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the mandate to make a comprehensive examination of our detainee operations in Iraq in order to detect any systemic problems, and, if problems were identified, to take necessary steps to rectify the situation and hold accountable all those responsible who failed in their duties. That investigation is near completion, and we have already made significant progress in implementing its recommendations, but we have more ahead of us.
Information flow up and down the chain of command was timely, and will continue to be. Commanders regularly brief their superiors as these investigations progress. The first public release of information on the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) investigation happened in January, and was reported by the media. The interim results of the Taguba Report were briefed to me in late March as the investigation made its way through command channels en route to approval by the Coalition Force Land Component Commander on April 6, and formal adverse administrative action by the CJTF on May 1. The investigation is ongoing.
Some have asked why it took so long for the allegations to make it up the chain of command. One needs to look at this as a legal proceeding. Once the allegations were made, the investigation was initiated immediately. Evidence was gathered, people were questioned, and a number were removed from their posts. As with any prosecution, materials and evidence were kept within the investigatory chain, for obvious reasons: to maintain confidentiality, to protect individual rights, and to allow the investigation to proceed without danger of exposure to those being investigated.
The actions of the chain of command in Iraq in conducting the investigations connected with detainee abuse or mistreatment have been swift, circumspect, and proper. They have carefully uncovered facts, analyzed evidence, and gauged the context of the situation, all the while under the stress of ongoing combat operations, and ever mindful of protecting the rights of the accused. Commanders are taking action both to ensure justice is done and to ensure that this kind of deplorable conduct is never repeated.
With regards to the question of whether this abuse is systemic, the investigations underway should better inform us on that. At this point, we don't know, and that's part of what we're trying to determine by conducting investigations. When we have answers, we will
provide them. The Taguba Report, in fact, highlights three units for praise for their performance of military detention duties. That is a hopeful sign that these abuses are not widespread, and I don't believe they are.
The vast majority of coalition and U.S. forces have shown great humanity and restraint in this, and have acted with courage and compassion. The situation at Abu Ghraib is not representative of the conduct of U.S. and coalition forces. It is a distasteful and criminal aberration, and will absolutely not be tolerated. We deeply regret that these egregious actions occurred, and we are taking the necessary steps to preclude similar incidents in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Brownlee, we need to move on, but we certainly recogMr. BROWNLEE. Okay, sir. I'll go fast, sir.
Chairman WARNER. Thank you. STATEMENT OF HON. LES BROWNLEE, ACTING SECRETARY OF
THE ARMY Mr. BROWNLEE. Chairman Warner, Senator Levin, and distinguished members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to offer testimony on actions taken by the Army in response to the appalling abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. I join the Secretary of Defense in apologizing to those detainees who were abused there.
Let me begin by outlining the range of investigations into detainee abuse. From December 2002 to present, the CID has conducted, or is continuing to conduct, investigations into 35 cases of abuse or death of detainees held in detention facilities in the CENTCOM theater. Twenty-five of these are death cases, and 10 involve assault. The CID investigates every death in our custody.
Of the 25 death investigations, the CID has determined that 12 deaths were due to natural or undetermined causes, 1 was justifiable homicide, and 2 were homicides. The 10 remaining deaths are still under investigation.
Additionally, 42 other potential cases of misconduct against civilians occurred outside the detention facilities and are currently under investigation by the Army CID or by the responsible units.
On February 10, 2004, I directed the Inspector General (IG) of the Army to conduct a functional analysis of the Department's internment, enemy-prisoner-of-war (POW), and detention policies, practices, and procedures. I directed this inspection to determine if there might be systemic problems relating to the planning, doctrine, or training in the detention facilities operating within the CENTCOM theater. Phase 1 of this assessment is oriented on current operations in the CENTCOM AOR, with assessment-team visits to 16 detention facilities. Phase 2 of the IG assessment will encompass visits to defense facilities worldwide, including previouslyvisited facilities, to ensure compliance to established standards.
Preliminary findings indicate that leaders and soldiers are aware of the requirement and expectation to treat detainees humanely, and that it is their duty to report incidents of abuse. To date, the majority of the abuse cases indicate the underlying cause has been twofold: an individual failure to adhere to basic standards of discipline, training, and Army values; and leadership failures to provide oversight and enforce standards.
To date, the Army has taken numerous actions to improve the training for MPs and military intelligence (MI) soldiers. The Army is retraining select MP soldiers to serve as correctional specialists. We have incorporated detainee lessons learned from operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan into the MP school curriculum, and have deployed MP training teams to our combat training centers. In response to a request from the CJTF-7, the Army deployed integrated multi-discipline mobile training teams to oversee and conduct comprehensive training in all aspects of detainee and confinement operations in-theater.
Additionally, the Chief of the Army Reserve has directed his IG on the law of war, detainee treatment, ethics, and leadership. All Reserve component MI soldiers are now required to mobilize at the intelligence school at Fort Huachuca so they can receive the latest instruction on tactical questioning before deploying.
Finally, the Army is improving the training of MP and MI personnel at our combat training centers by incorporating detainee holding situations into the tactical scenarios.
These improvements were initiated for the later-deploying OIF, or OIF-2 units, and will be fully implemented for all OIF-3 deploying units.
The reported acts of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib are tragic and disappointing, and they stand in sharp contrast to the values of our Army and the Nation it serves. For these incidents to reflect negatively on the courage, sacrifice, and selfless service of the hundreds of thousands of dedicated men and women who have volunteered to serve our Nation in uniform would be a tragedy, as well. Our soldiers, over 300,000 of whom are deployed in over 120 countries around the world, most in Iraq and Afghanistan, have provided the opportunity for freedom and democracy for over 46 million people who have never experienced it before, while, at the same time, providing protection to the American people.
Mr. Chairman, we will find out how and why this happened, and ensure that those individuals determined to be responsible for these shameful and illegal acts of abuse are held accountable for their actions.
I appreciate this opportunity to appear before you today. I thank you and the members of this distinguished committee for your continuing support of the men and women in our Army, and I look forward to answering your questions.
Chairman WARNER. Secretary Brownlee, your statement is very helpful, and a significant contribution to this hearing.
STAFF OF THE ARMY
As the Chief of Staff of the Army, I am responsible for training and equipping our soldiers, as well as growing our Army leaders. I am also responsible for providing ready and relevant land power capabilities to the combatant commanders and the joint team. Although not in the operational chain of command, I am responsible for our soldiers' training and readiness; therefore, I take it personally when any of them fall short of our standards.
To put it in perspective, what we are dealing with are the actions of a few, as has been pointed out. These are conscious actions that are contrary to all that we stand for. This is not a training issue, but one of character and values. Our Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage are taught to our soldiers from the moment that they enter the training base. There's no question that potential consequences are serious, but we must not forget that these are a few among a great many others who are serving with great honor and sacrifice, as has
We must be careful how we proceed, as it will affect the morale and the safety of a great majority of our soldiers who are meeting the standards and are daily placing themselves in harm's way. I promise you, they, too, take this personally.
I am reminded that, in the report by Major General Taguba, he spoke of several soldiers and units who were challenged by the same set of demanding circumstances at the same place, and they did what was right. The inexcusable behavior of a few is not representative of the courageous and compassionate performance of the overwhelming majority of our soldiers who serve with pride and honor.
We are currently undergoing an extensive investigation of every allegation. The system works, and will result in fairness and justice. We will also learn and adapt. Our Army has already taken corrective actions. Our soldiers are performing with distinction, and I am proud of them all. We owe them our confidence. Our Army is taking this very seriously, and will meet the standards that our Nation expects, as we have for 229 years.
Chairman WARNER. Thank you, General. That statement on leadership reflects your own strong record of leadership, and we're fortunate to have you at the helm of the United States Army today.
We'll proceed with questions now. Colleagues, recognizing that almost the full membership of the committee is present, the chair will have to cut the time to 5 minutes.
Mr. Secretary, I was particularly impressed by your phrase, "We're going to watch American democracy in action, as the President and all others address this problem swiftly, in accordance with the rule of law and American values.” In the meantime, however, it's obvious to all of us that the impact of the facts of this case as they are unfolding is affecting our relationship with other nations, our foreign policy. So I ask you, what is that impact, as best you can assess it today? Second, will the impact of this situation affect, in any way, the transition that I and others support to take place on June 30? Will it have any impact on other nations in the coalition to consider their continued participation at this time, and the chances of adding additional nations? Lastly, does it have any impact on the force levels that you anticipate, together with your on-scene commanders of CENTCOM, in the near future?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Mr. Chairman, those are tough questions. I'm afraid no one has the ability to know precisely what will unfold. We have seen no shift in coalition countries, in answer to your first question.
About future coalition countries, I think the key determinative there is whether or not we are successful in getting an additional United Nations (U.N.) resolution, in which case I think we will get additional countries to participate. It certainly will not have any effect on the determination to have sovereign responsibility assumed by Iraqis by June 30.
I would just say one other thing. We have been enormously disadvantaged by false allegations and lies for the better part of a year-and, indeed, before that, with respect to Afghanistan-by terrorists and terrorist organizations alleging things that weren't not doing that were alleged to be done. Now we're taking a beating, understandably, for things that did, in fact, happen.
Chairman WARNER. Thank you, sir.
General MYERS. Mr. Chairman, if I could just add to that. I just returned from a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee meeting, and had the chance to talk to several of the countries that have major military units inside Iraq. They were very strong, in every case, about seeing this through, and seemed undeterred by any of the recent events. They were looking forward, and we were talking about the future and about their steadfastness in seeing this mission through.
Chairman WARNER. General, I direct my next question to you, because the Department of the Army has been in the forefront. CENTCOM, as we all know, is composed of officers—men, women-of all branches of the Services. I would anticipate that you have consulted with your colleagues, not only on the Joint Chiefs, but particularly in CENTCOM, and that you are making, or have made and will continue to make, an assessment as to the possible personnel increase in the number of men and women of the Armed Forces, most particularly in Iraq, and perhaps elsewhere in the world. This story continues to reflect very deeply the thinking and actions of others.
General MYERS. Mr. Chairman, absolutely we will. We should not underestimate that impact. It was that impact of the picturesthe report of pictures was already out there. But the actual pictures possibly coming out on a news program, that prompted my call to try to delay their release. I thought those pictures, at that particular time, would have a particularly bad effect on our troops, perhaps resulting in death to our forces.
I think we have a lot of troops in Iraq right now, after talking to General Smith and others, that are probably walking withthey're involved in combat, but they're walking with their heads just a little bit lower right now because they have to bear the brunt of what their colleagues up in Abu Ghraib did. It's going to take, as General Schoomaker said, good leadership and everything else we can do to get them back up on the net, because they are engaged in some very important work.
As I said in my statement, I continue to think that the way we'll win their trust will be soldier by soldier, patrol by patrol, like we're winning the war over there, and we're just going to have to stay at it.
Chairman WARNER. Thank you. My time is expired.
Secretary Rumsfeld, I was struck by one of the photographs from the prison depicting three naked prisoners in a lump on the floor being overseen by a number of soldiers, while other soldiers in the cell block were assisting or were going about their business without any apparent interest in or concern about the obvious abusive treatment. It occurred to me that the conduct that we were witnessing and watching was not the aberrant conduct of a few individuals, but was part of an organized and conscious process to ex