A series of individual and organizational failures, including a lack of training and situational awareness, led to a deadly ambush in Niger past year that killed four US soldiers, a partial Pentagon report released on Thursday said.
A summary of the report released Thursday details the need for improved mission planning and approval processes, in addition to a review of weapon requirements and training exercises with US -allied forces, according to The Associated Press.
However, Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, who led the Pentagon probe, said Thursday it "wasn't a deliberate intent to deceive".
Their mission on October 3 was to "find/fix and, if possible, capture" a key member of a group calling itself the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, the summary states.
Waldhauser said that troops are now better trained and equipped, following a review of operating procedures ordered by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Eleven US personnel and more than 30 Nigeriens went out on the mission.
Rather, the 46 US and Nigerien troops fell victim to what investigators described as a never before seen show of force by IS-Greater Sahara. Amid the chaos, he said, there were repeated acts of bravery as the outnumbered and outgunned soldiers made split-second decisions under heavy fire, struggling to protect and rescue each other during the more than hourlong assault.
The abstract lays out a complicated chain of occasions that unfolded October 3-4, ending within the ambush, and factors to "particular person, organizational, and institutional failures and deficiencies that contributed to the tragic occasions".
And prior to setting out on the operation, the USA team failed to conduct pre-mission rehearsals or battle drills with their Nigerien counterparts, the report found.
While the report has not fully been made public, Waldhauser said that three individuals could face consequences for lapses in training and communication that led to a "general lack of situational awareness and command oversight at every echelon". However the workforce chief and his rapid supervisor submitted a unique mission to their increased command, saying they have been going out to satisfy tribal leaders.
"Rather the U.S. Special Operations Force Team commander and the next higher level commander at the advanced operations base ... inaccurately characterized the nature of the mission in the concept of operations", the report reads.
Senior commanders, unaware of the workforce's earlier actions, then ordered the troops to function backup for a second workforce's raid, additionally concentrating on Chefou.
While the Pentagon said all four U.S. soldiers fought bravely and "died with honor", investigators found they had not been properly trained ahead of the mission and pointed to problems with how it was approved in the first place. On their method again to their residence base they stopped on the village of Tongo Tongo to get water.
The findings are part of a long-awaited report released Thursday on what went wrong during a two-day span in October 2017 near the village of Tongo Tongo, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of the Nigerien capital, Niamey.
"There is not enough evidence to conclude that the villagers of Tongo Tongo willingly aid and support them", according to the report summary.
U.S. Special Forces teams in Niger also are being given the option of using armored vehicles, something that was not available to the team that came under attack.
From left, Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Wash.; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; Sgt. "All four Soldiers were killed in action before French or Nigerien responding forces arrived in Tongo Tongo".
A U.S. Special Forces mission that resulted in the deaths of four American soldiers and four Nigerien soldiers was plagued by problems up and down the chain of command but was ultimately done in by an unprecedented show of force at the hands of an Islamic State-linked terror group, an investigation found. None were captured alive by the enemy, and all died immediately or quickly from their wounds, it said.