"It was a failure of a lot of things, leadership being one of them, tactics being one of them," said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren.
He added, however, "It’s important to note that war is a fluid thing, there are victories, but the enemy does get a vote and in this case, the enemy was able to gain the upper hand," he said.
He said all small pockets of remaining Iraqi forces had left the city early Tuesday.
Administration officials had tried a day before to play down the fall of Ramadi, capital of Anbar Province, what is considered the Sunni heartland of Iraq.
The White House, the State Department and the Pentagon had all characterized the event as a "setback," while lawmakers had used stronger terms.
The fall of the city has raised questions about the U.S. strategy of supporting Iraqi forces with airstrikes and training them to take back territory from ISIS.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates slammed the Obama administration over its Mideast strategy, particularly criticizing the rising growth of the Islamic State and the fall of Ramadi.
We don't really have a strategy at all," Gates said on Tuesday. "We're basically playing this day by day."
In an address from the State Floor of the White House, Obama spoke to the nation in September of2014 about ISIL -- and our comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group.
That was not a strategy or even a hope. Obama was under great political pressure when he came out to the American Public and gave that short explanation. Obama has never had a military strategy of any kind except to retreat. Obama’s strategy of retreat is completely different from the strategy of retreat used by George Washington in the Revolutionary War. Washington had an inferior force to the British. Washington could not confront on a large scale or he would have lost his army and thus the war.
Obama on the other hand had superior forces. However, unlike Washington, it is not Obama’s intent that the American Army should prevail over ISIS or any other force for that matter. The Obama strategy is not to have the American Forces superior to any other force, but instead to degrade the American military and the American economy until they are on a par with all other nations in the world. Ultimately Obama would ideally have all military forces in the entire world destroyed.
Obama believes, as his actions have proven, that America is an imperialistic nation and has exploited other peoples of the world just as the American capitalist has exploited the workers of America. Obama’s strategy is to have the United States and all other imperialistic nations share all resources of the world equally with all peoples of the world. This is his national strategy for the United States and this is his international strategy for the United States under Obama. His actions have proven this. If you understand Marxism you will understand Obama’s strategies; domestic and foreign.