Securing personnel, information and physical assets within the Office of Military Commissions (OMC) is critical to successful operation.
The Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) has overall responsibility for physical security of Office of Military Commissions offices in the National Capital Region (NCR). Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF GTMO) provides security for Office of Military Commissions facilities on U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.
Office of Military Commissions is required by law and regulation to protect certain information from unauthorized public disclosure, including classified national security information. In addition, the military judge of a military commission – or sometimes the Convening Authority – may issue orders protecting certain other information. The Washington Headquarters Service maintains a staff of Security Specialists in the National Capital Region and in Guantanamo Bay to meet Military Commissions requirements, and to ensure that national security information is collected, retained and stored in a manner appropriate to the level of classification of that material.
Military commissions face a unique challenge in the amount of classified national security information involved in each case. Office of Military Commissions must balance the requirement to protect such information with the need to provide public access to proceedings.
To access classified information, trial participants, including defense counsel, the prosecutors, court-reporters, the military judge, panel members (“jurors”), interpreters and other support personnel must have the appropriate security clearance AND the requisite need to know, or validated need to posses said classified information.
To enable appropriately-cleared military commission participants to access protected information, Office of Military Commissions facilities in the National Capital Region and in Guantanamo Bay contain secure spaces in which to view and store protected information. The courtrooms and offices are constructed to handle classified information. The electronic systems in the courtrooms used to present evidence must be cleared to display classified information. And, participants must have access to secure networks and communications systems to prepare their cases for trial.
Pentagon Force Protection Agency, as well as other Department of Defense agencies, has responsibility for ensuring that Office of Military Commissions personnel are protected from potential threats related to their official duties. In addition, the military judge in a military commission – or sometimes the Convening Authority – may take steps to protect the identity of certain individuals, such as some witnesses testifying in a military commission proceeding.