Jul 28, 2009
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Since 2007, security has improved dramatically in Iraq. The U.S. and Iraqi governments — and most Iraqis — want to see both the U.S. presence there reduced and the Iraqi government and security forces assuming a greater role in providing for public security. The challenge is to effect this drawdown while preserving security and stability in the country and in the region.
In response to tasking from the U.S. Congress, RAND researchers conducted an independent study to examine drawdown schedules, risks, and mitigating strategies. They identified logistical constraints on moving equipment out of the country, assessed trends in insurgent activity and the ability of Iraqi security forces to counter it, and examined the implications for the size of the residual U.S. force and for security in Iraq and the region. This report presents alternative drawdown schedules — one consistent with the Obama administration's stated intentions and two others, one somewhat slower and another faster — that are responsive to these factors. It also recommends steps that the United States can take to alleviate anticipated constraints, overcome likely resistance, and reduce the potential risks associated with a drawdown.
Logistics Factors and Constraints Affecting the Drawdown
Internal Security and Stability
The Study's Legislative Background
Drawdown of Remaining Forces
Economic and Advisory Issues Involved in a Drawdown of U.S. Forces from Iraq