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Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq

September 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

2.1 Assessed Capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces

Approximately 359,600 Iraqis have been trained and equipped through the primarily U.S.-funded programs for the Objective Counterinsurgency Force and the Objective Civil Security Force against a 2007 year-end objective of approximately 389,400. This includes approximately 22,100 of a planned 32,000 expansion of personnel who have received basic training as part of the 20% manning increase for the Iraqi Army requested by Prime Minister Maliki. An additional 7,200 of a planned 24,000 military personnel increase and 5,900 of a planned 6,500 police personnel increase have been trained as part of Prime Minister Maliki’s replenishment initiative.

Given the persistent violence caused by insurgents, terrorists, and illegal militias, the Ministries of Defense (MoD) and Interior (MoI) and their forces require continued advisory support, training, development, and equipping to be able to progressively assume missions from Coalition forces. The efforts of embedded advisors are focused on addressing continued shortcomings in logistics, leadership, and budget execution that hamper improvement, and in certain cases, cause regression in the readiness and capability of the Ministries and their military and police units. MoD logistics from tactical to strategic levels, and MoI logistics at the strategic level, are fragile and not capable of independent execution. The provision of tactical leadership and true institutional capacity for informed decision making continue to be a focus for the Multi- National Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I). Tactical leadership within Iraqi units is improving, but numbers of proficient leaders, especially in the field and NCO grades, are not, as the growth in the Iraqi military and police force structure outpaces efforts to identify, recruit and develop leaders. The MoD’s and MoI’s underspending of their budgets is a manifestation of a developing decision-making processes. As previously reported, the GoI is making a substantial effort to address procurement and contracting problems within the MoD and MoI by very aggressively committing procurement funds to equipping and sustaining Iraqi forces through the use of U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS). Prime Minister Maliki is extending the US$1.72 billion in 2006 funds committed for FMS with an additional US$1.6 billion in 2007 funds, of which US$1.1 billion is for MoD and US$500 million is for MoI.

Coalition efforts to build the capacity of the Iraqi MoD and MoI and their respective forces continue to focus on four major areas: (1) developing ministerial capacity; (2) improving the proficiency of military and police forces through the assistance of embedded advisors and partnership unit relationships; (3) building the logistic, sustainment and training capacity of the MoD and MoI; and (4) supporting expansion of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a National Police (NP) Samarra (Al Askarien) brigade through the Prime Minister’s Initiative. The existing Iraqi-run training centers continue to operate at full capacity to achieve these replenishment goals. Military Transition Teams (MiTTs) and National Police Transition Teams (NPTTs) consisting of over 6,000 advisors organized into more than 500 teams are embedded from division to battalion levels of Iraqi military and NP units as well as in many police stations and border enforcement units. During this reporting period, MNSTC-I’s Intelligence Transition Team (I-TT) was established to assist the Government of Iraq (GoI) in developing national intelligence capabilities. The team functions in a cross-ministerial capacity advising intelligence elements in both the MoD and MoI. The team is led by an SES-level DoD civilian intelligence professional and will soon grow to 81 embedded intelligence and law enforcement advisors.

As of August 9, 2007, 105 Army battalions have been generated and are conducting operations at varying levels of capability; three of these are Special Operations Battalions. Another 25 infantry battalions are currently in the process of generation. Of the 17 planned Iraqi Army Infrastructure Battalions (IAIBs; formerly called Strategic Infrastructure Battalions (SIBs)), 12 are assessed as able to conduct operations side by side with Coalition forces or are in the lead. Of the Iraqi Army units conducting operations, 9 divisions, 33 brigades, and 103 battalions have the lead in counterinsurgency operations in their areas of responsibility (AOR) as of this reporting period.

Seventy-five percent of all Iraqi Army units are rated as being able to conduct independent operations or to lead operations with Coalition assistance.13

The Iraqi Army is capable of conducting counterinsurgency operations in both rural and urban environments but currently lacks the ability to conduct numerous tasks without access to Coalition enablers. The lack of those enablers also severely restricts the Iraqis’ ability to defend against external threats. Although performance of Iraqi forces is adequate in limited combined operations with Coalition forces, their ability to manage the security environment independently in any part of the cities remains uncertain because of these shortcomings. In addition, the development of a unified, nonsectarian force that will be capable of securing the country in the event of a withdrawal of Coalition forces is hampered by the loyalty of soldiers within many military units to their tribal and ethno-sectarian or political affiliations and associated militias. These affiliations are often the basis for relationships between key officers and higher-level authorities who are not always in the direct chain of command. Iraqi forces continue to experience shortfalls in selfsustaining logistics and generating officer and noncommissioned officer (NCO) personnel to meet the requirements of an expanding army and high attrition rates.

The 27 authorized NP battalions are operational, with seven capable of leading operations with Coalition support, but none is assigned the lead of a specific area of responsibility. Some NP units lack personnel, individual soldier equipment, and reliable vehicles to conduct operations without Coalition support. Seven brigades are conducting security operations in Baghdad, and one brigade was moved to Samarra in order to provide security throughout the city. Another brigade is conducting retraining at the Numaniyah Training Facility as part of the National Police improvement training plan. As of August 1, 2007, seven of nine NP brigades have completed cohort training. This does not include Prime Minister Maliki’s initiatives, such as the Al Askariyah NP Brigade to guard the reconstruction of Samarra’s Golden Mosque. A brigade-sized operational reserve consisting of a mechanized battalion from the Army, an NP battalion, and a Special Forces company was established.

Challenge to Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police Expansion—Officer Corps Limits

Further large expansions of MoD and MoI authorized end-strength—currently at 488,000 personnel with 445,500 on the payroll—will require addressing an already existing leadership shortage within the officer and noncommissioned officer (NCO) ranks.14

Ministry of Defense. The Iraqi Army (IA) is short of leadership in the mid-range NCO ranks as well as the mid-range officer ranks. The IA is taking several steps to mitigate the leader shortage, such as actively recruiting prior service officers and NCOs using mobile recruiting teams and exploring accelerated promotions of personnel currently in the Army. It is unclear if sufficient candidates can be recruited to offset increased requirements. The MoD is also considering other ways of generating officer candidates from within the current force.

Ministry of Interior. Because the training effort of the past four years has focused on generating policemen, and because of the time it takes to grow professional junior officers, there have been inadequate numbers of officer-rank police entering at junior levels. The resulting low officer manning has affected command and control, planning functions, street-level supervision, morale, retention, and ethical conduct. The Iraqi Police Service (IPS) and the NP use various paths to acquire officers. Both of the police services are actively seeking to increase officers through four methods: a three-year officer course; a nine-month officer course; a six-month police commissioner’s course; and a three-week officer transition program (for previously trained police officers). The police services have difficulty attracting officer candidates because they compete with the Iraqi Army for the same pool. The MoI is also considering various incentive programs to attract new recruits.

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