Odierno Will Issue New Rules of Engagement Post-SOFA
So now the U.S. and Iraq have signed the Status of Forces Agreement that gets the U.S. out of Iraqi cities in 2009; out of Iraq entirely in Dec. 2011; and places significant constraints on U.S. military operations. What does this actually mean for the military on a day-to-day basis?
The short answer is it’s unclear. But yesterday Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, released a letter to his troops informing them that the mission would undergo “a subtle shift.” Here’s a screengrab from his PDF letter:
So, basically, Odierno will inform the troops in the near future what the new operating environment is. Presumably he’ll consult with the new U.S.-Iraq security committee created by the SOFA to determine the boundaries of his authority. But what’s interesting is that Odierno has never really discussed what his overall strategy in Iraq is. Perhaps having a new operational environment dictated to him by a politicians’ agreement will force greater clarity.