The Washington Free Beacon broke a story on August 18 detailing the Biden administration’s decision in June to cancel the Crisis Response Bureau. This agency was initiated during the Trump administration to handle the types of situations currently existing in Afghanistan following the disastrous withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country.
The State Department took down the program to oversee the evacuation and security of American citizens stationed in any overseas mission during emergencies. The Crisis Response Bureau would have functioned as a coordination clearinghouse for the State Department and military effort to evacuate civilian personnel safely.
The decision came just as the Taliban was beginning to fill the vacuum left as the U.S. military was withdrawing and leaving behind billions of dollars worth of equipment in Afghanistan.
The Washington Free Beacon reported the story based on an internal State Department memo and multiple sources with first-person information. The unclassified memo was authored by Deputy Secretary Brian McKeon and directed the discontinuation of the Crisis Response Bureau.
The news coincided with the statement of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on August 18 that the military cannot get Americans stranded in Afghanistan to the airport in Kabul to be airlifted to safety. It is unknown what capabilities the federal government might have had if the Crisis Response Bureau still existed.
It appears now that the only rationale the Biden administration had for getting rid of the Crisis Response Bureau was that it was one of multiple Trump initiatives that were scrapped after Biden assumed office.
The Crisis Response Bureau was put together by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo under President Trump. Last October, a report to Congress provided that the bureau would provide aviation, logistics, and medical support to the State Department’s installations overseas in any natural or manufactured disaster.
In his address on August 16 after returning to the White House after spending the weekend at Camp David as the Taliban marched into Kabul, Biden said that his administration had responded to every contingency, including the rapid collapse we see now.
In an exclusive statement to The National Pulse, President Donald Trump criticized the Biden administration’s decision to eliminate the Crisis Response Bureau. Trump said that his administration prioritized keeping Americans safe overseas and that Biden has left them behind. He called the cancellation disgraceful and the withdrawal perhaps the greatest embarrassment to the U.S. in its military and humanitarian history.