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Facility Protection Service (FPS)
Facilities Protection Forces

The Facilities Protection Service works for all ministries and governmental agencies, but its standards are set and enforced by the Ministry of Interior. It can also be privately hired. The FPS is tasked with the fixed site protection of Ministerial, Governmental, or private buildings, facilities and personnel. The FPS includes Oil, Electricity Police and Port Security. The majority of the FPS staff consists of former service members and former security guards. The FPS secures public facilities such as hospitals, banks, and power stations within their district.Being part of the Baath Party did not disqualify an Iraqi from joining the Facility Protection Service or working elsewhere with coalition forces.

The FPS is tasked with securing and protecting over 13,000 critical infrastructure locations throughout Iraq, including government buildings, mosques and religious sites, hospitals, schools and colleges, dams, highways, and bridges. To accomplish this, the FPS headquarters was divided into three directorates. The First and Second Directorates protect sites and ministries within Baghdad Province. The third directorate, known as the Provinces Directorate, controls the FPS headquarters in each of the remaining 14 provinces. The total FPS force consisted of a combination of approximately 17,000 police and 77,000 contractors.

In March 2010, the PM publicly announced that all FPS contractors that met MoI hiring standards will be hired as full-time IP. This mandate, if executed, will resolve a 50% pay disparity between the full-time IP and their contractor counterparts, and is projected to increase morale of the force. Also in March 2010, the PM directed a consolidation of all security and facility protection personnel in the Ministry of Industry (with 12,000 facilities protection personnel) and the Baghdad Municipality (with 4,000 facilities protection personnel) into the FPS by the end of 2010. This would bring the FPS total force to approximately 110,000 personnel.

Training the force had been one of the largest challenges for the FPS. The FPS was not funded for training contractors. Therefore, the only members of the force that had received any formal BRT are the permanent IPs. To mitigate this training deficiency in the short term, ITAM advisors assisted FPS and MoI to secure special funding to allow the training of 4,000 contractors. This training began at DBE Training Centers in February 2010.

CPA Order 27 established the Facilities Protection Service (FPS) on September 4, 2003. It allowed the individual ministries, including the Ministry of Defense (MOD), to raise their own guard forces, subject to the administrative guidance of the MOI. These forces were not part of the MOI, with the exception of that ministry’s own FPS. The CPA order permitted other ministries to employ contract security forces for this purpose. Ministries with larger budgets and vulnerable facilities, such as oil and electricity, exercised this option. By the time the CPA transferred sovereignty to the Iraqis in June 2004, there were nearly 75,000 members of the FPS.

In practice, the FPS remained a loose confederation of mainly contract security guards … at the 27 Iraqi ministries. Increasingly, many ministries have resisted central authority over their guard forces, particularly as the political parties that have gained control over many of the ministries used the FPS as an employment opportunity for loyal militia.

As of early August 2003 more than 4,000 Iraqis had been hired to be security guards with the Facility Protection Service. As of mid-October 2003 about 20,000 members of the new Facility Protection Service were guarding more than 240 critical sites. In the An Najaf area, two hundred one facility protection service guards graduated from security training on 03 July 2003. Sixty-seven guards will work at oil and gas facilities and 134 will work at hospitals.

The FPS are paid on either on a contract basis or according to a civil pay scale which is lower than that of the Police or the New Iraqi Army. The FPS' uniforms consists of light grey shirts with brassards, which if worn, clearly indicate the letters 'FPS' and the Iraqi flag. FPS members may also wear dark blue pants, a leather belt, and a grey beret. They are armed with AKs. The FPS' vehicles are provided by the Ministries.

The 2nd Squadron of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment handed over security of the Al-Thawra district of Baghdad, a generally low-income neighborhood formerly known as Saddam City, to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and the new Facility Protection Service (FPS) during a transfer of authority ceremony 09 August 2003. The 2-2nd ACR selected and screened the FPS applicants for the best-qualified personnel. After employing the best-qualified civilians, the 2-2nd ACR then implemented a three-day training course. This course focused on individual and vehicle searches, ethics and human rights, and weapons proficiency. The two-day training included hand-to-hand combat, weapons familiarization, and conducting proper vehicle and person searches. The women were also given lessons on ethics, professional conduct and personal interaction. The class concluded with a written exam.

The Facilities Protection Service, charged with protecting Iraq's strategic infrastructure, government buildings and cultural and educational assets, has more than doubled since November 2003. As of 15 February 2004, there were more than 70,000 guards on duty.

Erinys Iraq Ltd is the private security company hired to protect Iraq's oil pipelines under a US$40 million contract awarded in August 2003. Erinys Iraq is an affiliate of Erinys International formed in 2001, landed the Iraq contract to supply and train 6,500 armed guards charged with protecting 140 Iraqi oil wells, 7,000 kilometers of pipelines and refineries, as well as power plants and the water supply for the Iraqi Ministry of Oil. A majority of Erinys' workforce (15,000 Iraqi and 350 international staff) in Iraq are Kurdish peshmerga. It seeks to deter attacks on oil infrastructure through an overt presence, aerial surveillance and liaison. Operational control of the Oil Protection Force (OPF) is exercised by Erinys, not Task Force Shield (TFS). TFS is not overseen by the Corps of Engineers (GRD), but is part of MNF-I. Erinys Regional Operations are located in Mosul, Kirkuk, Baghdad and Basrah. The contract for aerial surveillance granted in December 2003 was awarded to Erinys Iraq, which awarded a subcontract to Florida-based AirScan Inc for aerial surveillance of the pipelines in support of Erinys. AirScan provides night air surveillance of the pipeline and oil infrastructure,using low-light television cameras.

Increasingly, U.S. and Interior Ministry officials described the FPS units as militias. Each unit answered only to the ministry or private security firm that employs it. This is due to a on order by the Provisional Government headed by Paul Bremer that put the ministerial guards under the command and pay of the ministries they protected, and not the defense or interior ministries. Ministries were carved out along largely sectarian lines, with many under the control of Shiite religious parties that lead Iraq's government.

Interior Minister Bayan Jabr called the FPS "out of control" in Spring of 2006. U.S. officials training Iraq's security forces say they have no more control over the FPS than the Interior Ministry does. "Negative. None. Zero," said Lt. Col. Michael J. Negard, a spokesman for the U.S. training of Iraqi forces. Though acknowledging that death squads were a problem in the Interior Ministry Jabr stated that FPS is also a problem and has uniforms and vehicles very close that those of the Interior Ministry.

Facility Protection Services personnel were suspected of committing at least some of the sectarian killings that have plagued the country in 2006. "The FPS have the same uniforms, weapons and vehicles [as the regular police], and they are not controlled by either the Ministry of Interior or Defense," Iraqi Interior Minister Bayan Jabr told Newsweek. U.S. officials also confirm that the FPS is a problem. Newsweek magazine reported in April 2006 that the unit has expanded to as many as 146,000 members, with no single centralized control.

On May 6, 2006 an agreement was reached with the private security companies that pay the salaries of the FPS and the Interior Ministry. The goal of the proposals is to achieve central control of the FPS according to Gen. Raad al-Tamimi of the Interior Ministry but negotiations are still ongoing and no comprehensive plan has been reached. The security companies agreed to bring the FPS under ministry supervision. Ongoing negotiations would bring the FPS under the same Interior Ministry command as the national police but with slightly different uniforms, Tamimi said. The agreement includes the provision that the Interior Ministry issue badges and distinctive seals for the vehicles of the FPS and supervise the kinds of weapons it uses. The security companies and the ministry also clarified that FPS members were and still are liable for prosecution for any crimes.

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Page last modified: 12-01-2012 18:11:27 ZULU