Given the lead time organizers have to plan security, this last minute addition of 3,500 troops raises questions, according to the Wall Street Journal:
Just two weeks before the Olympic Games begin here, the U.K. government said it is increasing the role of the military to help secure the event, a last-minute expansion that is prompting questions about how security plans are being managed.
Private security company G4S GFS.LN -2.51% PLC, which is the lead contractor responsible for securing the Olympic venues, has been struggling to vet and train enough people to make up the number of security guards. Amid concerns that the company wasn't going to be able to fulfill its contract, the government said Thursday it will supply 3,500 extra soldiers to help with the security effort, bringing the military's total involvement to 17,000 personnel including nonvenue security roles.
This is the second time over the last year that Olympic organizers have had to call on extra resources. Politicians of the opposition Labour Party -which was in power when the U.K. won the Olympic bid in 2005-said it raised concerns about the Home Office's ability to manage the security effort.
The organizer of London's Olympics, called Locog and which has responsibility for guarding the Olympic venues, already had significantly increased the number of guards it said it needed to secure the venues. Last year, it more than doubled the number of guards needed to secure the sites to 23,700 from 10,000-increasing the government budget on venue security to £553 million ($854 million), from £282 million.
The military in December stepped in to help meet that increase. Security plans for the Games have always included the military to play a supporting role in the event of a terror incident, particularly in supplying maritime and air counter-terror assets and expertise. But the British government decided to deploy military personnel as venue security guards once the scope of that work became clear. In December, the military said it would provide 7,500 personnel to help Locog make up the 23,700 security guards they needed. The 3,500 army personnel announced Thursday are in addition to those numbers.
When you add the fact that there have been 14 arrests across Great Britain for terrorism over the last two weeks, the safety of the games becomes not only a political matter, but a practical one as well. Authorities insist the arrests are not related to securtity at the games but that doesn't track, especially since 6 jihadists were arrested a mile from Olympic park.
Let's hope that Great Britain has a safe and enjoyable Olympic games. But given how fanatical the enemy is, I will be holding my breath.