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The "Petraeus Report"

There has been some talk in the press and on the blogs that suggests the White House intends to tamper with -- or simply write -- General Petraeus' assessment to Congress.  In a discussion today with a DOD Legislative Affairs expert, we got the truth.

Congress itself mandated by law who will assemble each of the several reports due in September.  It also, separately, mandated that General Petraeus be available to testify to them at this time. 

Public Law 110-28 specifes that "the President, having consulted with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, will prepare the report and submit the report to Congress."

The law separately requires that:  "[T]he United States Ambassador to Iraq and the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq will be made available to testify in open and closed sessions before the relevant committees of the Congress."

So, in answer to the question:  there is a report, and there is a separate assessment.  The law requires the President to prepare the report, and General Petraeus to consult with him on that.  The law also requires the General to testify separately before Congress.

There are no political games here:  the US military is simply complying with the law as passed by Congress.  The full text of that law is in the extended entry.

Public Law 110-28

121 STAT. 112

110th Congress

[HR 2206]

An Act

Official Title:

Making emergency supplemental appropriations and additional supplemental appropriations for agricultural and other emergency assistance for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes.

Short Title:

Other Short Titles:

Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007

Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007

Small Business and Work Opportunity Act of 2007

U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007

SEC. 1314.(a) Findings Regarding Progress in Iraq, the Establishment of Benchmarks to Measure That Progress, and Reports to Congress.—

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

Over 145,000 American military personnel are currently serving in Iraq, like thousands of others since March 2003, with the bravery and professionalism consistent with the finest traditions of the United States Armed Forces, and are deserving of the strong support of all Americans.

(2)

Many American service personnel have lost their lives, and many more have been wounded in Iraq; the American people will always honor their sacrifice and honor their families.

(3)

The United States Army and Marine Corps, including their Reserve components and National Guard organizations together with components of the other branches of the military, are performing their missions while under enormous strain from multiple, extended deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. These deployments, and those that will follow, will have a lasting impact on future recruiting, retention, and readiness of our Nation’s all volunteer force.

(4)

Iraq is experiencing a deteriorating problem of sectarian and intrasectarian violence based upon political distrust and cultural differences among factions of the Sunni and Shia populations.

(5)

Iraqis must reach political and economic settlements in order to achieve reconciliation, for there is no military solution. The failure of the Iraqis to reach such settlements to support a truly unified government greatly contributes to the increasing violence in Iraq.

(6)

The responsibility for Iraq’s internal security and halting sectarian violence rests with the sovereign Government of Iraq.

(7)

In December 2006, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group issued a valuable report, suggesting a comprehensive strategy that includes new and enhanced diplomatic and political efforts in Iraq and the region, and a change in the primary mission of U.S. forces in Iraq, that will enable the United States to begin to move its combat forces out of Iraq responsibly.

(8)

The President said on January 10, 2007, that "I’ve made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq’s other leaders that America’s commitment is not open-ended" so as to dispel the contrary impression that exists.

(9)

It is essential that the sovereign Government of Iraq set out measurable and achievable benchmarks and President Bush said, on January 10, 2007, that "America will change our approach to help the Iraqi government as it works to meet these benchmarks" .

(10)

As reported by Secretary of State Rice, Iraq’s Policy Committee on National Security agreed upon a set of political, security, and economic benchmarks and an associated timeline in September 2006 that were: (A) reaffirmed by Iraq’s Presidency Council on October 6, 2006; (B) referenced by the Iraq Study Group; and (C) posted on the President of Iraq’s Web site.

(11)

On April 21, 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that "our [American] commitment to Iraq is long-term, but it is not a commitment to have our young men and women patrolling Iraq’s streets open-endedly" and that "progress in reconciliation will be an important element of our evaluation" .

(12)

The President’s January 10, 2007, address had three components: political, military, and economic. Given that significant time has passed since his statement, and recognizing the overall situation is ever changing, Congress must have timely reports to evaluate and execute its constitutional oversight responsibilities.

(b) Conditioning of Future United States Strategy in Iraq on the Iraqi Government’s Record of Performance on Its Benchmarks.

(1) In general.

(A)

The United States strategy in Iraq, hereafter, shall be conditioned on the Iraqi government meeting benchmarks, as told to members of Congress by the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and reflected in the Iraqi Government’s commitments to the United States, and to the international community, including:

(i)

Forming a Constitutional Review Committee and then completing the constitutional review.

(ii)

Enacting and implementing legislation on de-Baathification.

(iii)

Enacting and implementing legislation to ensure the equitable distribution of hydrocarbon resources of the people of Iraq without regard to the sect or ethnicity of recipients, and enacting and implementing legislation to ensure that the energy resources of Iraq benefit Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Kurds, and other Iraqi citizens in an equitable manner.

(iv)

Enacting and implementing legislation on procedures to form semi-autonomous regions.

(v)

Enacting and implementing legislation establishing an Independent High Electoral Commission, provincial elections law, provincial council authorities, and a date for provincial elections.

(vi)

Enacting and implementing legislation addressing amnesty.

(vii)

Enacting and implementing legislation establishing a strong militia disarmament program to ensure that such security forces are accountable only to the central government and loyal to the Constitution of Iraq.

(viii)

Establishing supporting political, media, economic, and services committees in support of the Baghdad Security Plan.

(ix)

Providing three trained and ready Iraqi brigades to support Baghdad operations.

(x)

Providing Iraqi commanders with all authorities to execute this plan and to make tactical and operational decisions, in consultation with U.S commanders, without political intervention, to include the authority to pursue all extremists, including Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias.

(xi)

Ensuring that the Iraqi Security Forces are providing even handed enforcement of the law.

(xii)

Ensuring that, according to President Bush, Prime Minister Maliki said "the Baghdad security plan will not provide a safe haven for any outlaws, regardless of [their] sectarian or political affiliation" .

(xiii)

Reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq and eliminating militia control of local security.

(xiv)

Establishing all of the planned joint security stations in neighborhoods across Baghdad.

(xv)

Increasing the number of Iraqi security forces units capable of operating independently.

(xvi)

Ensuring that the rights of minority political parties in the Iraqi legislature are protected.

(xvii)

Allocating and spending $10 billion in Iraqi revenues for reconstruction projects, including delivery of essential services, on an equitable basis.

(xviii)

Ensuring that Iraq’s political authorities are not undermining or making false accusations against members of the Iraqi Security Forces.

(B)

The President shall submit reports to Congress on how the sovereign Government of Iraq is, or is not, achieving progress towards accomplishing the aforementioned benchmarks, and shall advise the Congress on how that assessment requires, or does not require, changes to the strategy announced on January 10, 2007.

(2) Reports required.

(A)

The President shall submit an initial report, in classified and unclassified format, to the Congress, not later than July 15, 2007, assessing the status of each of the specific benchmarks established above, and declaring, in his judgment, whether satisfactory progress toward meeting these benchmarks is, or is not, being achieved.

(B)

The President, having consulted with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Commander, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, and the Commander of U.S. Central Command, will prepare the report and submit the report to Congress.

(C)

If the President’s assessment of any of the specific benchmarks established above is unsatisfactory, the President shall include in that report a description of such revisions to the political, economic, regional, and military components of the strategy, as announced by the President on January 10, 2007. In addition, the President shall include in the report, the advisability of implementing such aspects of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, as he deems appropriate.

(D)

The President shall submit a second report to the Congress, not later than September 15, 2007, following the same procedures and criteria outlined above.

(E)

The reporting requirement detailed in section 1227 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 is waived from the date of the enactment of this Act through the period ending September 15, 2007.

(3) Testimony before congress.—

Prior to the submission of the President’s second report on September 15, 2007, and at a time to be agreed upon by the leadership of the Congress and the Administration, the United States Ambassador to Iraq and the Commander, Multi-National Forces Iraq will be made available to testify in open and closed sessions before the relevant committees of the Congress.

(c) Limitations on Availability of Funds.

(1) Limitation.—

No funds appropriated or otherwise made available for the "Economic Support Fund" and available for Iraq may be obligated or expended unless and until the President of the United States certifies in the report outlined in subsection (b)(2)(A) and makes a further certification in the report outlined in subsection (b)(2)(D) that Iraq is making progress on each of the benchmarks set forth in subsection (b)(1)(A).

(2) Waiver authority.—

The President may waive the requirements of this section if he submits to Congress a written certification setting forth a detailed justification for the waiver, which shall include a detailed report describing the actions being taken by the United States to bring the Iraqi government into compliance with the benchmarks set forth in subsection (b)(1)(A). The certification shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.

(d) Redeployment of U.S. Forces From Iraq.—

The President of the United States, in respecting the sovereign rights of the nation of Iraq, shall direct the orderly redeployment of elements of U.S. forces from Iraq, if the components of the Iraqi government, acting in strict accordance with their respective powers given by the Iraqi Constitution, reach a consensus as recited in a resolution, directing a redeployment of U.S. forces.

(e) Independent Assessments.

(1) Assessment by the comptroller general.

(A)

Not later than September 1, 2007, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit to Congress an independent report setting forth—

(i)

the status of the achievement of the benchmarks specified in subsection (b)(1)(A); and

(ii)

the Comptroller General’s assessment of whether or not each such benchmark has been met.

(2) Assessment of the capabilities of iraqi security forces.

(A) In general.—

There is hereby authorized to be appropriated for the Department of Defense, $750,000, that the Department, in turn, will commission an independent, private sector entity, which operates as a 501(c)(3), with recognized credentials and expertise in military affairs, to prepare an independent report assessing the following:

(i)

The readiness of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to assume responsibility for maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq, denying international terrorists a safe haven, and bringing greater security to Iraq’s 18 provinces in the next 12 to 18 months, and bringing an end to sectarian violence to achieve national reconciliation.

(ii)

The training, equipping, command, control and intelligence capabilities, and logistics capacity of the ISF.

(iii)

The likelihood that, given the ISF’s record of preparedness to date, following years of training and equipping by U.S. forces, the continued support of U.S. troops will contribute to the readiness of the ISF to fulfill the missions outlined in clause (i).

(B) Report.—

Not later than 120 days after the enactment of this Act, the designated private sector entity shall provide an unclassified report, with a classified annex, containing its findings, to the House and Senate Committees on Armed Services, Appropriations, Foreign Relations/International Relations, and Intelligence

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