WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) and Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) sent a letter to U.S. Army leadership today calling for the rapid public release of a study on the Army’s lessons learned from the Iraq War. Then-Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno commissioned the study in 2013. Odierno intended it to be unclassified and released quickly to ensure that the Iraq War was fresh in the minds of the military and that its lessons could be applied to future battles. Although The Wall Street Journal noted the study was completed in 2016, it has since been “stuck in internal reviews and procedural byways.”
The Speier-Gallego letter, addressed to Army Secretary Dr. Mark Espin and Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, aims to ensure that the Army study sees the light of day and is not buried in bureaucracy because someone may find it embarrassing.
“This is simply the Army being unwilling to publicly air its mistakes,” Rep. Speier said. “Our military, Congress, and the American people deserve nothing less than total transparency on the lessons the Army has identified so that we may use those lessons to avoid costly, and too often deadly, mistakes of the past.”
“It’s no secret that the Army and, frankly, our entire defense establishment, made serious mistakes and miscalculations in Iraq since 2003," Rep. Gallego said. "We must not endanger the best interests of our country or the lives of future Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines simply to protect the careers and egos of Army brass. This report should be released.”
The Wall Street Journal stated that the study concluded that the Army never provided enough troops for the multiple missions in Iraq and failed to deter Iran and Syria from operating in Iraq. The study also found that coalition warfare was “largely unsuccessful” and that the U.S.-led effort to train and equip Iraqi forces was “under resourced” for most of the war.
Reps. Speier and Gallego called for the Army to ensure a robust public debate by releasing the report as soon as possible.
A copy of the letter is attached to this release.