Cablegate: Usaid Iraq Mission Waivers and Exceptions


DE RUEHGB #3731/01 3301752
R 251752Z NOV 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

REFS: (A) 12 FAH-6 H-114.4; (B) 12 FAH-5 H-200; (C)

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: USAID/Iraq requests waivers to
collocation and setback requirements required by the
Secure Embassy Construction and Counter-Terrorism Act
(SECCA) of 1999. Additionally, USAID/Iraq requests
exceptions to the following OSPB standards: 12 FAH-5
H-433.1-1 paragraph (c), clear zone.

A New Embassy Compound (NEC) has been completed in
Baghdad and will be fully occupied by the end of the
first quarter of FY 2009. Between the design of the
new embassy and the build-out, both Embassy and USAID
staffing have increased considerably and the need to
accommodate personnel from the Multi-National Force -
Iraq (MNF-I) has arisen. There is now insufficient
office and residential space available to accommodate
all personnel. In consultation with the Deputy Chief
of Mission and Regional Security Officer, a decision
was made to allow USAID to remain at its current
location, a separate compound approximately three
miles from the NEC. USAID personnel will relocate to
the embassy compound when sufficient COM/MNF-I
staffing decreases permit provision of both office and
residential accommodation. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Since 2004, USAID/Iraq has occupied the
current compound in the International Zone of Baghdad
under a Temporary Property Use License (TPUL) first
granted by Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) in July
2003 and subject to renewal every six months. The
current agreement was to expire in December 2008. A
Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) has been negotiated
among USAID, Department of State (DOS), and MNF-I
which replaces the TPUL and provides for USAID's use
of the current compound for a period of five years,
with continued occupancy and use subject to discussion
and recertification annually thereafter.

3. (SBU) The USAID compound currently provides
office and work space for 143 USAID employees Qd 20
life-support contractor personnel and residential
space for up to 135 people. Until recently, the USAID
compound had 31 double-occupancy trailers. These are
in the process of being replaced by more secure
housing. Seventeen trailers have been removed and the
remaining fourteen will be removed when the new
housing construction is complete. Once construction
is complete, USAID will have 73 hardened single-
occupant residences, 11 double-occupant residences and
40 duplex studio units. Currently, in addition to the
93 USAID personnel who are housed on the compound,
accommodations are provided for 10 life-support
contractor personnel, two security site leads, 6
Foreign Service National (FSN) employees of various
sections of the Embassy, plus approximately 20 TDY

4. Overall, post staffing has increased significantly
since the NEC plans were finalized and construction
begun. Requirements for provision of office space to
additional segments of the military were not
anticipated when plans were finalized and have added
to the severe space constraints which, even without
USAID personnel, require double-occupancy of cubicle
and living spaces designed for single-occupant use.

--------------------------------------------- -
Security Survey
--------------------------------------------- -

5. (SBU) The Baghdad RSO and DS/PSD/PCB desk officer
conducted an updated comprehensive security survey on
September 21, 2008 and found the current USAID
compound location meets the physical security
Qcompound location meets the physical security
standards for office and residential use with the
exception of setback and clear zone standards for
critical threat posts as follows: the USAID compound
does not meet the 100-foot critical threat setback or
clear zone standards on one side of the compound, the
southeast side of the building which abuts Chute Road
and the MNSTC-I construction compound. Note: At the
time of submission of this cable, the MNSTC-I barracks
construction project next to the USAID compound has
been terminated and USAID has requested the return of

the property which was originally part of the USAID
compound. This will mean that the USAID compound will
abut the Japanese Embassy Compound. The Japanese
Embassy will, subject to conclusion of a Memorandum of
Agreement, take control of the Chute Road. End note.

6. A comprehensive project is underway to improve the
security of all exterior walls. See paras 13 and 19a
below for blast mitigation security upgrades currently
being conducted or contracted for.

7. (SBU) In accordance with 12 FAH-6 H-114, the
following information is provided: the USAID
compound, which is an unclassified facility, is
located on the northeast portion of the International
Zone, adjacent to the Tigris River (U.S. Military Grid
Reference System: 38S MB 4489 8675.) The USAID
compound is situated on 16 acres with a perimeter wall
that varies from 11' high T-walls to 9' high Alaska
barriers. There is a main administration building
(Hammurabi), 84 residences, one security site lead
house, 14 trailers, dining hall, laundromat, two
warehouses, gym, VIP meeting room, and a computer
training facility, with additional residential units
under construction. Construction of this compound
commenced circa April 2003 and is ongoing. To the
north of the compound is the United Nations (UN)
Compound. A U.S. Military compound that is comprised
of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq
(MNSTC-I) is located west of USAID; south, there is a
Department Of State MWR facility known as "Liberty
Pool." The former U.S. Chancery is located southeast
of USAID; however, in June 2008, this property was
transferred to the Japanese Embassy and is currently
being renovated. A former section of the USAID
compound that was referred to as the GSO warehouse
area directly borders the southeast portion of the
USAID compound. This property had been acquired by
MNSTC-I which was constructing a barracks compound
that would have consisted of five structures with the
capacity to house upwards of 1,200 personnel (see
note, end para five.) Further southeast is the GoI
compound known as "Little Venice." This location is
controlled entirely by Iraqi personnel. The primary
access road for the USAID compound runs along the
western boundary and is known as "Bob Johnson Road."
This connects to a somewhat narrower road that runs
along the northern boundary between USAID and the UN
Compound. In turn, this road connects to the "River
Road" which runs along the banks of the Tigris. At
the northeast corner of the USAID compound, the River
Road is blocked by the USAID Service Compound Access
Control (CAC) and at the southeast corner, next to the
MNF-I barracks property, it is blocked by a locked
chain link gate with concertina wire atop. The River
Road continues past the MNF-I barracks and the
Japanese Embassy (where there is also a CAC) to the
area known as "Little Venice."

--------------------------------------------- ----
USAID Hammurabi Office Building
--------------------------------------------- ----

8. (SBU) This single story cast in place reinforced
concrete administration building was completed circa
May 2005 and exceeds blast requirements as set forth
by DOS/DS Foreign Affairs Handbooks 5 and 6; DS
provided the threat level (critical) and blast
standards to contractor Baker Engineering and risk
consultants who built to those standards. The
building has a working area of approximately 12,000
square feet. It was made of reinforced concrete, the
roof was constructed with a twin layer to mitigate IDF
Qroof was constructed with a twin layer to mitigate IDF
vulnerability, and there is a full Public Access
Control (PAC) with two Forced Entry/Ballistic
Resistant (FE/BR), entrance/exit, and exterior doors
leading to two additional internal ballistic resistant
doors. With the exception to an FE/BR-provided window
at the primary building entrance/exit there are no
other windows in this building. Fifteen 15 Min FE/BR
interior walls were provided at the primary egress and
60 Min interior walls were provided along the interior
safe haven room. Inside, there are approximately 114
cubicles, 22 offices and a 20 feet by 40 feet
"hardened" conference room (which serves as the safe
haven.) There are emergency exits FE/BR doors that

are alarmed, located in each corner of the building
(totaling four.) There is an emergency exit door in
the safe haven conference room. The 12-feet high
ceilings have a drop ceiling and are equipped with
fluorescent lights with metal reflectors. The
building is equipped with a fire suppression system
consisting of sprinklers and smoke detectors.

9. (SBU) Security is provided by DOS-contracted
guards. These guard positions operate 24 hours a day,
7 days a week. The guards provide security and screen
visitors/workers for proper badges. There is a guard
booth inside the building that is manned by two Triple
Canopy (TC) guards and a supervisor. There are five
closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitors in the guard
booth that control 38 cameras that are distributed
throughout the USAID compound. The CCTV room also
contains first aid supplies, emergency and
communication equipment. A complete
renovation/replacement of the CCTV system has been
planned and will be implemented starting in December
2008 with completion scheduled for February 2009.

10. (SBU) There are 84 residences on the compound.
Eleven have been divided to accommodate two
individuals. The remaining 73 units house one
individual each. Each is approximately 550 square
feet and composed of concrete, brick and steel. A
center hallway area and the bathroom provide limited
safe havening in the residences. Each residence has
seven windows that are covered with Mylar on both
sides. Each residence has a hard-line telephone
through which duck and cover and other emergency
notifications are transmitted. Each residence is
equipped with a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors.
The residences have a continuous occupancy rate of
approximately 99%.

11. (SBU) There are 14 trailers on this location.
Ten have one bedroom measuring approximately 190
square feet, and four trailers have two bedrooms
measuring approximately 280 square feet. Each trailer
is surrounded by a 4 1/2 inch high, 6-inch wide,
concrete wall to absorb shrapnel in the event of an
Indirect Fire (IDF) attack. Each trailer has two
windows that have two layers of Mylar. The trailers
have a hard-line telephone that has "Selectone"
capability. They also have a fire extinguisher and a
smoke detector. The trailers currently have an
occupancy rate of approximately 90%.

--------------------------------------------- -----
USAID Palm Tree Cafe, Gym, Laundry, and VIP Meeting
--------------------------------------------- -----

12. (SBU) The Palm Tree Cafe, laundry, and the
gym/VIP meeting room are separate buildings on the
compound. These buildings are composed of concrete.
All of the windows have a double layer of Mylar. The
gym has a speaker mounted on the wall to enhance the
"Selectone" system. All buildings have telephones
with "Selectone" capability. Each building has the
appropriate number of fire extinguishers and smoke
detectors. There are seven duck and cover bunkers
that surround the buildings or are situated in very
close proximity.

--------------------------------------------- -----
--------------------------------------------- -----

13. (SBU) The northern and western perimeters of the
USAID compound, along the Bob Johnson Road and the UN
Compound Road are both composed of a double line of
11-foot T-walls. The area between the T-walls is
backfilled with soil to the top to provide an
effective barrier between 6 and 8 feet thick. The
barrier wall is topped by multiple strands of
Qbarrier wall is topped by multiple strands of
concertina wire. All of the T-walls are linked by a
double-length 3/4 inch steel cable to provide
additional stability. This barrier system replaces a
system of single-thickness T-walls and will be
completed by the end of November 2008. Each T-wall is
11 feet high, 6 1/2 feet wide, with a base equal to
the width of the wall plus 2 1/2 feet to allow the
wall sections to stand independent of each other. The

southern perimeter is lined with a single line of T-
walls along its entire length. One approximate
hundred foot segment of this wall also a permanent
brick wall approximately ten feet tall. The USAID
compound is currently separated from the MNSTC-I
barracks property by T-walls. If this property is
returned to USAID, those T-walls will be moved to line
the perimeter along the Japanese Embassy Compound.
The northern perimeter of the compound, along the
River Road, is lined with T-walls on the river side of
the road and another line of T-walls on the compound
side of the road. The T-walls along the river are
topped with concertina wire. There are CCTVs that are
distributed all along the perimeter of the USAID
compound. As noted earlier, a project is underway to
renovate the CCTV system, which currently has 38
cameras monitored 24 hours per day, seven days per
week by security guards in the CCTV room.

14. (SBU) The vehicle and pedestrian entrance and
control points are available through two CACs. The
CACs are used to gain access to the USAID compound.
Both CACs were built to DS-approved standards.

15. (SBU) Perimeter lighting consists of halogen
sodium, 1000-watt lights. The lights are on a timer
and the majority are situated on the east side of the
compound. There are additional perimeter lights in
front of the Hammurabi Building and in the southeast
corner of the Palm Tree Cafe. Outside lighting is
supplied by halogen 400-watts (for the five large
Cummins generators), while 250-watts and e-40 radium
240-watts are used to illuminate other locations and
structures throughout the compound. Types of lighting
include fluorescent and normal 60-watt light bulbs
inside the structures. Emergency lighting and back-up
power generators are used on this compound in the
event power is lost.

--------------------------------------------- -----
--------------------------------------------- -----

16. (SBU) Communications are managed from the
communications center, which houses the Very Small
Aperture Terminal (VSAT) USAID network, voice and data
and microwave link to the palace (currently U.S.
Embassy property) and the NEC.

--------------------------------------------- -----
--------------------------------------------- -----

17. (SBU) There are five Cummins generators,
totaling 5.5 megawatts, located on the east side of
the USAID compound; they are protected by two
concrete, overhead slabs that are spaced approximately
one meter apart. Two Cummins generators, 0.85
megawatts each, are located east of the Palm Tree Cafe
and have the same overhead concrete covering as the
five larger generators. The Tata generator is located
at the base of the radio tower, south of the Hammurabi
Building. This generator has no protection.

18. (SBU) Six, 50,000-liter diesel fuel tanks
located beside and north of the five Cummins
generators provide 300,000 liters in total fuel
storage capacity. The tanks are approximately 10 feet
below the surface, in a concrete encasement, further
protected with evenly spaced, overhead concrete slabs.
Two additional 250-liter diesel fuel tanks located
adjacent to the two Cummins generators provide an
additional 5,000 liters of capacity and are protected
with the same overhead concrete protection as the rest
of the generators. The generators are tested at least

--------------------------------------------- -----
Continued Construction/Physical Security Upgrades
--------------------------------------------- -----
Q-------------------------------------------- ------

19. (SBU) The USAID compound currently does not meet
all the setback and clear zone physical security
standards. There are 14 double-occupancy trailers
which were identified by USAID as not having
sufficient blast protection. Quotations were received
for overhead cover for the existing trailer units (at

a cost of approximately $6 million USD) and for
construction of replacement housing that would meet
physical security standards (approximately $3 million
USD). These trailers will be removed as soon as
residential construction is completed, estimated now
on or before May 2009.

USAID has contracted and is proceeding with
construction of replacement housing to eliminate the
trailer accommodations. The balance of the existing
housing on the USAID compound was designed and
contracted to meet the specifications and security
requirements at the time they were built, including a
double layer roof and a secure safe-haven area (the
bathroom) area. As part of USAID's ongoing
maintenance program, each residence is being checked
by structural engineers and, funds permitting, steps
may be taken to strengthen security for the existing
units, including fortifying doors and overhead cover
(roofing.) Work on these existing housing units
should be completed before the end of FY 2009.

A. Perimeter Wall Standard: On all but the river
side area of the compound, T-walls have been or are
being doubled up and sand is being used to fill these
walls in for blast mitigation. All walls are, or will
be, cabled together with at least 3/4 inch cable. The
tops of all Alaska-type walls will be squared off
using concrete forms. Outriggers will be produced for
the tops of the perimeter wall where needed and new
double-strand concertina wire will be installed.

B. Compound Access Control Standard: Both CACs are
DS-approved and built to standard.

C. Setback Standard: Setback is met on all sides
with the exception of the area directly across from
the Multi National Security Transition Command-Iraq's
new construction zone. If this property is
incorporated into the USAID compound as anticipated,
this side will also meet setback standards.

D. Clear Zone Standard: All foliage, both inside and
outside the compound, has been trimmed back to afford
visibility. Due to the shrinking footprint of the
compound, clear zone can not be met on a number of
sides near the perimeter wall, most especially the
area along the Chute Road.

E. Parking Standard: Standard has been met.

F. Lighting Standard: Lighting has been inspected
and found to be below standards. This is being
rectified and lighting will meet or exceed standards
before the end of the second quarter of FY 2009.

G. Closed-circuit Television (CCTV): The CCTV system
has been inspected and USAID/SEC has scheduled
technicians to be assigned to upgrade and augment that
system. The system will be completely replaced and
this work will be completed on or before the end of
February 2009.

H. IDF/Blast Mitigation: Angle iron structures have
been manufactured onsite and have been placed in front
of all windows of the compound building which are all
covered by Shatter Resistant Window Film (SRWF).
These structures are stacked with sandbags and provide
a defense against shrapnel splash.

I. Mantraps: Mantraps for both CACs have been
designed and will soon be contracted for; plans for
the construction of these mantraps were furnished to

J. Pedestrian Egress: T-walls were placed in front
of the pedestrian exit/turnstile in order to shield
this area in case of IDF attacks and to prevent the
ability of civilians to look straight into the

K. Guard Towers: Five all-weather, elevated, blast-
resistant guard towers have been identified on COM
property and have been assigned to USAID. The scope
Qproperty and have been assigned to USAID. The scope
of work for moving and reinstalling the towers has
been completed and is currently being evaluated.

Subject to funds availability and RSO approval, this
work will be completed before the end of the second
quarter of FY 2009.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Setback/Access Concerns
--------------------------------------------- -----

20. (SBU) MNSTC-I: This DOD unit was building a
compound adjacent to the USAID compound. This project
has now been cancelled and construction terminated.
The Chute Road, which provides access from Bob Johnson
Road to the barracks site, will be transferred to the
Japanese Embassy to serve as the primary access route
for their embassy compound upon completion of a
Memorandum of Agreement under which the Japanese
Embassy would agree to ensure that access control for
the chute road meets DS access point security
standards. The U.S. Embassy and USAID have agreed to
provide support and assistance to the Japanese Embassy
to ensure that DS standards are met. The Chute Road
was originally a Baghdad city street, but it was
blocked when USAID occupied the compound. MNSTC-I
reopened the road in conjunction with the now-
cancelled construction project.

21. (SBU) The Japanese Embassy is next to the USAID
compound. Discussions have been held with the
Japanese Embassy regarding joint security measures and
the USAID RSO and the security contractor for the
Japanese Embassy meet regularly to coordinate security
and address mutual security concerns.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Supporting Documentation
--------------------------------------------- -----

22. (U) Additional supporting documentation with
site maps, diagrams, and digital photos will be
submitted under separate cover.

--------------------------------------------- -----
DCM and RSO Statements
--------------------------------------------- -----

23. (SBU) Deputy Chief of Mission Patricia A.
Butenis and Embassy Regional Security Officer Mark
Hipp recommend and endorse this request to waive the
collocation and setback standards. USAID, with DS/RSO
assistance and AID/SEC support, has taken all possible
steps to maximize the degree of protection afforded
the USAID compound and the RSO agrees that current and
projected security measures are appropriate and
sufficient to protect COM personnel. It is USAID's
intent, supported by the Embassy, to move to the New
Embassy Compound when office and residential space
sufficient to accommodate all USAID personnel in
Baghdad are available. USAID has submitted details
justifying this waiver deeming it to be in the best
interests of the United States Government.

24. (U) Post appreciates the continuing support of
the Department Of State Diplomatic Security Bureau and
looks forward to an expeditious resolution of this


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