By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
Dec. 5, 2007 - Top officials from the Defense and State departments today signed a joint memorandum that will increase coordination between American military forces, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and private security contractors in Iraq. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte signed the memorandum at the Pentagon. The document broadly defines how future use of force, movement, and reporting of incidents by security contractors in Iraq will be more closely coordinated with U.S. government entities.
"We think this is a very good and strong memorandum of agreement between our two departments and should vastly improve the coordination and control of private security contractors operating in Iraq," Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman said today.
With regard to legal accountability of private contractors, Whitman said, the memo reaffirms the departments' commitment to work with Congress toward legislation that will "facilitate legal accountability" under U.S. law.
Whitman said many of the provisions outlined in the memorandum already are in practice, but they will be further "operationalized" by officials at Multinational Force Iraq.