War in Iraq will be called 'Operation New Dawn' to reflect reduced U.S. role
The Obama administration has decided to give the war in Iraq a new name -- "Operation New Dawn" -- to reflect the reduced role U.S. troops will play in securing the country this year as troop levels fall, according to a memo from Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Since U.S. forces charged across the Kuwaiti border toward Baghdad in 2003, the war has been known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. The new name is scheduled to take effect in September, when U.S. troop levels are supposed to drop to about 50,000.
The change is intended to send a message that the U.S. military's combat role in Iraq is rapidly drawing to a close. In the Feb. 17 memo, Gates wrote to Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top commander for the region, that the name change seeks to "recognize our evolving relationship with the Government of Iraq."
Such name changes are not unusual. The name of the 1991 Persian Gulf War changed as the mission changed, from Operation Desert Shield to Operation Desert Storm and then finally to Operation Southern Watch and Operation Northern Watch.
The name change for the current conflict was first reported by ABC News, which posted the memo on its Web site. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed the decision.