USA — Odierno to Use Combat Lessons to Develop Joint Doctrine

WASHINGTON, June 24, 2010 — Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s nom­i­nee for the top U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand post said today he will uti­lize the lessons he has learned dur­ing three com­bat com­mand tours in Iraq if he is con­firmed to lead the nation’s joint force provider.

Dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing at the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, Army Gen. Ray­mond T. Odier­no explained the approach he would take at the Nor­folk, Va.-based com­mand.

Odier­no, com­man­der of U.S. Forces Iraq, also has served as com­man­der Multi­na­tion­al Corps Iraq and was the com­man­der of the 4th Infantry Divi­sion dur­ing the inva­sion of Iraq in 2003.

“My first pri­or­i­ty will be to sup­port all of our com­bat­ant com­man­ders and pre­pare our U.S. joint inter­a­gency team to meet the needs of this evo­lu­tion­ary and com­plex envi­ron­ment in which we must con­tin­ue to oper­ate, and not only oper­ate, but suc­ceed,” the gen­er­al said. “I will nev­er for­get my respon­si­bil­i­ties to ensure our sol­diers, sailors, air­men and Marines, as well as our ded­i­cat­ed fam­i­lies, are pre­pared and ready to take on all of the chal­lenges ahead.”

Odier­no took time to brief the com­mit­tee on the sit­u­a­tion in Iraq, say­ing he is encour­aged by the progress there. Iraq held nation­al elec­tions in March and sat its new par­lia­ment ear­li­er this month. The process of form­ing a new gov­ern­ment pro­ceeds slow­ly, Odier­no said, but is pro­ceed­ing.

“We are work­ing close­ly with Iraqi part­ners to enable a process that yields an inclu­sive gov­ern­ing body that is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the diver­si­ty of the nation and the results of the elec­tions,” he said.

Ter­ror­ists con­tin­ue to launch spo­radic attacks in Iraq, but the over­all decline in attacks con­tin­ues. The num­ber of civil­ian casu­al­ties also con­tin­ues to decline, as well as the num­ber of high-pro­file attacks.

All of this is hap­pen­ing as the num­ber of U.S. per­son­nel in Iraq is drop­ping and the mis­sion is chang­ing. Since June 30, 2009, the Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces have assumed full respon­si­bil­i­ty for plan­ning and exe­cut­ing secu­ri­ty oper­a­tions in their coun­try.

“Work­ing close­ly with the [U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand] com­man­der, sec­re­tary of defense and the pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, we have devel­oped a roadmap for the future of Iraq and our mis­sion there,” Odier­no said.

Some 84,000 U.S. ser­vice­mem­bers are based in Iraq, down from 165,000 at the height of the surge in 2008. That num­ber will drop to 50,000 by the end of August as part of the U.S.-Iraq secu­ri­ty agree­ment. The Amer­i­can troops remain­ing will tran­si­tion to an “advise and assist” role for Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces. All U.S. troops will be out of the coun­try by the end of 2011, accord­ing to the agree­ment.

“As we tran­si­tion to a civil­ian-led pres­ence, we will con­tin­ue to con­duct part­nered coun­tert­er­ror­ism oper­a­tions and pro­vide com­bat enablers to help the Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces main­tain pres­sure on the extrem­ist net­works,” Odier­no said. “But our pri­ma­ry mis­sion will be to train, advise [and] assist the Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces to pro­tect the pop­u­la­tion against inter­nal and exter­nal threats.”

U.S. Forces Iraq will con­tin­ue to sup­port the U.S. embassy, the provin­cial recon­struc­tion teams, the Unit­ed Nations and non­govern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions ded­i­cat­ed to build­ing Iraqi gov­ern­men­tal capac­i­ty, the gen­er­al not­ed.

Odier­no praised the efforts of U.S. ser­vice­mem­bers in all phas­es of war­fare.

“In a com­plex and ever-chang­ing oper­at­ing envi­ron­ment, our ser­vice­mem­bers have dis­played unpar­al­leled adapt­abil­i­ty and inge­nu­ity to work through the tough­est issues,” the gen­er­al said.

“If con­firmed,” he con­tin­ued, “I’m com­mit­ted to apply­ing the lessons I’ve learned in almost five years as a divi­sion, corps, and force com­man­der inside of Iraq. I will ded­i­cate myself to ensure that, in my duties as the com­man­der of U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand, I plan to use that expe­ri­ence to devel­op our joint doc­trine and capa­bil­i­ties, evolve our pro­fes­sion­al mil­i­tary edu­ca­tion and sup­port our ser­vice­mem­bers cur­rent­ly deployed around the world.”

The armed ser­vices com­mit­tee must vote on the nom­i­na­tion and, if approved, the full Sen­ate must con­firm the appoint­ment. Odier­no would replace Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mat­tis at the com­mand.

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