Marine Corps to review Afghanistan withdrawal, but no formal commission

By Aidan Quigley / September 2, 2021 at 2:54 PM

The Marine Corps will review its withdrawal from Afghanistan but not create a formal commission to investigate, a service spokesman told Inside Defense Thursday.

Maj. Eric Flanagan, a spokesman for Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger, said there is no intent to create a formal commission to review the withdrawal.

Instead, Berger will follow the traditional service "hot wash" model of improve and sustain, Flanagan said. Berger has done similar reviews of other big events in the past, according to Flanagan.

The commandant "wants his headquarters staff to ensure we pause and take a look back at the recent events and critique what went well and what can improve," Flanagan said via email.

Berger said Wednesday that the service wanted to study what went right and wrong during the withdrawal and what the service can learn going forward.

In deciding the structure of that evaluation, Berger said the Marine Corps is looking at the Holloway Commission, which studied the failed 1980 effort to rescue hostages in Iran, and the Long Commission, which studied a 1983 terrorist attack at the Beirut International Airport.

"While it's relatively fresh in our minds, we need an open, honest critique, or a commission, or whatever it is that cracks open what are the options that were available, who made what decisions at what time," he said. "Not so we can penalize or hang somebody by a yardarm, but actually so we can learn."