Pentagon reports finds multiple deficiencies leading to deadly Niger ambush

WASHINGTON, The Pentagon released Thursday a summary of its investigation into the deadly military ambush in Niger last year that cited “institutional and organizational issues” including lack of training contributed to the attack. Following months of investigation into the October 2017 attack in southwest Niger by militants associated with the so-called Islamic State that killed four American Special forces soldiers and four Nigerien partners, the Pentagon released an eight-page summary report Thursday. It noted that while no single cause was to blame there were a series of failures and deficiencies that contributed to the outcome.

“This investigation identifies individual, organizational, and institutional failures and deficiencies that contributed to the tragic events of 4 October 2017,” the summary said. But it concluded that “although the report details the compounding impact of tactical and operational decisions, no single failure or deficiency was the sole reason for the events of 4 October 2017.” It noted personnel turnover of the US military unit there prevented the Special Forces team from conducting “key pre-deployment collective training as a complete team.” The report also found the team did not conduct pre-mission rehearsals or battle drills with their Nigerien partner force.

After reviewing the report, Secretary of Defense James Mattis has directed the Department to take specific actions to examine, evaluate and make recommendations to “improve operational units’ readiness and lethality,” according to Pentagon spokesperson Dana White. He directed the Army to conduct an assessment of the training Special Forces receive and provide to partner forces, and to review its pre-deployment training to ensure that units are adequately prepared for operational requirements, White noted. In a press conference earlier, Marine Corps General Thomas Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command said he takes responsibility for the incident. “I take ownership of all the events connected to the ambush of 4 October,” he said. “The responsibility is mine.” He also said a full report will be released in the future and noted changes already have been made to better prepare and protect U.S. troops across Africa.

Source: Kuwait News Agency