Contact: Josh Holly 202.226.3988
Washington D.C. –Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to President Bush urging him to use the Baghdad “3-to-1 Plan” as a template to transition security operations from the American military to the Iraqi government.
Hunter’s opening statement from today’s House Armed Service Committee hearing regarding President Bush’s new strategy for victory in Iraq follows:
“Thank you to my good friend, Ike Skelton, and welcome to Secretary Gates and General Pace. Both of these gentlemen have demonstrated admirable commitment to our brave men and women in uniform, and I thank them for their service and dedication. This is, of course, Dr. Gates’ first appearance before this committee, and I look forward to continuing our dialogue on the military issues that are so important to the American people and this committee.
“Last night, the President outlined a new strategy for Iraq, a strategy which offers a bolder use of Iraqi military forces and an innovative use of American forces to stabilize and secure Baghdad. I appreciate that the Government of Iraq is deploying 9 additional Iraqi battalions into the heart of battle within that city. In fact, I recommend going further and working with the Iraqi Government to ensure that all Iraqi battalions participate, at some point, in combat tours in ‘hot-spot’ areas. As our witnesses know, I strongly believe that such redeployment will battle-harden Iraqi units. The mobilization effort would also reinforce civilian control of the military, help develop the military chain of command, and minimize any province-specific affiliations of the military forces.
“Today, I wrote a letter to the President, recognizing the positive aspects of the new strategy and, in particular, the Baghdad ‘3-to-1 Plan’ as outlined in his address to the American people last night. This ‘3-to-1 Plan’ uses a combination of three Iraqi battalions and one U.S. battalion, in a back-up and mentoring role, in each of 9 security sectors in that city. I have recommended to him that this plan serve as a blueprint for the hand-off of security responsibilities throughout Iraq.
“As I told the President, this plan leverages the Iraqi military’s unique ability to operate in an urban environment and among the Iraqi people while allowing Americans to support these operations led by Iraqis with intelligence, special operations, firepower, precision strike, and logistics capabilities.
“The Iraqis in Baghdad will gain combat experience, improve their military capabilities and increase operational confidence through combined U.S.–Iraqi operations. Shoulder-to-shoulder with the Iraqi units, U.S. battalion commanders can evaluate the maturity of the Iraqi battalions and help determine when and how the U.S. can effectively transfer security responsibilities to Iraqi military forces.
“This plan for Baghdad can and should serve as a template. The U.S. military can and should replicate this 3-to-1 model throughout Iraq so that American forces working with Iraqi soldiers outside of Baghdad can, at the end of the day, be well-positioned and confident enough in Iraqi capabilities to hand-off security responsibilities. And their Iraqi counterparts will be prepared and willing to accept those responsibilities.
“Finally, I need to point out that the Baghdad ‘3-to-1’ model does not depend upon Iraqi forces fielding the full range of military capabilities. It requires only modestly trained soldiers with the most basic weapons, communications, transportation, and medical gear. Iraqis can develop more advanced capabilities, over time and as needed, while they operate side-by-side with U.S. forces and also after U.S. forces leave.
“Implementing this new strategy for Iraq provides a significant opportunity to modify the U.S. military course throughout the entire Iraqi nation. We must ensure that the Iraqi Army is a confident, capable national force that is ready and willing to accept security responsibilities for all Iraqi people throughout their country.”