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Directorate of Border Enforcement
Iraqi Border Police / Department of Border Enforcement

The DBE was tasked with securing and protecting Iraq’s international borders from unlawful entry of both personnel and materiel. DBE’s key tasks include: fixed-point surveillance from border forts and annexes; security patrolling between fixed sites and ports of entry; interdiction of personnel, goods, and equipment in the international border regions and the coastal area; and detention, processing, and exploitation of foreign fighters and contraband.

as of 2010 the DBE was organized into five regions with 14 brigade headquarters, 45 line-battalions assigned to sections of the Iraqi border, and one Coastal Border Guard battalion. There are eight Commando Battalions throughout Iraq, which serve as mobile reaction forces for each regional commander.

The DBE was moving forward to address manpower and infrastructure requirements to adequately provide reconnaissance and surveillance along Iraq’s borders. The DBE was authorized 45,550 personnel, and as of March 2010, had approximately 40,000 personnel assigned. The DBE’s personnel strength had continued to drop consistently from its peak of 41,000 in July 2009. This was a result of the current hiring freeze, which had been in effect since 2008. This trend would continue until the MoI permitted the DBE to begin hiring against its existing shortfalls. The DBE operated from 366 forts and 291 annexes. In addition to these existing facilities, there were 31 forts and 79 annexes scheduled for completion between May and December 2010. The DBE’s plan was to build one fort or annex every 5 km along the border to ensure continuous, mutually-supporting surveillance capabilities. However, the existing manning level was insufficient to support this increased capability. The MoI and DBE leadership anticipated requirements will increase to roughly 60,700 personnel over the two years from 2010 to 2012.

In November 2009, the DBE approved a $50 million FMS case to install a border surveillance system along 286 km of the border between Iraq and Syria, and to install 402 km along the Iranian border. Once complete, the border surveillance system would provide persistent observation of the border area with day and night video surveillance. Additionally, a $181 million FMS construction case began in January 2010 on a network of roads along the Syrian and Iranian border to improve both the mobility of the DBE and the HQ’s ability to sustain forces in remote areas. The DBE was not fully resourced to meet its reconnaissance and surveillance requirements, but was progressing through investment in equipment and infrastructure.

Directorate of Border Enforcement [DBE]

The Directorate of Border Enforcement [DBE] and Ports of Entry Directorate (PoED) continued in their respective responsibilities to protect Iraq’s 3,631 kilometers of international borders and 28 air, land, and sea ports of entry (PoEs) to prevent smuggling, sabotage, and infiltration activities. These organizations continue to enforce compliance with international treaties and protocols, with respect to international agreements and boundaries.

In 2003 under the Coalition Provisional Authority, The Department of Justice, through the Criminal Division’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), stood up the Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement (DBE), consisting of both border and customs police. Operating under the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (now known as the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission), ICITAP’s border security program helped build the capacity of the DBE to effectively control Iraq’s land and sea borders and ports of entry. ICITAP helped develop a national border security strategy and facilitated the U.S. Department of Homeland Security audits of the ports and DBE academies. ICITAP also standardized the curriculum and training of Iraqi instructors at the four DBE training academies, where more than 27,000 border security personnel received training.

The United States funded the construction of 258 border forts along Iraq’s borders. Work on these forts started in March of 2004 when a Marine engineer group hired contractors to build the first of theforts in Anbar Province. Work progressed slowly, with fifty-one of the forts completedin January of 2005 and 160 completed by the end of the same year. raqi contractorscompleted all but three of the forts (in the Sulaymaniah, Diyala, Wasit, Maysan, Basrah, Muthana, Najaf, Anbar, and Ninewa Provinces) by August 2006. The Department of Border Enforcement uses the forts as “mini forward operating bases” with twenty to forty border police working from each fort at any given time. Each 500 square meter fort contains the basic necessities that an Iraqi border unit needs to exist for a multi-week rotation at the fort. The forts were built twenty to thirty kilometers apart, depending upon the terrain between sites. These distances require vehicular patrolling to cover all of the ground in between the forts.

By late 2006, the Department of Border Enforcement grew to its full size of 28,100. The Department of Border Enforcement forces were divided into thirty eight battalions (organized under twelve brigades) working in five regions. Coalition troops trained (and continued to train) Department of Border Enforcement troops in three different academies throughout Iraq. According to an August 2006 Department of Defense report to Congress, the Department of Border Enforcement received 81 percentof its equipment, with the remainder expected to be delivered by the end of the year. ICITAP’s Border Security program was completed in 2009.

By the end of 2009 the DBE was organized into five regions, with 13 brigades and 51 battalions, in addition to the Coastal Border Guard, which was under the command of Region 4 located in Basrah. There were 7 DBE battalions that are mobile commando battalions under the command of the regional commanders. Although the DBE was authorized approximately 45,500 personnel by the MoI, the force was envisioned to expand to more than 60,000 by 2012. Staffing was adequate to perform the basics of the border control mission. However, with the ongoing construction of border forts and annexes, the DBE saw a need for more personnel to staff these locations. The DBE has adequately addressed the shortfall in basic recruit training over the last sixth months. All but 50 personnel have completed certification training and the remainder was scheduled for a fall course.

The PoED was responsible for administration and security of 13 land PoEs throughout Iraq, as well as having some presence at the six air PoEs and five seaports. An additional four PoEs in the KRG are not recognized or managed by the GoI. As of late 2009 the PoED still did not have authority over the numerous tenant ministry organizations at the PoEs, its own operating and maintenance budget, or independent oversight of future construction efforts. In order to enhance vehicle screening capabilities, the GoI was in the last stages of selecting non-intrusive inspection equipment (NIIE) with X-ray capabilities for Iraq’s land PoEs. Purchase and implementation of the NIIE will significantly reduce illegal crossborder transfers of contraband items and weapons, leading to increased security throughout the nation.

By 2010 there were still a number of challenges that must be overcome; the most significant was increasing the effectiveness of the DBE and PoED sustainment systems. Poor management and the lack fuel supply, electricity generation, and maintenance have hampered all aspects of border and PoE operations. In addition, the DBE and PoED are combating reported incidents of corruption, with ongoing ethics training for employees, re-assignment of personnel between PoEs, and routine swapping of DBE unit areas of operation on the borders.

Port of Entry Directorate

The PoED was the security force and administrative support element to 14 air and land PoEs within the MoI, responsible for securing PoEs from internal and external threats and for coordinating GoI Ministerial support to the land PoEs. The PoED does not have a presence at the KRG PoEs on the Turkish and Iranian borders, or at the five sea PoEs. The land PoEs in the KRG are administered by the 1st Region DBE as well as the KMoI.

The PoED did not have authority over the numerous tenant ministry organizations located at each of the PoEs. In many cases, there can be up to 18 different ministries working at a land port, making coordination and efficient port operation very difficult. By mid-2010, the General Director of the PoED was in talks with both the MoI and the CoM to grant the Port Directors at the land PoEs authority over all ministerial elements that work at the PoEs. The PoED was also working through the MoI and the GoI to be approved for a budget to help pay for equipment maintenance, building upgrades, and fuel for generators.

Infrastructure at the PoEs was another concern. Numerous land PoEs had been identified and named by the General Director of the PoED to be either rebuilt or refurbished in order to allow PoE facilities to be operated more efficiently and effectively in deterring threats and generating revenue. PoED personnel, in conjunction with USF-I advisors, used the FMS process to design and fund the Model PoE. The Model PoE plans have been vetted and approved not only by the PoED, but also by the tenant GoI ministries that operate out of the PoEs, and had been approved by the USACE. Currently, the MoI, with USF-I assistance, was working through FMS funding in order to start rebuilding one of the land PoEs as a proof of concept and planning for additional funds for the other nine land PoEs.

There was a systemic lack of electricity at many of the PoEs, causing downtime, lost commerce, a reluctance to adopt electronic systems, and a recurring dependence upon emergency generation sources or neighboring countries. The General Director of the PoED and USF-I personnel tried repeatedly to get the MoE to get adequate power generation at the land PoEs in order to mitigate this issue. Most PoEs also lacked adequate sources of drinking water and must rely on water trucks, often from neighboring countries, to fill water tanks. However, the GoI and USF-I made great strides in getting clean, reliable water supplies out to the land PoEs using water purification units and other techniques.

Iraqi Border Police

The Iraqi Border Police was tasked with guarding the six international borders of Iraq. The number of Iraqi border police and immigration and customs inspectors also almost doubled, from 12,000 in November 2003 to approximately 23,000 by February 2004. In August 2004 the Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement, as part of the Iraqi government's continuing effort to provide peace and security to the citizens of Iraq, established a new and comprehensive training program that will produce a fully trained, equipped, and professional force of 11,000 officers by the end of December 2004. The program, under construction with Coalition and US Department of Homeland Security assistance, will call for the initial training of 600 border enforcement officers and an additional 72 Iraqi trainers capable of teaching future iterations in their respective disciplines.

Classes kicked off in Amman, Jordan, at the Jordan International Police Training Center 01 September 2004. It was the most important problem for Iraq. The borders are open ports for enemies and weapons to come into the country. The Iraqis have got to be able to secure the borders and stabilize the country before any progress can be made. The concept was to not only establish a program of instruction, but to develop lesson plans tailored to fit each region in Iraq.

The plan called for 600 personnel to be trained every four weeks in a respective discipline within the border enforcement area of responsibility. The department handled customs and immigration duties in addition to border security responsibilities. The course for Iraqi trainers was a nine-week course and would produce 72 additional instructors after each iteration. Instructors were dispatched to the five regional training centers located within each major subordinate command in Iraq. By mid-November 2004 the first 72 trainers were ready to commence training at the regional level. The goal at that time was to eventually stand up a force of 37,000 border enforcement officers. An end-goal date had yet to be established.

Course work included instruction in technical and non-technical inspections, custom tariff collections, evidence processing, legal considerations, anti-smuggling techniques, ethics, and various supervisory and support staff skills for customs, border police, and immigration personnel. The training effort eventually moved to Iraq with accommodations for the Department of Border Enforcement at the Baghdad Public Service Academy and the opening of regional academies co-located with Iraqi Police Service academies in Kirkuk, Mosul, and Basra.

Upon the openings, training efforts at the major subordinate command training facilities also moved to the new sites. Iraq planned to eventually deploy 251 border forts equipped with state-of-the-art security equipment including night-vision capabilities, unattended ground sensors, and closed-circuit television, camera, and multiplexer equipment.

Members of the Border Police wore khaki shirts and navy trousers. This uniform was due to change to a full khaki uniform.

As of June 2005, more than 15,500 Border Police had been trained. The Border Police received training in small unit patrolling, vehicle search, personnel search, rights of the individual, life saving, Iraqi Border Law, handling of detainees, and weapons. Border police equipment includes Chevy Luv pick-up trucks, mid-size SUVs, Nissan pick-up trucks, AK 47s, PKC machine guns, Glock pistols, HF radios, and body armor.

As of 2005, the ISF did not have a system in place to track the Border Police’s readiness and capabilities. The goal was for each member and station to be equipped with mission-essential equipment. No estimate existed on the percentage of desertion and absenteeism, although it was known that the Border Police had experienced a significant rate of attrition. The extent of insurgent infiltration varied by province. In some areas of the border, there appeared to be a high level of insurgent infiltration.

The effectiveness of the Border Police officer cadres and the chain of command varies widely but was generally moderate to low. An effort has been ongoing to energize the Border Police leadership and recruit for the Border Police Academy.





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