Gen. David Petraeus will present his long-awaited assessment of whether the troop escalation strategy in Iraq has been successful. Petraeus and as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will appear at a joint hearing before the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees on Monday and separately before the equivalent Senate committees on Tuesday.
The substance of the general’s report have been reported in today’s papers: The New York Times reports in its lead story that Petraeus will ask for six more months in Iraq before making a decision about significant troop withdrawals. Petraeus is reportedly willing to pull one brigade–consisting of about 4,000 troops–in mid-December, but wants to postpone any further withdrawals until March of next year.
The troop escalation was intended to provide the stability necessary for Iraq’s leaders to reach long-awaited compromises, a topic Ryan Crocker will testify to this week. The Washington Post reports Crocker will point to evidence of some progress even though recent reports of Iraq’s political landscape have been grim. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace will testify to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
Read more about Iraq from the Center for American Progress:
- How to View the Report on the Surge
- Key Questions on Iraq
- Strategic Reset: Reclaiming Control of U.S. Security in the Middle East
- How to Redploy: Implementing a Responsible Drawdown of U.S. Forces from Iraq
Two hearings this week will address emergency response to terrorist attacks and natural disasters. On Monday the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee addresses health effects suffered by emergency first-responders who come into contact with toxic elements while performing their life-saving work. The House hearing will specifically address the illnesses suffered by many of the emergency teams who were called to duty on 9/11.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will meet Tuesday to discuss readiness in the post-Hurricane Katrina and post-9/11 world. FEMA was widely derided after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans for the failure of its evacuation plans before the storm hit and the gross inadequacies of its emergency relief strategies after the storm.
Read more from CAP on disaster response:
- CAP Interviews John Feal, 9/11 First Responder
- Are We Prepared for Another Katrina?
- Leaving the States Vulnerable
Terrorist Threats to U.S.
The House Education and Labor Committee will meet on Monday to hear testimony on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. On behalf of CAP’s sister organization, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, John D. Podesta offers strategies for improving the draft bill of the act’s reauthorization, arguing for greater accountability for student results, improved quality of teachers and administrative staff, and expanded learning time.
On Monday the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hear testimony from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and FBI Director Robert Mueller among others on the threat faced by the United States six years on from the terrorism attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy magazine will co-host a briefing on Wednesday for House and Senate staff on their most recent update of the Terrorism Index, a semi-annual, nonpartisan survey of over 100 foreign policy experts on the state of U.S. national security strategy.
Read more on CAP’s strategies to address terrorist threats:
- The Terrorism Index
- Terrorism Still Brewing in Afghanistan
- Keeping Bombs Off Planes: Securing Air Cargo, Aviation’s Soft Underbelly
- Toxic Trains and the Terrorist Threat
The House Education and Labor Committee will meet on Monday to hear testimony on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which funds primary and secondary education. Originally authorized through 1970, the Act comes up for reauthorization every five years. On behalf of CAP’s sister organization, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, John D. Podesta offers strategies for improving the draft bill of the act’s reauthorization, arguing for greater accountability for student results, improved quality of teachers and administrative staff, and expanded learning time.
Read more on CAP and CAPAF’s policies to improve education: