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Skelton Wants RAND War Report Released
Stars and Stripes  |  By James Warden  |  February 14, 2008
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is asking the Army to release an unclassified study completed in 2005 that leveled widespread criticism on planning for postwar Iraq.

Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., sent a letter to Secretary of the Army Peter Geren on Monday in which the congressman admonished the Army for not releasing a RAND Corp. report that reportedly found problems with nearly every organization that had a role in planning for the war.

“I find it inexcusable that the Army would apparently allow itself to become politicized in such a manner,” Skelton wrote. “To try to not release such a useful report, seemingly to avoid political problems, is not in the fine tradition of the United States Army and should not be acceptable to you.”

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., also sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Monday calling for the release of the unclassified study, according to Obama’s Senate office. Obama, a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, called on Gates to justify his decision if the report is not released.

In an e-mail message to Stars and Stripes, Lt. Col. Lee M. Packnett, an Army spokesman, wrote: “The Army will comply with any request from Congress in conjunction with the Department of Defense reference the RAND Study.”

An e-mail to Geren did not get a reply.

RAND is a federally financed center that does research for the military. Army regulations require the reports to be checked for classified information but also state that officials should not “censor” analysis or restrict publication.

RAND submitted both a secret report and an unclassified version of the report to the Army in the summer of 2005. But the Army has since sought to keep both versions under wraps.

A civilian at Army headquarters said that was done because the study went beyond the intended scope.

Wrote Skelton: “I would hope that you would take this opportunity to rectify this mistake, to release the full, classified version of the report to the appropriate committees in Congress, and to allow the publication of the unclassified summary of the report.”

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