The Department of Defense submitted to Congress Tuesday a plan for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.
President Barack Obama spoke from the White House explaining the outline of his administration’s proposal to close the facility that now houses terrorist detainees.
Here are the “four tenets” of the plan as laid out by the Department of Defense:
1. Transfer 35 detainees to foreign countries who have already been designated for transfer by the president’s National Security team
2. Do periodic reviews of remaining detainees to see if their detention is still necessary
3. Continue to use legal means to update the status of remaining detainees
4. Work with Congress to establish a location in the United States in which to hold the detainees who are not transferred to foreign countires.
Some other things to know about Guantanamo Bay detention camp and the plan to close it:
- There are currently 91 detainees at Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The Pentagon has proposed transferring 35 of those detainees to their home countries.
- Between 30 and 60 detainees would be transferred to facilities on U.S. soil.
- President Obama has suggested the facility be closed since he first took office. Congress has been opposed to closing the facility.
- The detention csamp costs $445 million to run annually.
- According to the DoD statement, recurring costs of running the facility would be between $65 million and $85 million a year higher than the cost of keeping the detainees at a U.S. facility. Closing Guantanamo could generate at least $335 million in net savings over 10 years and up to $1.7 billion in net savings over 20 years, according to the DoD.
- The plan does not endorse a specific U.S. facility to house Guantanamo detainees. However, U.S. officials say 13 different locations, including prison facilities in Colorado, South Carolina and Kansas, have been considered. Six other locations on current military bases are also being considered.
- Thomson Correctional Center, in Thomson, Ill., was ordered by the president to be prepared to accept transferred Guantanamo prisoners in 2009.
- The detention facility, which is on the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, was opened in January 2002. According to then Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld the prison camp was established “to detain extraordinarily dangerous people, to interrogate detainees in an optimal setting, and to prosecute detainees for war crimes.”
- President Obama first suggested the camp be closed in January 2009.
- On May 20, 2009, the United States Senate passed, by a 90-6 vote, an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act that would block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the detention camp.
“This is about closing a chapter in our history," Obama said Tuesday. "It reflects the lessons we've learned since 9/11 - lessons that must guide our nation going forward."
"When I first ran for president, it was widely recognized the facility needed to close," Obama said. "Suddenly, many of those who said it needed to close backed off because they were worried about the politics," he said.
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