Today, the Pentagon said it just submitted to Congress a closure plan from the Obama Administration regarding the closure of the detention facility located at the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
President Barack Obama had said that it is necessary to move towards the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison as he believes that keeping it open “undermines” the country’s national security. Moreover, he says it also counteracts any of the military’s efforts in continuously combating terrorism as extremist groups have constantly used the said detention facility as a propaganda for recruiting more fighters. Not to mention, keeping Guantanamo open has proved to be too costly for military resources. Last year alone, it costs almost $450 million to keep the place open. And it will take over $200 million in additional costs just to keep Guantanamo open for less than 100 detainees.
And as the issue heads to Congress, take a look at some key facts regarding the closure plan for Guantanamo Bay.
1. There are 91 detainees remaining in Guantanamo as of today.
However, 35 of which have already been declared “eligible for transfer” to another country by the Departments of Defense, State, Justice, and Homeland Security, the Office of the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. This determination was done with counter terrorism intelligence and law enforcement in mind.
2. There are security assurances a country would have to fulfill in order to receive a detainee.
These include travel restrictions, physical and/or electronic monitoring and regular sharing of information regarding the detainee. At the same time, receiving countries would also be asked to help the detainee in “reentering society.” This can include skills training, language, training family relocation, rehabilitation program, medical support and more.
3. Detainees who are not eligible may be subject to prosecution in U.S. or another country.
The Obama Administration will reportedly work with Congress in order to establish a feasible site that would handle ongoing military commission proceedings involving the 46 ineligible detainees. Moreover, they can also face prosecution overseas.
4. The Department of Defense has identified 13 potential facilities in the U.S.
For this, cost estimates have already been put together. However, the Administration is barred from surveying the 13 sites as Congress has passed a statute that prevents them to do so.
5. There are real cost savings that can be achieved should Guantanamo Bay be closed for good.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook says recurring costs to maintain the detention facility can be $65 to $85 million more annually than at a U.S. Facility. Therefore, closing it would mean achieving $335 million in net savings at minimum, over 10 years. This amounts to $1.7 billion in net saving over the course of 20 years.
President Obama says he will zealously continue to work towards the closure of Guantanamo Bay so long as he remains in office.