Small Wars Journal

Pentagon Cites 'Institutional Failures' for Deadly Niger Assault

Pentagon Cites 'Institutional Failures' for Deadly Niger Assault by Danielle Haynes – UPI


A Pentagon investigation into a 2017 attack on U.S. forces in Niger said there was no sole responsibility for the deaths of Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black (top-L), Sgt. La David Johnson (top-R), Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright (bottom-L) and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson (bottom-R). File Photo courtesy of the Department of Defense.

Pentagon investigators on Thursday blamed multiple "individual, organizational and institutional failures" for the ambush that left four U.S. solders dead in Niger in October 2017.

The six-month investigation, which resulted in an eight-page summary report released Thursday, determined no single person or entity was to blame for the deaths.

The Oct. 4 assault left four members of a team of Green Berets -- Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Sgt. La David Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright -- dead along with at least five Nigerien soldiers. Two other American soldiers -- Sgt. 1st Class Brent Bartels and David Trachtenberg, a senior defense official -- were injured.

The report offered a brief look at the morning of the ambush, when the 11-man team undertook heavy fire near the town of Tongo Tongo, where they encountered swamps and wooded areas. The Pentagon said the four U.S. soldiers who died did so in combat and that none were captured alive by the enemy.

The report said the U.S. team had not undergone proper training nor had it rehearsed its mission ahead of time due to "personnel turnover." Additionally, the operation had not been approved at the proper level of command…

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