By Barbara Starr
The Pentagon has approved a Marine crisis response force for North Africa with air transport and combat capabilities, Defense Department officials said, a response to criticism the military was unable to get any forces to the scene of last September's deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
The plan for a force of 500 Marines that can arrive at a crisis point within 12 hours has been in the works for weeks.
Details are being discussed with the Italian government and others in southern Europe, officials said.
The United States hopes to quickly reach a final agreement for a base of operations, most likely in Italy. For now, the force will be based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
The unit will be equipped with rifles, mortars, and other infantry weapons, and also will have six V-22 Osprey aircraft for quick transport.
It will be able to conduct limited combat and security operations at U.S. facilities under attack as well as evacuate Americans, search for downed pilots, and offer humanitarian assistance.
Eventually, it will also conduct training with military forces in the region.
The Marine force is tailored to address what the military was not able to do in Benghazi last September 11.
Militants attacked the compound without warning, essentially in two waves about six hours apart. The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans were killed.
Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a congressional hearing in February there was not enough time given the speed of the attack and the lack of "adequate warning" for the United States to respond militarily. There might have been an opportunity to act had it been a "prolonged or continuous assault," he said.
At that same hearing, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said it would have taken up to 20 hours to mount an air attack, which may not have been effective anyway due to the type of assault that unfolded, with crews that were not alert status to begin with.
"Frankly, even if we were able to get the F-16s or the AC-130s over the target in time, the mission still depends on accurate information about what targets they're supposed to hit. And we had no forward air controllers there. We had no (inaudible) - no communications with U.S. personnel on the ground. And as a matter of fact, we had no idea where the ambassador was at that point to be able to kind of conduct any kind of attacks on the ground," Panetta said.
The Marine unit is supposed to solve that problem by putting troops directly into a specific area, officials said.
Itís difficult to find knowledgeable people about this topic, however, you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks
Iím amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thatís both educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I came across this during my search for something relating to this.
Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Many thanks for providing this information.
Best view i have ever seen !
Iím impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog thatís equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I came across this in my search for something concerning this.
Excellent blog you have here.. Itís hard to find quality writing like yours these days. I seriously appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!
You are so interesting! I do not think I've read a single thing like that before. So nice to discover somebody with a few genuine thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!
This excellent website really has all of the info I wanted concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.
Good write-up. I definitely love this site. Stick with it!
Itís hard to come by experienced people for this subject, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks
Good information. Lucky me I found your blog by chance (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!
Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thank you for providing this information.
I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!
I absolutely love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím wanting to create my own personal blog and would like to find out where you got this from or what the theme is named. Cheers!
This is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise infoÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!
Commercial Land in Qatar Vs. Residential Land in Qatar If you are considering the idea of buying land in Qatar, you are on the right path. There are numerous benefits when buying land.
apartments for rent
I visited various websites except the audio feature for audio songs existing
at this web site is actually superb.
That is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise infoÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!
There's definately a lot to find out about this subject. I really like all the points you've made.
Your style is very unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this blog.
Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article! It's the little changes that produce the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!
Saved as a favorite, I like your website!
Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It is the little changes that will make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!
Good post! We are linking to this particularly great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.
I quite like reading an article that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!
bookmarked!!, I like your site!
The next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't disappoint me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I really believed you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you can fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.
You are so cool! I don't believe I have read through a single thing like that before. So wonderful to discover somebody with original thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is something that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!
Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!
Hi there! I could have sworn Iíve been to this website before but after going through many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Anyways, Iím definitely delighted I stumbled upon it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!
You made some decent points there. I checked on the web for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.
The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't fail me just as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, however I truly thought you would probably have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.