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Congressman Ruben Gallego

Representing the 7th District of Arizona

Rep. Ruben Gallego Statement on Acting Secretary Shanahan’s Decision to Not Reprimand Senior Officers in Relation to the Niger Ambush

June 5, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) released the following statement in response to reports that Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan would not administer reprimands for senior level officers responsible for failures that led to the ambush in Niger in October 2017 during which four U.S. Soldiers and four Nigerien Soldiers were killed.

“Reports that Acting Secretary Shanahan intends to let the blame for the Niger disaster lie on junior officers and enlisted personnel is a shirking of responsibility to the memory and families of the deceased. When Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, or Marines are sent into harm’s way, they need to trust that they have the right equipment, that the mission has been properly thought through and vetted, and that their superior officers are not going to abandon them if the going gets tough.

“From the beginning, the investigation into what happened that day has been poorly handled at all levels. Nearly two years later, we are still waiting for answers. The Pentagon has refused to comply with the mandate to provide Congress with a comprehensive account of what went wrong and the lessons learned, and to provide the families of those lost with any semblance of closure.

“One thing is clear: mistakes were made that cost these men’s lives. Their families – and the American public – deserve clear answers about what happened, who will be held accountable, and what will be done to prevent this from ever happening again.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego is a Marine Corps combat veteran and serves on the House Armed Services Committee.