Embassy security, foreign aid could be hit
Compared to other U.S. government agencies, the State Department has been relatively lucky.
Because many of its accounts are appropriated more than a year at a time, there is money in most to keep almost all employees at work and all offices and overseas posts open for the near future.
But it isn't business as usual.
Although U.S. embassies and consulates overseas remain open now, officials say an extended government shutdown will delay augmenting embassy security abroad.
Diplomatic security agents scheduled for specialized training before heading to new assignments overseas must wait because the Department of Homeland Security's Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia is closed.
More urgently, new security enhancements and upgrade projects at U.S. facilities around the world are delayed because contracts for new construction, major renovations and new leases cannot be issued.
These are the same enhancements recommended by the Accountability Review Board that followed the deadly terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
The State Department is also warning "vital missions" would be affected if the shutdown continues, including military aid for key allies in the Middle East and funding for security in some of the most volatile parts of the world.
"Every day that the government is shut down, we have to take a look at the numbers and we have to take a hard look at competing priorities and our programs around the world," Deputy State Department Spokesman Marie Harf said Wednesday. "Every day that this goes on longer, there will be things that we can't do."
Annual funding the United States provides to militaries of other countries, including Israel, will be delayed until a continuing resolution is passed to keep the government running, Harf said.
"Security assistance funding for Israel is provided early in the fiscal year and the absence of new funding could disrupt critical ongoing military assistance programs," a State Department official said. "This funding typically is provided in early-to-mid November, and thus a protracted lapse could result in a delay in Israel receiving needed funds."
With the crisis in Syria threatening to destabilize its neighbors, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon could all see a delay in military aid and funding for education and training, as would countries struggling to rebuild after the Arab Spring, like Tunisia and Yemen.
Although the Obama administration is currently reviewing its aid to Egypt, that funding would not be available for use during a protracted shutdown.
Moreover, the U.S. contribution to the peacekeeping mission in the Sinai between Egypt and Israel, where extremists linked to al Qaeda are gaining a foothold, will be delayed given the lapse in appropriated funding.
U.S. contributions to peacekeeping missions around the world would also suffer, including in Somalia, where the United States is trying to help government forces combat al-Shabaab militants, who are believed to have been behind the deadly attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi.
The United States would also have to delay its funding for partnerships to train and equip counter-terror military units in West and North Africa, where groups tied to al Qaeda are gaining influence.
As the United States prepares to withdraw all forces from Afghanistan next year, a protracted shutdown would delay training programs for Afghanistan forces, including education on human rights. Equipment and training for Pakistan's security forces to combat terrorism would also be affected.
However, the troops will be paid during the period of a shutdown.
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