The Battle of Wanat Study

What is it'

The Contemporary History on the battle of Wanat is a study written by the Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The study focuses on the July 13, 2008, battle in Afghanistan's Waigal Valley during which nine American Soldiers died and 27 were wounded defending their small outpost against a much larger force of insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. CSI conducted an extensive study on the actions that took place at Wanat in order to provide a transparent look at ourselves as an Army, identify lessons learned, and implement those lessons learned across the force. Lessons learned greatly enhance the preparedness of our leaders and increase success during combat. The contemporary history on Wanat can be viewed at Combat Studies Institute website.

What has the Army done'

The Combat Studies Institute, a subordinate organization of the U.S. Army's Combined Arms Center - Leader Development and Education (CAC LD&E), has provided a comprehensive look at the battle and actions at every level, from the Soldiers on the ground up through the chain of command. This study looks at the event from a variety of different perspectives, to include official Army investigations, and interviews with Soldiers and leaders who were there. In addition, the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) has created two new publications after the events at Wanat that are aimed at capturing lessons in similar circumstances. Those publications are: Small-Unit Operations in Afghanistan Handbook No. 09-37, published in June of 2009; and Small-Unit Operations Leader's Reference No. 09-38, published in September of 2009.

What does the Army have planned'

In addition to the Contemporary History, CSI has also constructed a "virtual staff ride" of the battle of Wanat to facilitate learning for Intermediate Level Education (ILE) students and throughout the Army. Other elements of CAC are also involved in helping the Army learn from this battle. The Combined Arms Center - Training (CAC-T) will provide these lessons as part of their programs, products and services delivered Army-wide through the Battle Command Training Program (BCTP), at the Combat Training Centers, and through interactive training scenarios in its Virtual Battle Space 2 (VBS2) software. CAC will also facilitate open discussion on the topic through professional Army blogs and social media sites.

Why is this important to the Army'

We are a continuously learning organization, focused on building a balanced Army capable of prevailing against hybrid threats. CSI produces timely and relevant military research publications and contemporary operational history for the Army that feeds our learning process. We know from experience that institutional growth comes from looking at an event such as the battle of Wanat from all aspects. Historical studies are the mechanisms that help us do that.


Document: Wanat - Combat Action in Afghanistan, 2008

Combat Studies Institute website

Combined Arms Center-Training website

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. blog: "Leading in a Complex Operational Environment"

Requires AKO login: Army Training Network for other "Lessons Learned" videos