The report could come as soon as “a week or two,” Mattis said, though he cautioned that the timetable will be set by Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command.
The incident report will not be constrained just to the circumstances that led to the loss of the U.S. personnel, but rather will also look at the broader context of what the U.S. is doing in Niger.
“It is extensive, it is thousands of pages long,” Mattis said of the report, adding that “it is looking at all aspects, not just to this specific incident but to the broader circumstances surrounding that incident, so you get a holistic view.”
Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Sgt. La David Johnson of the 3rd Special Forces Group were killed in the Oct. 4 attack. The four men had been conducting an advise and assist mission with Nigerien soldiers when they were ambushed.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.