Washington D.C. —Today, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee (O&I) of the House Armed Services Committee held its latest hearing on the development of the Iraqi Security Forces.  Today’s focus was on command relationships and the role and use of transition teams.  Chairman Martin Meehan (MA) released the following statement:   

“Our work with respect to the Iraqi Security Forces has made it clear that command relationships and responsibilities are critical to this effort, but highly complex.  At today’s hearing, we sought to scrutinize these layers of command authority in order to better understand how DOD’s oversight of this effort has been conducted. We also endeavored to find out how unit-level readiness assessments generated by Transition Teams are passed up and used through the chain-of-command. 

“Our intent is to determine whether the structures in place are effective for conveying guidance to our troops engaged in this effort, and whether the feedback provided by our transition teams is then used effectively to inform future requirements and actions.

“This Subcommittee has experienced considerable difficulties in getting documents and informed answers from the Department of Defense.  Today’s hearing was informative in many ways, and we greatly appreciate the participation of our witnesses, but they were not the witnesses we originally requested.  The refusal of the Department of Defense to grant our requests for witnesses with direct knowledge in this area has been beyond disappointing.  And our inability to get timely and thorough answers to our questions for the record from previous hearings and briefings has also had a detrimental effect on our work.

“We will reconvene on Thursday for a hearing to address the Iraqi Police Services.  I truly hope the Department will provide the witnesses we request or viable alternatives, so that this committee can continue to exercise its Congressional prerogative to conduct independent oversight, free from the Department’s constraints.”