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Ending the U.S. War in Iraq

Ending the U.S. War in Iraq: The Final Transition, Operational Maneuver, and Disestablishment of United States Forces-Iraq

Richard R. Brennan
Charles P. Ries
Larry Hanauer
Ben Connable
Terrence K. Kelly
Michael J. McNerney
Stephanie Young
Jason Campbell
K. Scott McMahon
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 606
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Ending the U.S. War in Iraq
    Book Description:

    Ending the U.S. war in Iraq required redeploying 100,000 military and civilian personnel; handing off responsibility for 431 activities to the Iraqi government, U.S. embassy, USCENTCOM, or other U.S. government entities; and moving or transferring ownership of over a million pieces of property in accordance with U.S. and Iraqi laws, national policy, and DoD requirements. This book examines the planning and execution of this transition.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8050-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. iii-iv)
    James F. Jeffrey

    In March 2003, the United States and its coalition partners began Operation Iraqi Freedom. The military campaign leading to the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s military, the capture of his seat of power in Baghdad, and many other tasks associated with the invasion phase of the operation were complete by April 30; a mere six weeks after the start of the war.

    As military history demonstrates, wars rarely end as first planned, for reasons that may not have been considered when crafting war plans. For example, war changes a country’s internal political and social dynamics, affecting its internal security, economic development,...

  3. Preface
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. Figures
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. Tables
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. Executive Summary
    (pp. xxi-xlii)
  8. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xliii-xliv)
  9. Abbreviations
    (pp. xlv-lii)
  10. PART I Setting the Stage

    • CHAPTER ONE Introduction: How Wars End
      (pp. 3-20)

      In March 2003, the United States and a number of important allies invaded Iraq in what they envisioned as a war with limited objectives. On April 4, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice stated that the United States sought to

      help Iraqis build an Iraq that is whole, free and at peace with itself and with its neighbors; an Iraq that is disarmed of all WMD [weapons of mass destruction]; that no longer supports or harbors terror; that respects the rights of Iraqi people and the rule of law; and that is on the path to democracy.

      She continued to pledge...

    • CHAPTER TWO The First Six Years
      (pp. 21-64)

      Since 2003, the termtransitionhas meant different things to different stakeholders at various times. Indeed, words used publicly to describe U.S. efforts in Iraq and the nomenclature of U.S. military organizations suggest a perpetual state of transition throughout the eight years of war. For example, prewar planning anticipated a “transition to democracy” in Iraq; assessments of Iraqi capacity were done by means of “transitional readiness assessments”; military “transition teams” were embedded with Iraqi units and ministries; and the major U.S. command with responsibility for training ISF for much of the war was the “Multi-National Security Transition Command.” This chapter...

    • CHAPTER THREE Multi-National Force–Iraq Transition Planning and Execution, 2009–2010
      (pp. 65-78)

      In 2003, military activities in Iraq had begun with a relatively limited scope, including combat operations and relatively modest support for postconflict reconstruction and humanitarian activities. In time, that limited charter grew and changed to encompass a remarkable range of governance, institution building, economic development, and civil affairs activities. In compliance with the terms of the November 2008 SA, the expansive reach of U.S. military involvement in Iraq began to contract in early 2009, and the military began to develop processes and procedures for transitioning its myriad activities back to other U.S. and Iraqi institutions.

      Going forward, MNF-I would operate...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
  11. PART II Transition Management and Planning

    • CHAPTER FOUR Transition Management
      (pp. 81-96)

      In July 2010, incoming USF-I Chief of Staff MG William B. “Burke” Garrett directed the USF-I staff to initiate a detailed planning process to identify opportunities, challenges, and constraints that would affect the final phase of military operations in Iraq.¹ The strategic question planners confronted was how the United States could withdraw military forces and capabilities in a manner that would enable follow-on organizations to advance U.S. national interests, goals, and objectives. Or, perhaps more succinctly: How can the military depart a country in a way that sets the conditions necessary for other organizations to be successful?

      To understand how...

    • CHAPTER FIVE The Influence of Washington and Baghdad on the Transition
      (pp. 97-120)

      As USF-I and Embassy Baghdad were developing and executing the transition plan established by the 2010 JCP and refined in OPORD 11-01, senior government officials in Washington and Baghdad were making a range of policy decisions that affected U.S. strategy toward Iraq. This chapter will examine how civilian decisionmaking affected the transition process.

      The planning and execution of the transition were shaped by a small number of critical decisions made by the White House (under both Presidents Bush and Obama) and by the Principals and Deputies Committees of the NSC.¹ Perhaps the most crucial of these was the Bush administration’s...

  12. PART III Executing the Transition and Retrograde of Forces

    • CHAPTER SIX Enduring Security Challenges
      (pp. 123-156)

      From 2003 forward, creating and maintaining security has been a preeminent U.S. goal in Iraq and a precondition for achievement of all other U.S. objectives. The sudden removal of Saddam Hussein’s security apparatus began a chain of events that ultimately brought Iraq to the verge of uncontrolled civil war. By 2010, the level of violence had fallen to a level that the average Iraqi felt safe sending children to school, going to work, shopping, and conducting other activities associated with daily living.¹ However, this new peace was punctuated by periods of political crisis, car bombings, assassination, and other acts of...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN Enhancing the Security Sector Capacity of the Government of Iraq
      (pp. 157-202)

      CMATT, under the command of General Eaton, started the first concerted effort to rebuild the Iraqi military in 2003. During this period, DoS established separate efforts to build a new Iraqi police force through its Civilian Police Assistance Transition Team. Simultaneously, DoS established advisory missions to both MOD and MOI. As the CPA closed down in 2004, all these missions were consolidated into the newly established MNSTC-I, a subordinate command of MNF-I. The mission of MNSTC-I was to

      [a]ssist the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, and the Counter-Terrorism Bureau; generate and replenish Iraqi Security Forces (ISF); and improve...

    • CHAPTER EIGHT Enabling an Expeditionary Embassy
      (pp. 203-252)

      A large part of the transition effort in Iraq related to the establishment of OSC-I and creating within the embassy the capacity to function securely and effectively in what was in essence a war zone once U.S. military forces redeployed and USF-I was disestablished. These efforts, associated with the “Conduct Transitions” LOE of OPORD 11-01, were designed to enable what planners referred to as an “expeditionary” embassy.¹

      Even before the transition, the U.S. embassies in Baghdad and Kabul were unique among nearly 200 bilateral diplomatic posts in that they were established in the context of an ongoing conflict and, consequently,...

    • CHAPTER NINE Reposture the Force
      (pp. 253-294)

      Throughout 2011, USF-I executed OPORD 11-01 and OPORD 11-01 Change 1. The third LOE established in these OPORDs was defined as “Reposture the Force.” It would be convenient to view this LOE simply as that portion of the OPORD that postured U.S. forces so USF-I could redeploy by the end of December 2011 in accordance with the SA.¹ However, the reality is much more complex. All actions taken in the pursuit of this LOE were conducted first and foremost to accomplish the numerous missions assigned to USF-I during the last year of the operation. For example, the sequence of base...

    • [Illustrations]
      (pp. None)
  13. PART IV The Aftermath, Conclusions, and Recommendations

    • CHAPTER TEN After the Transition
      (pp. 297-322)

      On December 18, 2011, the transition was completed, and U.S. military forces had departed Iraq. As President Obama stated in his speech to soldiers at Fort Bragg just days before the last troops departed Iraq,

      One of the most extraordinary chapters in the history of the American military will come to an end. Iraq’s future will be in the hands of its people. America’s war in Iraq will be over.¹

      Vice President Biden further asserted that a new era in U.S.-Iraq ties had begun during a speech in Baghdad on December 1, 2011:

      [O]ur relationship, borne on the battlefield and...

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN Conclusions and Recommendations
      (pp. 323-344)

      At its peak in 2011, the transition that is the focus of this book involved virtually every military and civilian American stationed in Iraq along with hundreds in Washington, in Kuwait, at USCENTCOM headquarters, and elsewhere. The result—the withdrawal of U.S. forces after an eight-year presence during which both Americans and Iraqis worked diligently to place the country on a path toward stability—marked a pivotal point in U.S.-Iraqi relations. While the future of the relationship is uncertain, all U.S. officials who contributed to the successful execution of the transition and the safe departure of U.S. forces should be...


    • APPENDIX A Comments of Ambassador James Jeffrey
      (pp. 345-346)
    • APPENDIX B Joint Campaign Plan—Base Document
      (pp. 347-374)
    • APPENDIX C JCP Annex F—Transition
      (pp. 375-392)
    • APPENDIX D USF-I J4 Joint Plans Integration Center Input
      (pp. 393-404)
    • APPENDIX E USF-I J4 Department of State Transition Cell RAND History Report
      (pp. 405-414)
    • APPENDIX F Joint Logistics Operations Center Input
      (pp. 415-474)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 475-508)
  16. Index
    (pp. 509-536)