Revived House Subcommittee to Probe U.S. Training of Iraqi Police, Military

Posted March 6, 2007 at 6:47pm

The newly resurrected House Armed Services oversight and investigations subcommittee will complete a comprehensive report by June that looks into the Bush administration’s strategy for training Iraqi security forces, the subcommittee’s chairman, Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.), said today.

“While our intent is not to focus on past mistakes, we will not hesitate to call for accountability when warranted,” Meehan said. “We will seek to ensure that the [Bush administration] has an achievable plan and time line so that the Congress and the public can debate resource and policy issues relating to organizing, training and equipping the Iraqi security forces.”

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, joined Meehan in announcing the first oversight project for a panel that had been nonexistent for the past 12 years. Akin said the security forces are the “linchpin” for quelling the sectarian violence that has ravaged the country.

The panel will spend a majority of its time this year conducting an in-depth study of the efforts to develop Iraq’s security forces, Meehan said. He added that the subcommittee will also work to “verify” that the administration is taking the appropriate steps to ensure that the Iraqi government has the ability to sustain its forces in the future.

To begin the investigation, Meehan said the subcommittee will hold a closed-door briefing Friday to examine the Iraqi security forces’ logistics system — a piece of the equation that military experts often consider one of the difficult parts of running a force.

Later, Meehan said, the subcommittee will evaluate the training of Iraqi personnel and the contracting and interagency facets of the effort.

By June, he said, “we would be able to submit a comprehensive report to the chairman of the full committee and the full committee,” Meehan said. He added that this report could help produce legislation included in the defense authorization bill.