US Army General Describes Iraq Drawdown Progress

WASHINGTON — U.S. forces and equip­ment are expect­ed to leave Iraq by Dec. 31, Army Brig. Gen. Bradley A. Beck­er said dur­ing a Nov. 22 “DOD Live” Blog­gers Round­table.

Beck­er is the deputy com­mand­ing gen­er­al for U.S. Divi­sion Cen­ter, Bagh­dad. He is respon­si­ble for over­sight, sup­port and sus­tain­ment for U.S. forces par­tic­i­pat­ing in Oper­a­tion New Dawn.

Accord­ing to Beck­er, the draw­down of U.S. forces and equip­ment from Iraq is being accom­plished in accor­dance with agree­ments made between the Unit­ed States and Iraq.

The amount of equip­ment and prop­er­ty that had accu­mu­lat­ed on U.S. bases in Iraq over the years has been sig­nif­i­cant, Beck­er said. At the height of coali­tion oper­a­tions in 2007 and 2008, he said, there were 505 bases and 165,000 ser­vice mem­bers in Iraq.

As of this month, Beck­er said, sev­en bases remain to be trans­ferred to Iraqi author­i­ty and less than 20,000 U.S. sol­diers remain in Iraq.

Every U.S. base in Iraq that’s slat­ed for draw­down gets three envi­ron­men­tal inspec­tions, Beck­er said. This, he said, includes an ini­tial inspec­tion, a fol­low-up inspec­tion, and a final inspec­tion to ensure no waste or haz­ardous mate­ri­als are left unac­count­ed for.

Over the past eleven months, he added, 27 U.S. bases have been trans­ferred, and all of those bases have gone through an envi­ron­men­tal reme­di­a­tion process. The final sev­en bases, Beck­er said, have processed through two of the three required envi­ron­men­tal inspec­tions.

Beck­er said he’s con­fi­dent that Iraq’s secu­ri­ty forces will be up to the chal­lenge after U.S. forces depart. Iraq’s secu­ri­ty forces “have been in the lead since Oper­a­tion New Dawn … they have shown that they are capa­ble,” he said. “They did it dur­ing the elec­tions. They did it dur­ing the Arab Spring.”

Beck­er spoke of the pos­i­tive changes he has wit­nessed in Iraq.

“As I look back on the last near­ly nine years of what we’ve accom­plished,” he said, “the one thing that real­ly stands out — at least for me — is that we’ve giv­en the Iraqi peo­ple oppor­tu­ni­ties that they didn’t have in the past: the oppor­tu­ni­ty to choose their own gov­ern­ment, a devel­op­ing econ­o­my that ben­e­fits all the Iraqi peo­ple and, most impor­tant­ly, an oppor­tu­ni­ty for a bet­ter future.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)