Pentagon Plans $40M Upgrade at Guantanamo

Thursday, 05 Jul 2012 12:01 PM

By Patrick Hobin

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The Pentagon plans to install a $40 million underwater fiberoptic cable from America’s Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to South Florida, the Miami Herald reported.

The project, which will require congressional approval, is a clear sign that the United States will continue to detain prisoners and keep the 45-square-mile base operable for the long term, the Herald reported. The outgoing commander of the base, Navy Capt. Kirk Hibbert, told the Herald: "It only makes sense to do if we're going to be here for any period of time.”

Project construction will begin in more than a year and will be the largest known infrastructure improvement for the base by the Pentagon, according to the Herald.

Communications at the site are challenged by interference of satellite access during bad weather and planners studied the best way to address it and decided that an underwater cable was the best way to ensure data delivery, the Herald reported.

The U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay has a population of about 6,000, a seaport, airport and the detention center that houses 169 foreign men as captives, with 1,700 troops and contractors on temporary assignment to imprison them, according to the Herald. It’s also the site of the military trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. The Pentagon also uses the base as a contingency site for humanitarian relief operations.

President Barack Obama pledged to shut down the detention facility in the first year of his presidency and transfer its inmates to prisons in the United States, saying that it has helped drive recruitment for anti-American groups and that allegations of mistreatment of prisoners have hurt America's reputation.


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