REPORTING FROM LONDON –- The British government will deploy as many as 13,500 troops to help secure next year’s Olympics Games in London, augmenting a massive planned contingent of police and private security guards.
The troops are expected to help protect the competition venues and to provide backup for the Metropolitan Police Service, or Scotland Yard, for the two-week event next July. British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond on Thursday called it “the biggest security challenge this country has faced for decades.”
Hammond told the BBC that the troops “will add resilience and robustness to what will be a civilian-led operation,” adding: “It’s a significant commitment.”
The military deployment will be part of a security detail whose estimated cost has ballooned from about $440 million to nearly $863 million. The cost overruns come as Britons steel themselves for sharp cuts in other government spending.
The military deployment for the Olympics will exceed the size of Britain's contribution of forces in Afghanistan.
-- Henry Chu
Photo: London's Olympic Stadium, shown in July, under construction for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Credit: Anthony Charlton / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images