A Pentagon investigation into an ambush that killed four USA soldiers in Niger in October found that two officers in charge misinformed higher-ups about the danger of the mission, yet no punishment was recommended against them, according to officials familiar with the still-unreleased report on the findings. But the team did not disclose that mission to higher-level commanders, and instead outlined a lower-risk mission to meet with tribal leaders, US officials told the AP. U.S. Africa Command has already put in place new training and equipment for U.S. troops serving in western Africa.
If those conditions are not met, the USA troops will work from fortified command centers to advise African forces on intelligence, logistics, artillery and other aspects of big operations that are important - but not as flashy as front-line combat against a range of groups aligned with al-Qaida or the Islamic State group.
In that mission, 21 Green Berets and 12 USA soldiers were working with a battalion-size Nigerien army force that was accompanied by armed Nigerien aircraft. Gen. Roger Cloutier Jr., whose team conducted dozens of interviews across the U.S., Europe and Africa.
And it cites the team's deliberate decision to go after a high-level Islamic State group insurgent without proper command approval.
As a result of the October incident, US forces in Africa would now be more "prudent" in carrying out missions and improvements have been made for troops in areas such as firepower and equipment, response times and level of intelligence provided, Waldhauser said.
As part of National Security Adviser John Bolton's full overhaul of the National Security Council, he's "leading the push to abolish the role of special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator", the top White House cybersecurity job, Politico reports, citing one current and two former US officials.
Mattis also gave the Department of Defense, the Army and U.S. Special Operations Command 120 days "to address systemic issues brought to light by this investigation". They later reverted to an advisory capacity with the Nigerien forces they were working with.
The team that was attacked in Niger was given several different tasks before it was ambushed, but its primary mission was to advise and assist a unit of 30 Nigerien soldiers officials familiar with the investigation have told CNN. The troops, however, were later sent to collect intelligence at a location where Chefou had been, and then they stopped at the village of Tongo Tongo for supplies before heading back to their base. They also prohibited units from relying on a specific kind of mission planning process - as was used in the fateful October 4 patrol - that gave more autonomy to troops on the ground. "The mission was unsuccessful in capturing the target".
The investigation found a series of errors leading up to the deadly mission and recommended taking "appropriate action" against three people for specific failures, such as mischaracterizing the US troops' initial mission as civil-military reconnaissance, Cloutier said.
The 2 USA vans with machine weapons went first, Wright mentioned, forsaking the truck his son Dustin was driving that had no mounted gun. No U.S. or Nigerien forces were harmed in the December gunbattle, which the Pentagon first acknowledged in March in a terse line in an unclassified report to Congress. The investigation found there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the villagers were complicit in the ambush.
The investigation found that the convoy of five Nigerien vehicles and three American vehicles received small arms fire from a wooded area.
What followed was a almost two-hour-long battle during which at various times the American team was separated. But again they were overwhelmed and had to retreat. As his son tried to get away, Wright said, Black was firing from the front passenger seat and Jeremiah Johnson was shooting from the back of the truck.
Johnson was killed about a mile from that location after he heroically held off ISIS fighters as long as he could. His body was not found until 48 hours after the attack.
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