, although it is difficult to ascertain the validity of these threats.
The host nation of the Olympics traditionally covers all the needs in terms of security, and Russia has certainly committed its forces in big numbers. There will be more than 40,000 police, 10,000 Internal Troops of the Ministry of Interior, and a Special Forces unit undoubtedly including several hundred commandos. For added intimidation, hundreds of Cossacks are in Sochi, dressed in traditional tunics and furs and carrying swords.
The Russian effort also includes their version of the U.S. agency FEMA, using government personnel that may have been participants in the joint U.S./Russian exercises that caused concern across several news outlets last year.
Despite these measures, the U.S. is taking proactive steps to be able to respond to threats quickly. According to Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, USN:
The United States has offered its full support to the Russian government as it conducts security preparations for the Winter Olympics, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.
Air and naval assets, to include two Navy ships in the Black Sea, will be available if requested for all manner of contingencies in support of and in consultation with the Russian government.
Cooperation between U.S. and Russian military leaders has also been extensive. In a Jan. 24 briefing for the press at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel discussed actions that have taken place and the purpose of the assets moving into the theater:
We have had conversations with the Russian government on the protection of our citizens, of course, Hagel said, [and] if we need to extract our citizens, we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do that.
Hagel noted that Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had an in-depth discussion this week in Brussels about Sochi and other matters with Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, his Russian counterpart. The secretary added that he spoke recently with his Russian counterpart, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Other parts of the government are taking action as well. In January, the State Department issued a travel alert for the Russian Federation, telling Americans to be attentive regarding their personal security at all times. The State Department also advises athletes to avoid wearing team clothing whenever outside of the official Olympic venues, an advisory that has been picked up and emulated in Great Britain and other visiting nations.
Russian sources have added that the FBI has boots on the ground in Sochi and will stay until the end of the games. Private security teams have reportedly been contracted to provide additional coverage for some athletes and teams, including the U.S. ski and snowboard team. Some nations have chosen to replace members of their delegations with security assets, but most nations have expressed their trust in the Russian plan and commitment.
Vilayat Dagestan is not an idle threat. They are brutal and committed and believe they are on a righteous quest. And they are only one of several groups with the motivation and logistical means to cause chaos in and around Sochi. But the locations they have hit in the past few months were very soft targets. Sochi, at the moment, is nowhere near a soft target. Terrorists may have hit cities relatively close to the city for reasons other than just spreading fear to foreign travelers. They might be attacking the perimeter because it is too difficult to reach anywhere near the Russian line of control.
Yet, the possibility that tragedy may befall the events is high enough to justify trepidation and extreme preparative steps. From their own accounts, as confirmed by the IOC, Russia has put every resource they can into ensuring the games go off without incident. In fact, the cost of this years Olympics will end up making it the most expensive games in history. Still, some members of the international community have their doubts. But Russia and its President Vladimir Putin understand these games represent an important moment for the countrys future.
Following a successful diplomatic effort to avert an international war in Syria, Russias importance and influence grew. Putin is back at the helm with an approval rating that our most-esteemed leaders can only dream of (take that with a few grain silos of salt). The world is watching and Russias motivation to host a safe and joyous fortnight is immense.
U.S. forces will be observing it all from nearby deployed positions, ready to get our athletes, families, and fans out of harms way if called on. Lets hope they wont need to do so.
- See more at: http://www.moaablogs.org/battleofthebilge/2014/02/sochi_security/#sthash.oF0bWoEt.dpuf
Geez Louise...I hope they’re not shooting dogs.
From some of the pictures i have seen, we should have sent in the SeeBee’s
U.S. forces will be observing it all from nearby deployed positions, ready to get our athletes, families, and fans out of harms way if called on. Lets hope they won’t need to do so.
If they are needed let hope it will work better the it did for those who were murdered in syira. I have fear that if mac daddy is to make the call it will not come out well and it will be left up to the Russians to do the job that our POTUS will no do until he has a clear picture of what is really happening.
Be careful Vlad, putting so much trust in Obama’s U.S. Military to ‘protect’ your interests. The American Military in it’s present form is even less transparent than the Soviet Union’s Politiburo used to be. This is not your Deduska’s (Grandpa’s) NATO, where our word was our bond. Only after this President has gone, we will eventually return to our former status of being strong, truthful and straight forward. For the time being, let the buyer beware, before NSA gets there.
Hate to be picky but it’s SEAbees. I’m sure they could get the place up and running in no time.
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