Status of Forces Agreement = Security Pact

  Go Lean Commentary

The following is typical of the kind of news headlines in the last few weeks:

Crisis In Iraq Escalates As Militants Seize Major Cities

Iraq again! Didn’t we just go through this in the last decade? Did we not settle this a few years ago, and now we’re here again? Deja Vu all over again. Not a repeat of the Iraqi drama, but rather a repeat of modern history in total. In a recent blog submission, the commentary ( cited the lessons learned from World War I; or better stated, the lack of learned-lessons, as the result was World War II. An actual news article on Iraq that parallels this lesson, is excerpted as follows:

By: Olivia Marshall

Media [outlets] have claimed that the current violence in Iraq is the result of the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq and President Obama’s willful failure to secure a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. In reality, Iraq refused the terms of a SOFA with the U.S. despite Obama’s efforts to maintain a military presence there.

Time Magazine: Iraq’s Second Largest City Falls To Militants – Time reported on June 10 that Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, fell to the Sunni militant group Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS):

The fall of Iraq’s second largest city to Islamist extremists Tuesday sends an alarming message about the deterioration of a country where the U.S. spent eight years, 4,500 lives and $1.7 trillion. Mosul, a city of 1.8 million located in the far north of the country, long cultivated a reputation as a military town. But Iraqi soldiers threw down their guns and stripped off their uniforms as the insurgents approached on Tuesday, according to officials stunned by the collapse of its defenses.
Media Matters (Posted June 16, 2014; retrieved 06/29/2014) –

Iraq Surge - 2007Iraq Draw Down - 2011

The overriding theme of the foregoing news article is the Status of Forces Agreement [a]. Under international law, in order for a military presence to not be viewed as an occupation or ‘act of war”, there must be a SOFA of mutual consent between both the host and occupying powers. This lack of a SOFA is why the US is drawn back into Iraq.

This American experience is relevant for the Caribbean to consider; not only for the fact that two Caribbean member-states, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, had committed human capital to that Iraq War effort, and have thusly sacrificed “blood, sweat and tears” there, but also because there is a parallel need for a SOFA in the Caribbean region.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits that the region must prepare its own security apparatus for its own security needs. So the request is that all Caribbean member-states welcome a visiting security force to execute a limited scope on their sovereign territories. That visiting force: themselves!

Yes, the goal is to confederate under a unified entity made up of the Caribbean to provide homeland security to the Caribbean. But Homeland Security for the Caribbean has a different meaning than for our American counterparts. Though we must be on defense against military intrusions like terrorism & piracy, we mostly have to contend with threats that may imperil the region’s economic engines, like tourism. This includes natural and man-made concerns like hurricanes, earthquakes, oil/chemical spills, pandemic, enterprise corruption and narco-terrorism. The CU security goal is for public safety! This goal is detailed in the book as it serves as a roadmap for the introduction of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). So while the CU is set to optimize Caribbean society through economic empowerment, the truth of the matter is that the security dynamics of the region are inextricably linked to this same endeavor. Therefore the Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The book contends that bad actors will emerge just as a result of economic successes in the region. This point is pronounced early in the book with the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12) that claims:

x.   Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

The Caribbean appointing “new guards”, or a security pact to ensure public safety is not so new an endeavor. There are prior instances of this type of engagement in the region. There is currently a security pact; shared by 5 Eastern Caribbean member-states that was first consummated in 1982 – this was discussed in full depth in a previous commentary regarding the Regional Security System ( The Go Lean roadmap however calls for a permanent professional force with naval and ground (Marine) forces, plus an Intelligence agency. This security pact would be sanctioned by all 30 CU member-states, not just the current 5; (there is even a plan for the eventual inclusion of Cuba). The CU Trade Federation will lead, fund and facilitate the security force, encapsulating (full-time or part-time) all the existing armed forces in the region. This CU Homeland Security Force would get its legal authorization from a Status of Forces Agreement signed with the CU treaty enhancements.

This SOFA is “Step One, Day One” in the Go Lean roadmap, covering the approach for adequate funding, accountability and control. In step with the foregoing news article, there is the absolute need for the CU SOFA to be ratified as soon as possible.

The Go Lean book details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to provide increased public safety & security in the Caribbean region:

Economic Principle – Consequences of Choices Lie in Future Page 21
Community Ethos – Privacy –vs- Public Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Tactical – Confederating a non-sovereign union Page 63
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Homeland Security Page 75
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Start-up Foreign Policy Initiatives Page 102
Implementation – Start-up Security Initiatives Page 103
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices Page 134
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways   to Impact Justice Page 177
Advocacy – Ways   to Reduce Crime Page 178
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Mitigate Terrorism Page 181
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering/Analysis Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights Page 220
Advocacy – Ways to Re-boot Cuba Page 236

Other subjects related to security and governing empowerments for the region have been blogged in other Go Lean…Caribbean commentary, as sampled here: A Lesson in History: 100   Years Ago – World War I Trinidad Muslims travel to   Venezuela for jihadist training NSA records all phone   calls in Bahamas, according to Snowden America’s War on the Caribbean Book Review:   ‘The Divide’ – … Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap Remembering and learning   from Boston Jamaica to receive World Bank funds to help in crime fight US slams Caribbean human   rights practices 6.5M Earthquake Shakes   Eastern Caribbean

Underlying to the prime directive of elevating the economics, security and governing engines of the Caribbean, is the desire to make the Caribbean homeland, a better place to live, work and play. We do not want a few “bad actors” disrupting the peace of all Caribbean residents (42 million people), or the 10 million Diaspora as they frequent their tropical homeland or even the 80 million tourists that visit the region annually. The Go Lean roadmap states it most succinctly with the quotation: “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” (Page 37).

All of the Caribbean are hereby urged to lean-in to this roadmap.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix: a – Status of Forces Agreement

A Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) is an agreement between a host country and a foreign nation stationing military forces in that country. SOFAs are often included, along with other types of military agreements, as part of a comprehensive security arrangement. A SOFA does not constitute a security arrangement; it establishes the rights and privileges of foreign personnel present in a host country in support of the larger security arrangement. [1] Under international law a status of forces agreement differs from military occupation.


SOFA - Photo 1While the United States military has the largest foreign presence and therefore accounts for most SOFAs, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Korea, and many other nations also station military forces abroad and negotiate SOFAs with their host countries. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is a SOFA. In the past, the Soviet Union had SOFAs with most of its satellite states (See Go Lean…Caribbean Page 139). While most of the United States’ SOFAs are public, some remain classified. [2]

Terms of operation – The SOFA is intended to clarify the terms under which the foreign military is allowed to operate. Typically, purely military operational issues such as the locations of bases and access to facilities are covered by separate agreements. The SOFA is more concerned with the legal issues associated with military individuals and property. This may include issues like entry and exit into the country, tax liabilities, postal services, or employment terms for host-country nationals, but the most contentious issues are civil and criminal jurisdiction over bases and personnel. For civil matters, SOFAs provide for how civil damages caused by the forces will be determined and paid. Criminal issues vary, but the typical provision in U.S. SOFAs is that U.S. courts will have jurisdiction over crimes committed either by a service-member against another service-member or by a service-member as part of his or her military duty, but the host nation retains jurisdiction over other crimes.[3]

Host nation concerns – In many host nations, especially those with a large foreign presence such as South Korea and Japan, the SOFA can become a major political issue following crimes allegedly committed by service-members. This is especially true when the incidents involve crimes such as robbery, murder, manslaughter or sex crimes, especially when the charge is defined differently in the two nations. For example, in 2002 in South Korea, a U.S. military AVLB bridge-laying vehicle on the way to the base camp after a training exercise accidentally killed two girls. Under the SOFA, A U.S. military court martial panel tried the soldiers involved, The panel found the act to be an accident and acquitted the service members of negligent homicide, citing no criminal intent or negligence. The U.S. military accepted responsibility for the incident and paid civil damages. This resulted in widespread outrage in South Korea, demands that the soldiers be retried in a South Korean court, the airing of a wide variety of conspiracy theories, and a backlash against the local expatriate community.[4] As of 2011 American military authorities are allowing South Korea to charge and prosecute American soldiers in South Korean courts.[5][6]

(Retrieved 06/29/2014 from:

 Sources References:

1.  R. Chuck Mason (March 15, 2012). “Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA): What Is It, and How Might One Be Utilized In Iraq?” Congressional Research Service. Retrieved from:

2.  Bruno, Greg (October 2, 2008), U.S. Security Agreements and Iraq, Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved from:

3.  Pike, John (2005). “Status of Forces Agreement”., 2005. Retrieved from:

4. (2002). News articles on South Korean teenagers run over US military vehicle. Posted 22 August 2008; retrieved from

5.  Stars and Stripes Newspaper (2011). “US soldier confesses during trial to rape of South Korean girl”. Retrieved

6.  Stars and Stripes Newspaper (2012). “Korea-based US soldier get 3 years in prison for rape conviction”. Posted 12 February 2012; retrieved from:


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