As questions surface, Rumsfeld defends pre-war planning

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld defended the Bush administration's pre-war planning effort for Iraq before Senate appropriators Wednesday in response to questions raised in a recent RAND Corp., study.

During a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing Rumsfeld lashed out at Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., when he raised questions about issues addressed in the report as well as the pre-war prediction of former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to execute the war plan as well as any post-war conflict.

"I am tired of Shinseki being bandied about," Rumsfeld said. "We have done what the generals on the ground believed to be the right thing."

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that in the buildup to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, all the military service chiefs supported the war plan, including Shinseki. Myers said Shinseki only offered his best guess as to the number of troops needed in Iraq after he was pressed by lawmakers. He said Shinseki believed such decisions should be left to the commanders charged with overseeing the contingency plans.

Specter noted that while Congress is supportive of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the recent approval by both chambers of an $81 billion supplemental spending package to pay for the ongoing conflicts, there is "a lot of disquiet out there among the people about what is happening in Iraq, and what is happening with our discretionary budget."

Myers said the department is aggressively pursuing lessons learned from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and working quickly to implement any needed changes. Rumsfeld said the department is anxiously awaiting the supplemental funding and risks running out of money if the legislation is delayed. He noted that by as early as next week some commands might stop hiring, ordering supplies and letting contracts if the funds are not approved, and that the Army has already begun slowing obligations to make funds last in the interim.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.