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Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq

June 2007
Report to Congress
In accordance with the
Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2007
(Section 9010, Public Law 109-289)

Section 2-Iraqi Security Forces Training and Performance

2.3 Ministry of Defense

The Iraqi Ministry of Defense (MoD) forces consist of the Joint Headquarters (JHQ), the IGFC (which commands the Army), the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF), the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy (including Marines). The Iraqi military has an authorized strength of approximately 175,000 personnel15 and is centered on an Army with nine infantry divisions, one mechanized infantry division, and associated combat support units. Two additional infantry divisions are in development as part of Prime Minister Maliki's Expansion Initiative. The Iraqi Air Force consists of six squadrons; the Navy has two squadrons and a Marine battalion.

Ministry of Defense Transition

As of May 14, 2007, nine Division Headquarters, 31 Brigade Headquarters, and 95 Iraqi Army battalions had assumed the lead for counterinsurgency operations (COIN) within their assigned areas of operation. The Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC) had assumed command and control of eight of 10 Iraqi Army divisions (the 5th and 7th Divisions remain under the operational control of MNC-I). The MoD, through the JHQ, has assumed responsibility for support and sustainment planning for these divisions as well as for forces transferring to JHQ command and control in the future. The 6th and 9th Divisions have subsequently been subordinated to the MoD's Baghdad Operations Command as part of FAQ. By November 2007, the IGFC is expected to gain operational control of all ten Army divisions of the Objective Counterinsurgency Force. While these forces are increasingly professional, within many military units, tribal and ethno-sectarian loyalties remain strong and often are the basis for relationships between key officers in units and higher-level authorities who are not always in the direct chain of command.

Capacity Development

Overall, the MoD is assessed as being partially effective at managing ministry functions such as personnel management, budgeting, acquisitions and contracting, and plans and policies. However, fielded forces often do not get the support they require without substantial Coalition assistance; the MoD is, however, showing incremental progress in some areas. For example, new life-support contracts for the Iraqi Joint Forces were successfully awarded, ensuring no break in service as new contractors took over. Moreover, the MoD has just completed an exercise to determine, codify and prioritize its 2007 capability requirements in support of agreed Defense policy objectives. There are still deficiencies in the Ministry, particularly in the bureaucratic process for the approval for commitment of funds. To mitigate this and allow time for the processes to mature, the MoD is pursuing the bulk of its acquisition and sustainment requirements through U.S. FMS cases, particularly for new units. More than US$1.6 billion in MoD 2006 funds already has been transferred to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency's trust fund account, and contracts to procure some of the equipment and services that MoD has requested have been established. In accordance with the 2007 capability requirements, an additional US$1.1 billion worth of FMS cases is being developed, requested and approved with MoD 2007 funds. This will build upon previous achievements, including the development and implementation of the 2007 Capabilities Requirements Plan. The MoD is "on track" to deliver the 2008 Capabilities Requirements Plan to the Directorate of Programs and Budgets for preparation of the 2008 Budget. In addition, efforts to further build MoD capacity will be enhanced by its new Civil Service Staff Development Center; construction of this facility began on March 11. This training institution will help develop the professional skills of critical junior- and mid-level bureaucrats who perform the staff work required for day-to-day operations of the ministry. The DoD and the MoD have entered into discussions on the development of an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement for the reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services on a reimbursable basis.

Embedded Advisory Support

Transition Teams (TTs) are embedded within the MoD, the Joint Headquarters and in the forces with most battalions and brigade and division headquarters. Most of the teams at the unit level are comprised of about 10 personnel. At the national level, there are two teams that have about 50 personnel each, one for the civilian leadership of the ministry and one for the Joint Headquarters (JHQ). The MoD Transition Team (TT) advises the civilian Iraqi MoD leadership and staff. The team currently consists of civilian advisors from the U.S., UK, and Australia. Since 2004, the MoD TT has been led by an SESlevel UK MoD civil servant. The MoD TT consists of some 50 civilian advisors assisted by five U.S. military personnel. U.S. civilian contractors form the majority of the MoD TT; however, approximately 25% of the MoD TT consists of government civil servant advisors from Coalition partners (United Kingdom and Australia). The only two USG civilians currently assigned to the team are from the Department of Defense Inspector General. An Australian General Officer leads the TT that advises the Joint Headquarters (JHQ). At the JHQ TT, U.S. military personnel comprise about half of the advisors and the rest are split roughly between U.S. civilian contractors and military personnel from other Coalition countries. Both TTs report to MNSTC-I and provide mentoring support to senior officials in developing the Iraqi capacity to manage key ministerial functions.

To enhance the Iraqi Army's operational unit logistic capabilities, the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) is partnered with Iraqi logistics units and MNSTC-I's Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT) and has teams embedded at the Taji National Depot to develop the national supply chain. Altogether, MNSTC-I has oversight of approximately 60 transition teams assigned to assist in logistics and sustainment.

Logistics and Sustainment

MoD's continued limited logistic and sustainment capacity is a key hindrance to Iraqi forces' ability to assume missions from the Coalition. The MoD requires significant Coalition assistance, especially in warehouse/ depot and transportation/distribution operations. Development and implementation of MoD strategic logistics policy is maturing via the combined Coalition-Iraqi logistics policy implementation committee.

Throughout 2007, DoD will focus on developing the MoD's capabilities in the areas of fuel supply, maintenance, budget, material management, self-sustainment, ammunition, medical equipment, supply accountability, and national warehouse operations. DoD's FY 2007 War on Terror Supplemental appropriation request seeks additional funding to support this effort.

  • Although the Iraqi Army's Headquarters and Service Companies (HSCs) are gaining some capability, Coalition forces and MNC-I logistics units will continue to partner and mentor, particularly to assist in emergency situations. The Joint Headquarters Deputy Chief of Staff for Support was recently appointed by the Minister of Defense for a 90-day probationary period and a site has been selected for the Support Command headquarters.
  • The MoD still receives fuel allocations from the Ministry of Oil (MoO) below required levels. Coalition forces are currently providing Iraqi forces less than 10% of their fuel requirements, and then only in extremis when missions are at risk of failure. Using a third fourth-line transportation contract, the MoD is assuming greater responsibility for moving supplies, soldiers and equipment. Currently, the MoD provides all life support to its fighting force through contracts.
  • The MoD continues to make purchases of sustainment supplies and equipment- such as M4s, M16s, M203s, and supporting ammunition- through FMS cases. This will continue to serve as a bridge solution until ministry-level budget management and procurement functions mature. The first shipments of 2,304 M4s and 27,238 M16A4s were received during this reporting period.
  • Equipment accountability is improving. The IGFC has ordered all units under its control to conduct 100% equipment inventories. MNSTC-I and the MoD continue to issue missioncritical items to the Iraqi armed forces, such as up-armored HMMWVs, wheeled APCs, heavy machine guns, and fuel trucks.
  • MNSTC-I is currently working with the MoD to transfer maintenance capabilities to the Iraqi Army. The MoD will fund a contract through an FMS sustainment case planned for June 1, 2007 to continue third-line maintenance on a regional basis at nine locations. A joint Iraqi/Coalition forces board will monitor progress to determine when the MoD can take over some of the maintenance tasks being performed by the contractor. The MoD has agreed, in principle, to fund the National Maintenance Contract through May 2008 using an FMS case. Total cost of the maintenance support contracts to be assumed by the MoD is estimated to be US$160 million.
  • The current concept for the Iraqi military medical system includes 15 active Primary Healthcare Centers (PHCs), plans for Forward Surgical Teams (FST) at three locations, and two major hospital projects. Twelve clinics are open and have seen over 114,000 patients in the last year. The MoD has fully funded medical needs for FY07 with a US$32 million budget, which includes funds for an FMS case for a field hospital. MNSTC-I has funded all initial medical Class VIII supply needs and MoD has funded the growing need for care as assessed by the Iraqi Surgeon General. Coalition Air Forces Transition Team is reviewing whether an aerial medical evacuation system to assist in moving patients is needed.

Force Generation

The MoD's institutional training base accounts for basic and military occupational specialty training for soldier, squad leader, platoon sergeant, sergeant major and warrant officer courses for non-commissioned officers, and initial-entry cadet and staff officer training for the officer corps. As these personnel move to their units, embedded transition teams and partner units directed by MNC-I oversee and mentor collective training in counterinsurgency-oriented mission-essential tasks. The high operational tempo of many units makes it difficult for them to sustain their initial training proficiency.

MNSTC-I has funded the equipping of 18,000 new soldiers who have been trained as replacements for personnel losses from the last three years. MNSTC-I is also funding a 12,000 soldier increase in the manning of combat units to 110% of current authorizations to improve present-for-duty strength. 10,300 of these soldiers have completed initial training, and within weeks of publication of this report the remaining 1,700 are expected to have completed initial training. This program will continue as a steady-state force generation effort that maintains strength levels and replaces combat losses.

The Iraqi government is funding a separate US$800 million increase in the Army's structure from 10 to 12 divisions by adding approximately 24,000 soldiers. These additional units will increase the MoD's ability to command and control its forces, enhance its operational and tactical flexibility and allow units to retrain and refit. MoD is procuring much of the equipment for these new units through DoD FMS cases.

A major reason for this force expansion is that only about 65% of authorized personnel are present for duty in fielded units at any time, and this percentage varies widely among units. As described in previous reports, the greatest contributor to the difference between authorized strength and present-for-duty strength is a policy that places about one-quarter of all soldiers on leave at any time to take pay home to their families. Across the Iraqi Army, Iraqi divisions facing sustained combat operations within their normal operational area report absent without leave rates to be between 5% and 8%. In addition, the Iraqi military justice laws are nearing completion in the legislative process. The law containing penal provisions was recently approved by the Iraqi Presidency and is being forwarded to the MoJ for publication in the official Gazette; it becomes law 60 days after publication. The law establishing courts-martial and disciplinary proceedings has not yet received Presidency Council approval, but it is expected in two to three months. Implementation of these laws will provide Iraqi commanders with a tool to deal fairly and effectively with absenteeism and desertion.

Partnering with the Joint Headquarters for force generation of Iraqi Army units was initiated in January 2007. Iraqi staff officers in the JHQ are assuming responsibility from MNSTC-I and are synchronizing the recruiting, training, manning, equipping, basing and forming of new Army units. This partnership is proving successful and as of May 2007 the Iraqis are in the lead. MNSTCI will continue to mentor, partner and train JHQ force generation personnel for the foreseeable future.


The Iraqi Army is central to the MoD's counterinsurgency operations and strategy. The Army component of the Objective Counterinsurgency Force consists of 131,300 soldiers and officers organized into 36 brigades and 112 battalions. The Prime Minister's Expansion Plan increases the Army by two division HQs, six brigade HQs, and 24 battalions. Nine Motorized Transportation Regiments (MTRs), four logistics battalions, two support battalions, five Regional Support Units, and 80 Garrison Support Units provide logistics and support for divisions with the Taji National Depot providing depot-level maintenance and re-supply. Headquarters and Service Companies provide logistical and maintenance support for each battalion, brigade and division. The Army also supports a Special Operations Forces (ISOF) Brigade and three Strategic Infrastructure Brigade headquarters commanding 17 Strategic Infrastructure Battalions (SIBs). The Prime Minister has directed that these 17 SIB's go through a two phased re-training and equipping process to transform them into regular Iraqi Army Battalions. These battalions will have special skills directed towards infrastructure protection and consequence management. In addition, as part of Iraqi security force analysis, the GoI has determined the need to generate two more battalions with these skills in the 3rd Iraqi Army (IA) Division's area of operation. Efforts to improve the capability of these units are led by Military Transition Teams, with U.S. and other Coalition officers and soldiers embedded in each battalion, brigade and division headquarters and at IGFC headquarters and at JHQ.

MOD Forces' Assessed Capabilities

National Counter-Terror Capability

Implementation of the national counterterrorism capability concept is on track to meet Full Operational Capability by December 2007. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for communications was achieved at the MOD Joint Headquarters, Counter Terrorism (CT) Command, and the ISOF Brigade headquarters in March as scheduled. Each element has communications connectivity on the Iraqi Defense Network with phone, email and VTC capabilities. The CT Bureau achieved IOC in April. The GoI is assigning personnel to work in the CT Bureau and Command with the Commanding General and Deputy Commander already selected. Individual skills training of the members of the CT Command began in April. Collective training will begin in May upon the arrival of a MiTT. The ISOF Brigade headquarters MiTT continues to train the Iraqi command and staff personnel on functions required to enhance operational capability. The ISOF Brigade is the operational component of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Command and is composed of approximately 1,500 soldiers organized into a counter-terrorism battalion, a commando battalion, a support battalion and a special reconnaissance unit. ISOF expansion activities for the addition of one commando battalion with regionally based companies in Basrah, Mosul, and Al Asad continue with site renovations. ISOF are recruiting and training new personnel to fill the new unit. The first deployment of commandos to Basrah will occur in May 2007. Deployments to Mosul and Al Asad are scheduled to occur in May and July 2007, respectively.


The Iraqi Navy has approximately 1,100 trained sailors and marines organized into an operational headquarters, two afloat-squadrons and four marine companies that are stationed for point defense of the offshore oil platforms together with Coalition Forces. It will grow to 2,500 personnel as the acquisition program progresses. The expansion will include the procurement of 21 naval vessels, including two offshore support vessels, four patrol ships, 15 patrol boats and a number of smaller vessels. Contracts for the purchase of the offshore support vessels, patrol ships and three of the patrol boats are complete. Each of the contracts is currently delayed as there are minor negotiation issues concerning exchange rates and taxes. It is anticipated that these issues will be resolved with an in-service date of late 2008. Notably, all contracts were completed using Iraqi processes and money. The approved MoD 2007 Capabilities Plan supports modernization and expansion of capabilities.

The Iraqi Navy faces significant challenges in meeting the individual and collective training needs for its ambitious acquisition program, including development of leadership and technical skills. Training efforts include mentorship conducted by the Naval Transition Team and active skills training conducted by Coalition Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard Forces. Infrastructure development will remain the primary effort throughout 2007. Naval planning is maturing and coherent across acquisition, training and infrastructure lines of development extending to 2010.

Air Force

There are currently more than 900 personnel in the Iraqi Air Force. A concentrated recruitment and accession effort is underway to field 3,285 airmen by the end of 2007. The Air Force is organized and equipped for counterinsurgency operations. Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft are currently located at Kirkuk Air Base (three Squadrons with one Cessna 208B Caravan and four SAMA CH-2000s) and Basrah Air Base (70 Squadron with four SAMA CH-2000s and two Sea Bird Seeker SB7L-360s). Each unit performs daily operational missions over Baghdad and key national infrastructure locations supplying actionable intelligence for both Iraqi and Coalition Ground forces. The intelligence gathered during these flights has provided timely evidence of Baghdad perimeter security breaches and infiltration by insurgent forces. Iraqi crews have passed this information to deployed Iraqi ground forces for interdiction. As described in previous reports, Iraq's capabilities to conduct airborne ISR are being further enhanced with additional procurements of interim and advanced platforms. The first of three Cessna Caravan interim ISR aircraft arrived this quarter giving the Iraqi Air Force an enhanced day and night capability, once initial and mission qualification training is completed.

The fielding of rotary-wing aircraft continued with the delivery to Taji of five modified UH II (Iroquois) helicopters, bringing the total delivered to 10. The final six are scheduled to arrive in June. Aircrews are currently conducting initial qualification and tactics training. The Iroquois fleet is expected to reach initial operating capability by the end of June 2007. The primary mission for these aircraft is battlefield mobility and casualty evacuation.

The first 10 MoD-procured Mi-17 helicopters are still not operationally employed due to defensive system shortfalls. The IqAF has addressed this need with a US$6 million defensive system contract with a scheduled delivery of the first system suites 90 days after payment. An additional four Mi-17s will arrive in May with the full defensive suites installed. The initial operational capability of the Mi-17 will occur in the third quarter of 2007 after night and tactics training are complete. The MoD has ordered a total of 28 Mi-17s with final delivery scheduled for December 2007.

The 23 Squadron at New Al Muthana Air Base has three 1960s vintage C-130E aircraft. Iraqi Air Force technicians perform all routine maintenance and all-Iraqi flight crews are generally the norm. The maturity of the 23 Squadron has enabled a reduction in the number of U.S. Air Force MiTT personnel assigned to the unit. Consistent with the Coalition Air Force Transition Team's force generation plan, the MoD has requested an additional three Excess Defense Article C- 130s from the USG to bring the squadron size to a more optimal six aircraft.


The Iraqi police and military forces continued to grow this quarter in fulfillment of the Prime Minister's initiative. The ministries made some progress in developing capacity to manage these forces, in particular in taking ownership of basic training. Continued efforts will be required to build the capacity of the forces and the ministries to sustain themselves without Coalition support and to operate independently without the full range of Coalition combat enablers.

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