This first combined quarterly and biannual report to Congress provides initial details of the programs and operations that support the U.S. strategy to counter the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including military operations under the complex overseas contingency operation (OCO) known as Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). The Lead Inspector General (Lead IG) agencies—the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG), Department of State Office of Inspector General (DoS OIG), and U.S. Agency for International Development Office of Inspector General (USAID OIG)—have responsibility for oversight reporting on the OCO.
The U.S. airstrikes to support counter-ISIL efforts in Iraq and Syria began in August 2014 and are considered part of the OIR contingency designation. A month after these targeted attacks began, on September 10, 2014, President Obama announced a broader strategy to degrade and defeat ISIL. Six days later, President Obama appointed General John Allen (USMC, retired) as the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. His main focus is to help build membership, integrate capabilities, maintain cohesion, and sustain the international coalition efforts in a comprehensive, international strategy to defeat ISIL. More than 60 countries have joined the international coalition to support a broad diplomatic, economic, and military response to ISIL.
In October 2014, the military mission for Iraq and Syria was named OIR, and on October 17, the Secretary of Defense designated it an OCO. Pursuant to section 8L of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, the Chair of the Council of the Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency designated DoD Inspector General Jon T. Rymer as the Lead Inspector General for OIR on December 17, 2014. Inspector General Rymer immediately appointed DoS Inspector General Steve A. Linick as the Associate Inspector General for OIR to act in a coordinating role.
At the onset of the OCO, the Lead IG agencies had already developed a comprehensive framework for their joint oversight strategy. These agencies have always had plenary authority to conduct independent and objective oversight. For more than a decade, while they conducted independent oversight of their agencies in Iraq and Afghanistan, they also worked jointly on several projects requiring cross-agency collaboration. Since 2008, they have met quarterly, along with the Government Accountability Office, the Special Inspectors General for Iraq and Afghanistan Reconstruction, and the Service Auditors General to coordinate their oversight and avoid duplication of effort.
Section 8L provides a new mandate for the three Lead IG agencies to work together from the outset of an OCO to develop and carry out joint, comprehensive, and strategic oversight. Each IG retains statutory independence, but together, they will apply their extensive regional experience and in-depth institutional knowledge to conduct integrated, strategic oversight of the whole-of-government mission to destroy ISIL and address the severe humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria.