US Forces - Iraq (USF-I) Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I)
In a ceremony on 15 December 2011, the colors of US Forces - Iraq (USF-I) were formally cased, marking the formal end of military operations in Iraq.
US Forces - Iraq (USF-I) advised, trained, assisted, and equiped Iraqi Security Forces, enabling them to provide for internal security while building a foundation capability to defend against external threats.
US Forces - Iraq (USF-I) was first established on 15 May 2004 as Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I). MNF-I was established due to concerns that had existed for some period of time, most importantly that the Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7) headquarters was not sufficient to handle the range of military operations in Iraq, including peace support, civil military operations, and at the same time conduct strategic engagement, such as talking to the sheiks and talking to the political authorities. Those were typically functions that were performed by 2 different headquarters. Two new commands, MNF-I and Multi-National Corps - Iraq (MNC-I), were formed to resolve these concerns.
Congressional testimony on 13 May 2004 indicated that after 30 June 2004 the US forces in Iraq would report to the US commander of the MNF-I, who would in turn report to the President through the military chain of command. This information appeared to be somewhat inaccurate as the command was activated on 15 May 2004 and replaced CJTF-7.
The command was said to be a 4-star multinational command able to provide greater command and control capacity, not only for coalition forces, but also for Iraqi forces over time. As of 17 May 2004, it was not clear if the command would be led by a 4-star general, as all available information indicated that Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez, who headed CJTF-7, would lead MNF-I. MNF-I, and subsequently USF-I were, in fact, eventually led by a 4-star general.
MNF-I's mission was to conduct offensive operations to defeat remaining non-compliant forces and neutralize destabilizing influences in Iraq in order to create a secure environment. Multi-National Force - Iraq organized, trained, equipped, mentored, and certified credible and capable Iraqi security forces in order to transition responsibility for security from coalition forces to Iraqi forces. Concurrently, it conducted stability operations to support the establishment of government, the restoration of essential services, and economic development in order to set the conditions for a transfer of sovereignty to designated follow-on authorities. To support these missions, MNF-I consisted of both MNC-I and the Multi-National Security Transition Command - Iraq (MNSTC-I). MNC-I was focused to support the warfighting operations with its five Mulit-National Divisions. MNSTC-I was focused to support assistance to the new Iraqi government and its security forces.
In January 2010, both MNC-I and MNSTC-I were inactivated and merged with MNF-I. MNF-I was concurrently reorganized and redesignated as US Forces - Iraq (USF-I). The new command consisted of 3 regional warfighting commands based on the previous Multi-National Divisions: US Division - North (USD-N), US Division - Center (USD-C), and US Division - South (USD-S). In addition, USF-I exercised operational command and control over Joint Base Balad and 3 US Air Force expeditionary units: 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force - Iraq, 321st Air Expeditionary Wing, and 322nd Air Expeditionary Wing.