Opening Statement of Congressman Todd Akin

May 21, 2007
Press Release

Contact: Josh Holly; 202.226.3988

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), senior Republican on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, today released the following opening statement for the subcommittee’s hearing on training Iraq Security Forces (ISF) and the use of transition teams:

“Today we continue to build the public record of our investigation of the Iraqi Security Forces.  The purpose of today’s hearing is to look at the command responsibilities of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I) and the Iraqi Assistance Group (IAG) in employing transition teams, and the role of Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) in training and equipping the ISF.  I’m particularly interested in how the Civilian Police Assistance Transition Team (CPATT) train and equip the Iraq Police Services.

“These are the organizations that own the ISF mission.  Their day to day work executes the mission of building an indigenous Iraqi force that we expect will stabilize Iraq, and will ensure that Iraq has a chance to overcome its sectarian and ethnic divisions.

“Mr. Chairman, as we complete this investigation of the ISF we need to return to the core issues of this investigation and answer some fundamental questions:

  • “First, are the Iraqi Security Forces we’ve trained ready to take the lead?  We know how many soldiers and police we have trained, but we are less clear on how they performing.  Besides making the ISF logistically independent and improving ministerial capacity, what challenges remain for the ISF that U.S. forces can help solve?
  • “On the strategic level, we need to revisit whether the ISF are really the linchpin to securing the country.  While I am convinced that having a competent Iraqi Security Force is a necessary condition for stabilizing Iraq, it certainly is not the only necessary condition.  The political dimension is absolutely vital too.  The Baghdad Security Plan may be a key metric for evaluating whether we are using the ISF in a strategically sound way, and if the ISF are performing effectively at the tactical level.

“I’m interested in our witnesses’ views on these critical questions.  Thank you to all of the witnesses for being here today.