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The occupation of Iraq: a military perspective on lessons learned

31-03-2012 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 885, by Matthew R. Hover

This opinion note briefly describes the US military perspective preceding the Iraqi occupation and highlights some of the primary lessons learned from it. Those lessons fall into three main categories: planning, training, and inter-agency execution.

Keywords: occupation of Iraq, responsibilities of an occupying power, US military perspective, Coalition Provisional Authority, Operation Iraqi Freedom, military operational planning, training, inter-agency execution.


Major Matthew R. Hover is Judge Advocate in the US Army. He holds an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College; an LL.M. from the US Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School; a J.D. from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; and a B.S. from the Michigan State University. He is presently assigned as an Operational Law Attorney at the US Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Major Matthew R. Hover previously served in the International Law Department of the US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and also served twice in Iraq and once in Afghanistan in Operational and International Law assignments.