The redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq, a process the Department of Defense (DOD) refers to as "reposturing," will be a massive and expensive effort. As of March 2008, for example, there were about 173,000 pieces of equipment in Iraq, worth about $16.5 billion, that will need to be returned to the United States. The redeployment process following Operation Desert Storm in 1991, a much shorter war, lasted at least 14 months. DOD guidance emphasizes the importance of early planning for this redeployment process. GAO performed this work under the Comptroller General's Authority. GAO examined the (1) status of logistical planning for reposturing U.S. forces from Iraq and associated assumptions and (2) extent to which DOD established roles and responsibilities for managing and executing retrograde from Iraq. GAO also identified issues that DOD will need to consider in its reposture planning. GAO reviewed documents and interviewed officials from over 20 DOD organizations in the United States and Kuwait.
Matter for Congressional Consideration
|To enhance its ability to exercise its oversight responsibilities, Congress may wish to consider directing DOD to include in its briefings submitted in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, specific details on the status of its reposturing planning and how it intends to mitigate specific reposturing issues, including those we identified in this report, as well as other challenges the department envisions as it proceeds with its reposturing efforts.||Congress never directed DOD to include in its briefings submitted in accordance with the NDAA for FY 2008 specific details on the status of its reposturing efforts. Moreover, a review of the DOD briefings--which took the form of quarterly reports that DOD submitted to Congress entitled "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq"--show that neither the issue of reposturing in general nor the specific issues related to the reposturing effort referred to in GAO-08-930 were ever addressed. Specifically, since the issuance of GAO-08-930, DOD issued 7 subsequent "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq" reports, none of which addressed the issues we outlined.|
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To ensure that DOD can efficiently and effectively retrograde its materiel and equipment from Iraq, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with CENTCOM and the military departments, should take steps to clarify the chain of command over logistical operations in support of the retrograde effort. These steps should address not only the Army field support brigades but also the theater property and retrograde support teams.|
|Department of Defense||2. The Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the military departments, should correct the incompatibility weaknesses in the various data systems used to maintain visibility over equipment and materiel while they are in transit.|