by Drew Brooks
Col. Robert Forrester, deputy director of CALL - the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. - said the war resulted in countless compilations, newsletters and handbooks that have changed Army policy and practices.
The newsletters alone number between 400 and 500, he said.
Forrester, who previously served as an adviser to an Iraqi general, said CALL has been analyzing and dispersing lessons learned since the Iraq War began and will continue to do so for years to come.
After speaking to other CALL analysts, Forrester said, he compiled an unofficial "top 5" lessons learned from the war.
He said those lessons have led to a more productive, comprehensive approach to operations, better intelligence, an emphasis on cultural understanding, ways to counter improvised explosive devices and more efficient sustainment.
The sustainment improvements include using contractors to provide the bulk of support for soldiers.
In military intelligence, Forrester said, the Iraq war taught the Army that there is no substitute for human intelligence and that officials can't rely on templates as they have in the past.
"In the past we were guilty of believing we could know and template an enemy, that we could somehow know and prevent actions," he said before explaining the Army's shift toward more investigative-type intelligence. "Now it almost looks like law enforcement."
Perhaps the lessons that have saved the most lives in Iraq come in counter IED operations.
"We had no counter IED effort when this war started nine years ago," Forrester said. "Now we have a robust effort across the board."