"The direct cause of the enemy attack in Tongo Tongo is that the enemy achieved tactical surprise there and our forces were outnumbered approximately three-to-one," U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier Jr. told reporters during a Pentagon news conference.

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The summary lays out a confusing chain of events that unfolded Oct. 3-4, ending in the ambush, and points to "individual, organizational, and institutional failures and deficiencies that contributed to the tragic events."

U.S. forces reportedly didn't have time to train together before they deployed and did not do preparatory battle drills with their Nigerien partners. The report said lax communication and poor attention to details led to a "general lack of situational awareness and command oversight at every echelon."

According to the report, the Army Special Forces team left Camp Ouallam on Oct. 3 to go after Doundou Chefou, a leader of the Islamic State group who was suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of an American aid worker. But the team leader and his immediate supervisor submitted a different mission to their higher command, saying they were going out to meet tribal leaders.

Waldhauser called the mischaracterization of the mission unacceptable, but Cloutier rejected suggestions the team leaders lied. It's not clear if those two are among the three service members he said could face discipline.


Niger ambush resulted from multiple failures, Pentagon says