Between $60 million and $100 million worth of Federal assets — including a large naval ship, 56 support vehicles, truckloads of bulletproof glass, fighter jets and hundreds of Federal personnel — will soon be shipped to sub-Saharan Africa. Is a small scale military operation being planned in an area of civil unrest? Nope… President Barack Obama is taking the wife and kids on vacation.
The costly preparations for the Presidential were revealed in documents obtained by The Washington Post. The newspaper reports:
Hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of an emergency.
Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay. Fighter jets will fly in shifts, giving 24-hour coverage over the president’s airspace, so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close.
The extraordinary security provisions — which will cost the government tens of millions of dollars — are outlined in a confidential internal planning document obtained by The Washington Post. While the preparations appear to be in line with similar travels in the past, the document offers an unusual glimpse into the colossal efforts to protect the U.S. commander-in-chief on trips abroad.
While Obama’s predecessors have also taken costly family trips to the same region, the current President’s costly African adventure comes after months of his warning that across-the-board government budget cuts would cripple public services. His Administration made the decision to shut down White House tours to drive home the point.