Pentagon Chief Revisits Citations Given to Troopers After Niger Ambush

WASHINGTON — The performing secretary of protection, Patrick M. Shanahan, is reviewing inside awards and punishments that got to troopers on account of final yr’s Pentagon investigation right into a lethal 2017 ambush in Niger.

Earlier suggestions for the citations by Jim Mattis, the previous protection secretary, weren’t adequate, Mr. Shanahan advised lawmakers on Tuesday.

“I convened my very own overview so I can guarantee, from high to backside, the suitable accountability,” Mr. Shanahan mentioned in testimony to the Home Armed Providers Committee.

Through the listening to, Consultant Ruben Gallego, Democrat of Arizona, needled Mr. Shanahan in regards to the ambush, which killed 4 American troopers. In a press release afterward, he referred to as it “unreasonable for a overview of the Niger ambush — a disaster now two years outdated — to nonetheless be pending, not to mention for a brand new overview to be began at this late date.”

Mr. Shanahan didn’t give a timeline for his overview, saying solely that it will finish quickly.

In Might, United States Africa Command completed an preliminary investigation into the ambush and located widespread issues throughout the army operation. That inquiry targeted totally on the actions of junior officers earlier than an hourslong gun battle towards dozens of Islamic State militants.

A separate investigation, by Particular Operations Command, has been in limbo as high-ranking Protection Division officers have been divided on its consequence. It largely sought to overtake coaching protocols but additionally designated troopers for awards for valor and for punishments.

In December, earlier than he left the Pentagon, Mr. Mattis criticized Protection Division officers for the size of the investigation and the truth that a lot of the ensuing punishments have been issued towards junior officers with comparatively little expertise.

The Military has since punished officers and enlisted troopers who have been concerned within the battle at practically each degree of command, like a captain, who was the Inexperienced Beret group chief within the ambush, and the two-star normal who oversaw all Particular Operations Forces in Africa. The punishments targeted totally on coaching failures that led as much as the assault on Oct. four, 2017.

Col. Bradley D. Moses, then the commander of the Third Particular Forces Group, is the one of many solely individuals within the Particular Operations chain of command concerned within the ambush who stays unpunished.

The Pentagon has but to ship a redacted model of the preliminary investigation to the general public and to the households of the troopers who died, as promised by Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the chief of Africa Command. The Pentagon launched a brief abstract of its investigation in Might.

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