Iraq Study Group

The Iraq Study Group (ISG) also known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission was a ten-person bipartisan panel appointed on March 15, 2006, by the United States Congress, that was charged with assessing the situation in Iraq and the US-led Iraq War and making policy recommendations.[1] The panel was led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic congressman from Indiana, Lee H. Hamilton and was first proposed by Virginia Republican Representative Frank Wolf.[2][3]

The Iraq Study Group was facilitated by the United States Institute of Peace, which released the Iraq Study Group's final report on their website on December 6, 2006.[4] The report described the situation in Iraq as "grave and deteriorating" and was the culmination of interviews with 170 people, a trip to Iraq, and seven months of research and policy analysis.[5]

ISG report cover
Cover of the report


U.S. President George W. Bush with Lee Hamilton, left, and former Secretary of State James Baker in the Cabinet Room, Dec. 6. 2006
Lee H. Hamilton (left) and James Baker (right) presented the Iraq Study Group Report to George W. Bush on December 6, 2006.

The ISG was led by co-chairs James Baker, a former Secretary of State (Republican), and Lee H. Hamilton, a former U.S. Representative (Democrat).


In addition to Baker, the panel's Republican members were:


In addition to Hamilton, the panel's Democratic members were:

Former members

Two of the panel's original members (both Republicans) resigned before the group's final report was released:

  • Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, resigned on May 24. He had missed most of the group's meetings, and in his resignation letter, he cited "previous time commitments" as his reason for resigning. (During the first month of meetings of the panel, Giuliani had received $1.7 million for giving 20 speeches to various groups.[6]) When the group's report came out in December 2006, Giuliani gave a different reason—that he didn't think it was right for an active presidential candidate to take part in such an "apolitical" panel.[7] He was replaced by Edwin Meese.[8]
  • Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former Director of Central Intelligence, resigned from the panel after he was nominated for Secretary of Defense on November 8. He was replaced by Lawrence Eagleburger.[9]

Funding and support

The panel's work was facilitated by the U.S. Institute of Peace and supported by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Center for the Study of the Presidency (CSP), and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. It was expected to receive a US$1.3 million appropriation from Congress.[3]



The ISG met members of the U.S. national security team, along with President Bush, on November 13.[10] Before this announcement it was reported that Baker was in regular contact with the White House, especially with National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and President Bush.[11]


On 11 November 2006, it was announced that UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has supported President Bush in the Iraq war, was to give evidence to the ISG. A Downing Street spokesman said that Blair would give his submissions via video link on 14 November. It was believed at the time that the UK Prime Minister would outline his ideas on Iraq in a major foreign policy speech on Monday, 13 November.[12][13]

Internal arguments

According to a report in late November 2006 in Newsday, internal strife, the assassination of a cabinet minister in Lebanon, and opposition from President Bush to the group recommending negotiations with Iran and Syria was challenging the commission's intent to issue a consensus report. An Iraq expert told the newspaper that there "has been a lot of fighting" among the expert advisers to the group, mainly between conservatives and liberals.[14]


Although the final report was not released until December 6, 2006, media reports ahead of that date described some possible recommendations by the panel. Among them were the beginning of a phased withdrawal of US combat forces from Iraq and direct US dialogue with Syria and Iran over Iraq and the Middle East. The Iraq Study Group also found that the Pentagon has underreported significantly the extent of the violence in Iraq and that officials have obtained little information regarding the source of these attacks. The group further described the situation in Afghanistan as so disastrous that they may need to divert troops from Iraq in order to help stabilize the country. After these reports began surfacing, co-chair James Baker warned that the group should not be expected to produce a "magic bullet" to resolve the Iraqi conflict.[15]

According to a report in late November, the Iraq Study Group had "strongly urged" a large pull back of American troops in Iraq. The final report released on December 6, 2006 included 79 recommendations and was 160 pages in length.

By March 2007, the ISG report had been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, according to the US Institute for Peace website. The Report is readily available for direct reading. Some (of many) results include: assessing stability as 'elusive' and the situation as "deteriorating", that all of Iraq's neighbors (including Iran and Syria) must be included in an external diplomatic effort to stabilize Iraq, that worldwide commitments limit the U.S. from greatly increasing troop strength in Iraq, and that U.S attention on Iraq diverted resources from Afghanistan (an imbalance which the Report says the U.S. should restore to prevent Taliban and Al-Queada resurgence). There are many more recommendations.[16][17]

Among these, one significant recommendation was the suggestion that there should be a substantially increased transfer of power to the 'new ruling elite' in Iraq. This, according to Toby Dodge, was recommended 'in the hope that they could succeed where the US government and military ha[d] so far failed', and with the notion that it would in turn enable a more imminent withdrawal of some US forces from Iraq (as mentioned), with one effect of decreasing the number of US soldiers being killed or injured.[18]

Views about the report

At a news conference with the British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Washington on December 6, 2006 President George W. Bush commented on the Iraq Study Group's report and admitted for the first time that a "new approach" is needed in Iraq, that the situation in Iraq is "bad" and that the task ahead was "daunting".[19] President Bush said he would not accept every recommendation by the ISG panel but promised that he would take the report seriously. President Bush waited for three other studies from the Pentagon, the U.S. State Department and the National Security Council before charting the new course on Iraq.[20] On US foreign policy, President Bush warned that he would only talk to Iran if it suspended uranium enrichment and bring Syria on board if it stops funding the opposition in Lebanon, extends support to the Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and provides economic help to Iraq.[21]

Frederick Kagan, scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) along with General Jack Keane, U.S. Army (retired) introduced the idea for a troop surge in Iraq at a 14 December 2006 event at AEI and again at a 5 January 2007 event attended by Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman. The report "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq" was released at the latter conference. While the ISG report was ostensibly the driving force for a policy change in Iraq, the AEI report outlined the actual policy adopted by the Bush Administration.[22]

Antonia Juhasz noted the study's focus on Iraqi oil in the opening chapter and in Recommendation 63 and concluded that the Iraq Study Group would extend the Iraq War until American oil companies have guaranteed legal access to all of Iraq's oil fields.[23]

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called the group's conclusions "very dangerous" to Iraq's sovereignty and constitution. "As a whole, I reject this report," Talabani said.[24]

The International Crisis Group, who produced their own report on the Iraq Study Group's findings and the situation in Iraq more broadly following the ISG report, argued that the study represented a belated and necessary shift in the American political elite's thinking on US policy in Iraq. As such, they suggested it should be welcomed.[25] The report's apparent recognition of many of the failures of the US-led invasion, especially in security terms, and its recommendation of a changed approach to American foreign policy in the Middle East generally, also received support from significant sections of the academic community in the US who had increasingly grown more critical of the nature of American involvement in Iraq (albeit from varying perspectives) as the situation in the country appeared to be deteriorating further.[26]

Support from the International Crisis Group (ICG) came, in particular, for most of the Iraq Study Group's major recommendations mentioned above, and also for its further conclusions that a re-engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a 'reintegration' of former Baath Party members, and efforts to allow a more inclusive political process in Iraq, were all necessary steps towards addressing the country's - and the region's - problems. However, the praise from the ICG was qualified. Its report argued that the study failed to match its conclusions with sufficiently radical proposals for bringing about fundamental policy change. For example, the ICG criticised the Iraq Study Group for not having stressed the centrality of multi-lateralism in processes attempting to address the situation in Iraq. In terms of building regional co-operation, which it views as vital to the long-term resolution of the conflict, the ICG also advocated 'altered strategic goals' on the part of the US, 'renouncing in particular ambitions to forcibly remodel the Middle East'.[25]

See also


  1. ^ Rubin, Michael (2006-10-30). "Conclusion First, Debate Afterwards". The Weekly Standard. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved November 14, 2006.
  2. ^ Abramowitz, Michael; Ricks, Thomas E. (2006-11-12). "Panel May Have Few Good Options to Offer". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  3. ^ a b Barrett, Ted. "Congress forms panel to study Iraq war Archived November 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine",, March 15, 2006. Retrieved October 11, 2006.
  4. ^ "The Iraq Study Group". U.S. Institute of Peace. Retrieved 2007-02-03.
  5. ^ "Iraq Study Group". United States Institute of Peace. 2009-03-17. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  6. ^ Kaplan, Fred (2007-06-21). "The Man Who Knows Too Little". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  7. ^ "Giuliani quit Iraq panel for politics". Chicago Tribune. Newsday. 2007-06-20. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  8. ^ "Edwin Meese Replaces Rudolph Giuliani on Iraq Study Group". United States Institute of Peace. 2006-05-31. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  9. ^ "Former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger Replaces Robert Gates on Iraq Study Group". United States Institute of Peace. 2006-11-10. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  10. ^ Feller, Ben (2006-11-13). "Bush Meets With, Praises Iraq Panel". The New York Sun. Associated Press. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  11. ^ Sanger, David E. (2006-10-09). "G.O.P.'s Baker Hints Iraq Plan Needs Change". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  12. ^ "Blair in Iraq talks with US panel". BBC. 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  13. ^ "Blair to Give Evidence to Iraq Study Group". Fox News. Associated Press. 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  14. ^ Timothy M. Phelps, "Nothing but woes for Baker group", Newsday, November 22, 2006
  15. ^ "Baker Says No 'Magic Bullet' For Iraq Problems". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Reuters. 2006-10-18. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  16. ^ "Report 'urges Iraq policy shift' Archived November 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine", BBC News, December 6, 2006. Retrieved December 6, 2006.
  17. ^ "Report 'urges Iraq policy shift'". BBC. 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  18. ^ Dodge, Toby (2007-03-01). "The Causes of US Failure in Iraq". Survival. 49 (1): 85–106. doi:10.1080/00396330701254545. ISSN 0039-6338.
  19. ^ Reynolds, Paul (2006-12-07). "Bush ponders next Iraq move". BBC. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  20. ^ Cornwell, Rupert (2006-12-07). "Cracks appear between Bush and Blair over need for talks with Iran and". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  21. ^ President Bush vows new approach on Iraq
  22. ^ Kagan, Frederick W. (2007-01-05). "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq". AEI. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  23. ^ Juhasz, Antonia (2006-12-08). "It's still about oil in Iraq". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-05-07.
  24. ^ "Iraq president rejects Baker-Hamilton report". CNN. 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  25. ^ a b "After Baker-Hamilton: What to Do in Iraq". International Crisis Group. 2006-12-19. Archived from the original on 2016-04-23. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  26. ^ For example, see T. Dodge, 'The Causes of US Failure in Iraq', Survival (Vol. 49, no. 1, Spring 2007), pp.86/106.

External links

Declassified documents

  • Office of the Secretary of Defense FOIA Service Center, Iraq Study Group documents
A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq

A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq is a 36-page plan created by a group of United States Democratic congressional candidates, retired military officers and national security professionals that outlines policy measures (consisting of bills currently before the United States Congress) that the candidates pledged to support in the 2008 elections.

The plan's stated proposals with respect to Iraq are: drawing down U.S. military involvement in Iraq, development of a permanent nation-building capability in the Department of State, a large infusion of foreign aid into Iraq, a transfer of responsibility to the international community through dialogue, addressing refugee issues, creation of an independent war crimes commission, and funding of education to improve the status of women.

With respect to American domestic politics, the proposals are to ban Presidential signing statements, require treatment in accordance with the Geneva Conventions and habeas corpus rights for all prisoners, allow potential surveillance targets to sue the government pre-emptively for injunctive relief, prohibit rendition, increase benefits for veterans, reduce defense contracting, and address energy issues.

Alan Simpson (American politician)

Alan Kooi Simpson (born September 2, 1931) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party, who represented Wyoming in the United States Senate (1979–97). He also served as co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform with Democratic Party co-chair Erskine Bowles of North Carolina.

Born in Denver, Colorado, Simpson graduated from the University of Wyoming's law school (1958). Simpson served in the Wyoming House of Representatives (1965–77) and won election to the United States Senate (1978). His father, Milward Simpson, had served in the same seat (1962–67). Simpson served as the Senate Republican Whip (1985–95). After serving three terms in the Senate, Simpson declined to seek re-election in 1996.

Since leaving office, Simpson has practiced law and taught at different universities. He also served on the Continuity of Government Commission, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the Iraq Study Group. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him to co-chair the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which made several recommendations on ways to reduce the national debt. He has been a vocal proponent of amending the U.S. Constitution to overturn Citizens United v. FEC and allow Congress to set reasonable limits on campaign spending in U.S. Elections.

Amendment to the Constitution of Iraq

The government of Iraq has established a committee to consider a proposed amendment to the Constitution of Iraq.

Blue-ribbon panel

In the United States, a blue-ribbon panel (or blue ribbon commission) is a group of exceptional people appointed to investigate, study or analyze a given question. Blue-ribbon panels generally have a degree of independence from political influence or other authority, and such panels usually have no direct authority of their own. Their value comes from their ability to use their expertise to issue findings or recommendations which can then be used by those with decision-making power to act.

A blue-ribbon panel is often appointed by a government body or executive to report on a matter of controversy. It might be composed of independent scientific experts or academics with no direct government ties to study a particular issue or question, or it might be composed of citizens well known for their general intelligence, experience and non-partisan interests to study a matter of political reform. The "blue-ribbon" aspect comes from the presentation of the panel as the "best and brightest" for the task, and the appointment of such a panel, ad hoc, is meant to signal its perspective as outsiders of the usual process for study and decisions.

The designation "blue-ribbon" is often made by the appointing authority, and may be disputed by others who might see the panel as less independent, or as a way for an authority to dodge responsibility.

Examples of high-level so-called blue-ribbon panels in the United States would be the Warren Commission investigating the Kennedy Assassination, the 9/11 Commission investigating the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Iraq Study Group assessing the Iraq War and the Clinton Administration's White House Task Force on National Health Care Reform. In each case, the panel did not have authority to indict or legislate, and their brief was to investigate and issue a report on the facts as they found them with recommendations for changes for government policy in the future. The current Blue Ribbon Panel on "sustaining America's diverse fish & wildlife resources" emphasizes incentives of industries, businesses and landowners to aid in conservation funding to prevent species from being added to the endangered species list.The term has leaked into official usage. From January 29, 2010 to January 2012, the U.S. had a Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. There are other government and private commissions with "Blue Ribbon Commission" in their names. These and others are often referred to simply as "the Blue Ribbon Commission" or "the blue ribbon commission", creating the potential for confusion.

Daniel Serwer

Daniel Serwer is a Professor of the Practice of Conflict Management, director of the Conflict Management Program and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Serwer is also a research scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C..Serwer served as a minister-counselor with the U.S. Department of State. He was deputy chief of mission and charge' d'affaires at US Embassy Rome from 1990 to 1993 and from 1994 to 1996, special envoy and coordinator for the Bosnian Federation. During this posting, Serwer mediated between the Croats and Muslims and was the negotiator who brokered the first agreement reached at the Dayton peace talks.

Between 1998 and 2010 Serwer was a vice-president at the United States Institute of Peace, serving for all but one year of his term as vice-president for peace and stability operations at USIP. During that time he led the USIP's peace-building work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Balkans. At USIP, Serwer specialized in preventing inter-ethnic and sectarian conflict. He was also the Executive Director of the Hamilton/Baker Iraq Study Group.

Serwer is the author of Righting the Balance: How You Can Help Protect America (Potomac, 2013) and editor with David Smock of Facilitating Dialogue (USIP, 2012). He regularly blogs on foreign policy at

Edwin Meese

Edwin Meese III (born December 2, 1931) is an American attorney, law professor, author and member of the Republican Party who served in official capacities within the Ronald Reagan Gubernatorial Administration (1967–1974), the Reagan Presidential Transition Team (1980) and the Reagan White House (1981–1985), eventually rising to hold the position of the 75th Attorney General of the United States (1985–1988).

He currently holds fellowships and chairmanships with several public policy councils and think-tanks, including the Constitution Project and the Heritage Foundation. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He currently sits on the National Advisory Board of Center for Urban Renewal and Education. He is on the board of directors of The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. He has served on the board of Cornerstone closed end funds.

Frederick Kagan

Frederick W. Kagan is an American resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and a former professor of military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Iraq Study Group Report

The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward – A New Approach is the report of the Iraq Study Group, as mandated by the United States Congress. It is an assessment of the state of the war in Iraq as of December 6, 2006, when the ISG released the report to the public on the Internet and as a published book. The report was seen as crucial by Bush, who declared: "And truth of the matter is, a lot of reports in Washington are never read by anybody. To show you how important this one is, I read it, and [Tony Blair] read it."According to the Executive Summary of the report, page 16, as quoted, "The Iraqi government should accelerate assuming responsibility

for Iraqi security by increasing the number and quality of Iraqi Army brigades. While this process is under way, and to facilitate it, the United States should significantly increase the number of U.S. military personnel, including combat troops, imbedded in and supporting Iraqi Army units. As these actions proceed, U.S. combat forces could begin to move out of Iraq. ... The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating." The report recommends that the U.S. should eventually end combat operations in Iraq and help in training Iraqi troops. It does not, however, endorse a complete removal of troops from Iraq by a specific date.A Portable Document Format version of the Iraq Study Group's final official report was made available on the website of the U. S. Institute of Peace. The Iraq Study Group Report sold 35,000 copies during the week ending 10 December 2006 (its first week of release), according to Nielsen BookScan.

Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007

On January 30, 2007, then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama introduced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007 (S. 433). The plan would have stopped the 2007 U.S. Troop Surge of 21,500 in Iraq, and would also have begun a phased redeployment of troops from Iraq with the goal of removing all combat forces by March 31, 2008. The bill was referred to committee and failed to become law in the 110th Congress.

Obama announced the Iraq War De-Escalation Act after President Bush announced an increase in the number of troops fighting in Iraq, and after the State of the Union Address. Obama released a statement saying, "Our troops have performed brilliantly in Iraq, but no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else's civil war," Obama said, alluding to Michael Scott Doran's essay "Somebody Else's Civil War" published in the Foreign Affairs journal in 2002. "That's why I have introduced a plan to not only stop the escalation of this war, but begin a phased redeployment that can pressure the Iraqis to finally reach a political settlement and reduce the violence."Barack Obama was critical of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, and was an outspoken critic before the war began in 2003. The legislation proposed by Obama is similar to the plan called for in the Iraq Study Group report issued in December 2006.

Iraq War troop surge of 2007

In the context of the Iraq War, the surge refers to United States President George W. Bush's 2007 increase in the number of American troops in order to provide security to Baghdad and Al Anbar Province.The surge was developed under the working title "The New Way Forward" and was announced in January 2007 by Bush during a television speech. Bush ordered the deployment of more than 20,000 soldiers into Iraq (five additional brigades), and sent the majority of them into Baghdad. He also extended the tour of most of the Army troops in country and some of the Marines already in the Anbar Province area. The President described the overall objective as establishing a "...unified, democratic federal Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself, and is an ally in the War on Terror." The major element of the strategy was a change in focus for the US military "to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security". The President stated that the surge would then provide the time and conditions conducive to reconciliation between communities.Initiated against strong domestic opposition and after the Republican defeat in the 2006 midterm elections, the surge was considered extremely politically difficult. One White House staffer explained the political rationale succinctly: "If you're going to be a bear, be a grizzly." In retrospect, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other critics of the surge have acknowledged that it was successful.

James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy

The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, also known as the Baker Institute, is an American think tank on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. Founded in 1993, it functions as a nonpartisan center for public policy research and formerly awarded the Enron Prize for Distinguished Public Service, made possible by an endowment gift from that company. It is named for James A. Baker, III, former United States Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and White House Chief of Staff.

The institute employs scholars and researchers from a variety of backgrounds. Its current research includes centers for different areas: The Center for the Middle East, The McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, The Mexico Center, and The Center for Energy Studies. Other programs include China Studies, Drug Policy, Health Policy Forum, International Economics, Latin America Initiative, Politics and Elections, Religion and Public Policy, Space Policy, Science and Technology, and Tax and Expenditure Policy. The institute is a sponsoring organization for the Iraq Study Group. It is supported mainly by donor contributions.

James Baker

James Addison Baker III (born April 28, 1930) is an American attorney and political figure. He served as White House Chief of Staff and United States Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan, and as U.S. Secretary of State and White House Chief of Staff under President George H. W. Bush.

Born in Houston, Baker attended The Hill School and Princeton University before serving in the United States Marine Corps. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, he pursued a legal career. He became a close friend of George H. W. Bush and worked for Bush's unsuccessful 1970 campaign for the United States Senate. After the campaign, he served in various positions for President Richard Nixon. In 1975, he was appointed Undersecretary of Commerce for Gerald Ford. He served until May 1976, ran Ford's 1976 presidential campaign, and unsuccessfully sought election as the Attorney General of Texas.

Baker ran Bush's unsuccessful campaign for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination, but made a favorable impression on the Republican nominee, Ronald Reagan. Reagan appointed Baker as his White House Chief of Staff, and Baker remained in that position until 1985, when he became the Secretary of the Treasury. As Treasury Secretary, he arranged the Plaza Accord and the Baker Plan. He resigned as Treasury Secretary to manage Bush's successful 1988 campaign for president. After the election, Bush appointed Baker to the position of Secretary of State. As Secretary of State, he helped oversee U.S. foreign policy during the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Union, as well as during the Gulf War. After the Gulf War, Baker served another stint as White House Chief of Staff from 1992 to 1993.

Baker remained active in business and public affairs after Bush's defeat in the 1992 presidential election. He served as a United Nations envoy to Western Sahara and as a consultant to Enron. During the Florida recount following the 2000 Presidential election, he managed George W. Bush's legal team in the state. He served as the co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, which Congress formed to study Iraq and the Iraq War. He serves on the World Justice Project and the Climate Leadership Council. Baker is the namesake of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

Kalev Sepp

Dr. Kalev I. Sepp is Senior Lecturer in Defense Analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Until January 2009, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Capabilities.

Dr. Sepp was responsible for the United States Department of Defense global counterterrorism portfolio. This included policy oversight of all special operations worldwide, and formulation of the Department’s global counterterrorism strategy. He received his appointment in July 2007.

A former U.S. Army Special Operations officer, he earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University, and his Combat Infantryman Badge in the Salvadoran Civil War. His unit assignments included the 82d Airborne Division, the 2d Ranger Battalion, the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and the 2d Infantry Division, among others. He was also an instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He served as an analyst and strategist in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as an expert member of the Baker-Hamilton Bipartisan Commission on Iraq, a.k.a. the Iraq Study Group. For his service in Iraq and the Pentagon, he has been awarded the Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Medal, the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism, and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service.

Dr. Sepp also graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College with a Master's degree in Military Art and Science. Dr Sepp graduated from The Citadel in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts in History.

Lee H. Hamilton

Lee Herbert Hamilton (born April 20, 1931) is a former member of the United States House of Representatives and currently a member of the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council. A member of the Democratic Party, Hamilton represented the 9th congressional district of Indiana from 1965 to 1999. Following his departure from Congress he has served on a number of governmental advisory boards, most notably as the vice chairman of the 9/11 Commission.

Military transition team

A Military Transition Team, or Transition Team, is a 10–15 soldier team that trains local forces. The term has been used in the context of the "War on Terror" to design groups training in particular the Iraqi Security Forces. Afghan Army and other Afghan security forces are mentored and trained by US Embedded Training Teams (ETTs) and Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams (OMLTs) of other nations.

Richard Perle

Richard Norman Perle (born September 16, 1941) is an American statesman who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs under President Ronald Reagan. He began his political career as a senior staff member to Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson on the Senate Armed Services Committee in the 1970s. He served on the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee from 1987 to 2004 where he served as chairman from 2001 to 2003 under the Bush Administration before resigning due to conflict of interests.

He has been involved with several think-tanks throughout his career including the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) Board of Advisors, the Center for Security Policy (CSP), the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (as a resident fellow), the neoconservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Until December 2015 He was a member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group. He is also a patron of the Henry Jackson Society. Aside from these engagements, Perle is the former co-chairman and director of Hollinger, Inc., a partner of Trireme Partners, a non-executive director of Autonomy Corporation, and is on the board of the global data collection firm RIWI Corp. Perle has written extensively on a number of issues. His cited research interests including defense, national security, and the Middle East.

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction

The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) (October 2004 - October 2013) was created as the successor to the Coalition Provisional Authority Office of Inspector General (CPA-IG). SIGIR was an independent government agency created by the Congress to provide oversight of the use (or misuse) of the $52 billion U.S. reconstruction program in Iraq. Stuart W. Bowen, Jr. was appointed to the position of CPA-IG on January 20, 2004 and served until its closure in October 2013. SIGIR reported directly to Congress, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense.

SIGIR’s mission was to provide independent and objective oversight of U.S.-funded Iraq reconstruction policies, programs, and operations through comprehensive audits, inspections, and investigations. As of July 2009, SIGIR has issued 22 Quarterly Reports to Congress, 303 audits and inspections, 386 recommendations, and four Lessons Learned reports. SIGIR representatives have also testified before Congress on 27 separate occasions. Moreover, SIGIR’s investigative and oversight work has resulted in 29 criminal indictments, more than $81 million in U.S. taxpayer funds saved or recovered, and $224 million being put to better use.

In February 2009, SIGIR issued its fourth Lessons Learned report, Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience. Hard Lessons provides the first comprehensive account of the U.S. reconstruction effort in Iraq, chronicling the myriad challenges that confronted the rebuilding program, and concludes with 13 lessons drawn from the reconstruction experience.

Influence on Law and Policy. SIGIR reports have led to several important changes in U.S. reconstruction policy. These changes to the law and to key agencies’ policies and procedures have increased management efficiencies and influenced the development of more effective approaches to overseas contingency operations.

Some examples of how SIGIR’s oversight work has affected U.S. policy include: (1) the reorganization of the Department of State’s anticorruption programs in Iraq; (2) the imposition by Congress of stricter limitations on the amount of Commander's Emergency Response Program funds that can be used on any one project; (3) the establishment of improved processes for transferring U.S.-funded assets to the government of Iraq; (4) the issuance by the Office of Management and Budget of updated procurement guidance, including a number of management and operational best practices that should be considered in planning contingency operations and responding to national emergencies; and (5) the establishment by the Congress of two new special inspectors general modeled on SIGIR – SIGAR, to oversee U.S.-funded reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, and SIGTARP, to oversee the Department of Treasury’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). SIGIR has provided resources and expertise to both SIGAR and SIGTARP during their establishment and development.

Recognition. SIGIR’s work has been recognized in three awards from the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency. SIGIR’s findings and analyses have also contributed to key policy papers produced by Congressional Committees, think tanks, and policy review bodies, such as the Gansler Commission, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Iraq Study Group.

While an Army War College fellow at The Institute of World Politics, Brigadier General (Army) Brian Mennes criticized UC national security by pointing at the failures of the SIGIR in his paper "Security Reform beyond the Project on National Security Reform."

United States Institute of Peace

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is an American federal institution tasked with promoting conflict resolution and prevention worldwide. It provides research, analysis, and training to individuals in diplomacy, mediation, and other peace-building measures.

Following years of proposals for a national "peace academy", the USIP was established in 1984 by Congressional legislation signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. It is officially nonpartisan and independent, receiving funding only through congressional appropriation to prevent outside influence. The Institute is governed by a bipartisan Board of Directors with fifteen members——which must include the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the President of the National Defense University——who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The Institute's headquarters is in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., situated at the northwest corner of the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It currently employs around 300 personnel and has trained more than 65,000 professionals since its inception.

Vernon Jordan

Vernon Eulion Jordan Jr. (born August 15, 1935) is an American business executive and civil rights activist in the United States. A leading figure in the Civil Rights Movement, he was chosen by President Bill Clinton as a close adviser. Jordan has become known as an influential figure in American politics.

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