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Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq


March 2008
Report to Congress
In accordance with the
Department of Defense Appropriations Act 2008
(Section 9010, Public Law 109-289)


Section 2-Iraqi Security Forces Training and Performance

2.1 Assessed Capabilities of the Iraqi Forces

Iraqi forces continue to improve their capabilities, particularly in terms of operations. However, support and sustainment capabilities still lag. The Iraqi Army (IA) fought capably alongside Coalition units engaged in Operation Phantom Phoenix. Similarly, the IPS demonstrated its competence, notably working alongside IA units to defeat the Soldiers of Heaven cult disruptions in southern Iraq during the Ashura holiday. As their readiness levels improve, Iraqi forces will be able to secure Iraq with proportionally reduced Coalition support. Such a transition remains constrained, however, by MoD and MoI leadership shortages at all operational and tactical levels, as well as deficiencies in logistics, combat support functions and combat enablers.

The Coalition’s four broad areas of emphasis in developing the MoD and MoI and their forces remain unchanged from the previous report. They are: (1) support the force generation and force replenishment of MoD and MoI forces, (2) improve the proficiency of the Iraqi forces, (3) build specific logistic, sustainment and training capacities, and (4) develop ministerial and institutional capacity. Challenges within these areas include leader shortfalls, logistics deficiencies (including maintenance and life support), dependence on Coalition forces for many combat support functions, corruption, a lack of professionalism and sectarian bias.

There are four near-term areas of special emphasis through 2008. The first is to ensure that Iraqi forces are mostly self-sufficient in logistics, maintenance and life support. Increasing MoD emphasis on logistics is evident in the growth of trained support forces—from 15,449 to 19,750—since the last report. Second, ensuring the appropriate size, capability and leadership of Iraqi forces such that they can assume additional battlespace from Coalition forces. Third, enhancing the capabilities of Iraqi special operations forces. Finally, ensuring that Iraqi Air Force and Navy growth are on track.

Ministerial Capacity

In order to align its structure more effectively to support building MoD and MoI capacity in these key institutional functions, MNSTC-I reorganized—effective January 1, 2008—into the following directorates and teams: a Directorate of Defense Affairs (DDA), a Directorate of Interior Affairs (DoIA), an Intelligence Transition Team, an Iraqi National Counter- Terror Force (INCTF) Transition Team and a Functional Capabilities Directorate. The DDA is led by a U.S. Air Force Brigadier General and advises the MoD and the Joint Headquarters (JHQ) through the MoD and JHQ Advisory Teams (formerly known as transition teams). It also advises the military services through the Coalition Army Advisory Training Team (CAATT, formerly CMATT), the Coalition Air Force Transition Team (CAFTT) and the Maritime Strategic Transition Team (MaSTT). The DoIA is commanded by a U.S. Army Major General who advises the MoI and its associated police forces. The Intelligence Transition Team (INT-TT) is led by a Senior Executive Service-level DoD civilian intelligence professional. It advises the key intelligence organizations within the security ministries—the MoD Directorate General for Intelligence and Security (DGIS) and the JHQ Intelligence Directorate (JHQ M2)—as well as the MoI National Information and Investigation Agency (NIIA). The INCTF-TT is led by a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral who advises the Counter-Terrorism Bureau (CTB) and Command (CTC), as well as Iraqi special operations forces. The DDA, the DoIA, the INT-TT and the INCTF-TT focus on building valued relationships with key security ministry personnel, and on-site training and advisory support to their Iraqi counterparts. The new Functional Capabilities Directorate focuses on developing Iraqi capacity and providing subject-matter expertise to both security ministries in the developing areas of force management, personnel acquisition and management, materiel acquisition, resource management, sustainment, training and development.

In February 2008, because of these initiatives, MNSTC-I won the Department of Defense Managers’ Internal Control Program “Most Improved Process Award” sponsored by the Deputy Secretary of Defense. To sustain and refine these accounting and oversight practices, MNSTC-I has partnered with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to create an accounting cell augmented by two DFAS accountants working at MNSTC-I.

The Iraqi JHQ is making progress in its capacity to develop strategic level policies and plans, including the National Military Strategy, service plans, contingency plans and the development of integrated capability lists for force development. The JHQ Operations Directorate (JHQ M3) is effective within the limits of the current command and control structures for the Iraqi forces, although significant command and control challenges remain. In addition, Coalition forces conduct some of the strategic and operational level planning in conjunction with the Iraqi armed forces. As an area for further development, Coalition and Iraqi forces will increasingly conduct combined planning to increase Iraqi capacity for operational and strategic level planning and execution.

Iraqi Forces Proficiency

As of February 1, 2008, 123 army combat battalions are conducting operations, an increase from 117 in the last report. Another 37 battalions are currently in, or planned for, force generation. Four Special Operations Battalions are capable of conducting operations with minimal Coalition support. Of the 17 infrastructure battalions scheduled for redesignation as infantry units, six have completed training and are operational infantry, one is currently undergoing transition training and seven of the remaining ten are already capable of conducting operations with varying levels of Coalition support. Of all formed Iraqi Army units, 77% are rated as being able to plan, execute and sustain operations with minimal or no assistance from Coalition forces. Since December 2007, six additional units have improved their proficiency and can now conduct COIN operations with Coalition support.

The National Police (NP) also continues to increase its proficiency. The number of authorized operational NP battalions is 38. There are nine battalions capable of planning, executing and sustaining operations with Coalition support. This is an increase of three from the last report.

The three security ministry intelligence institutions assisted by the MNSTC-I INT-TT continue to build capacity and improve performance. They have made significant progress in developing an Iraq-wide secure intelligence communications architecture that enhances intelligence reporting and sharing among agencies. Ministerial-level approval of organizational structures and recent hiring initiatives has improved manning levels across the community. They have made progress in establishing infrastructure in Baghdad; however, challenges remain in many of the provinces. They have also developed some intermediate and advanced intelligence training, yet much work remains in this area. Finally, personnel vetting and associated security procedures—while improving—are not yet sufficiently mature.

Logistics, Sustainment and Training Capacities

Developing logistics and sustainment capabilities remains an essential task for the Iraqi forces. The MoD-directed transition to lifesupport self-reliance occurred on December 1, 2007. The Iraqis continue to face challenges to the change in life-support procedures, though the implementation process has been able to provide essential requirements for both operating forces and the institutional training base. This is a large effort and will continue through most of 2008.

At the end of 2007, MoD and JHQ approved plans to develop and build fixed-site base support units (BSUs) for each division. Eight logistics bases now exist. These bases will be expanded and manned to a newly authorized Modified Table of Organization and Equipment (MTOE). Construction of the remaining five bases and associated BSUs should be complete by the end of 2008. Construction of nationallevel maintenance and warehousing facilities at the Taji National Maintenance and Supply Depots will come on line sequentially beginning in spring 2008. The full set of depot capabilities should be complete by the summer of 2009. Once completed, the Taji National Maintenance and Supply Depots—coupled with BSUs and deployable logistics battalions— will provide the MoD with a nationwide operational supply and distribution system. To support this end-state, the MoD, JHQ, Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC), IA Divisions and MNSTC-I continue to work on the process of training logisticians for combat, base support and depot level positions. The plan to locate divisional logistics battalions at support bases features an emphasis on the recruitment and training of specialized trades required to execute logistics operations.

The MoI is proactively establishing and enforcing logistics procedures and expanding its logistics capability by hiring additional personnel and constructing warehouses; this should be completed in March 2008. The MoI has also shown improvement in procurement capability and establishing independent service contracts.

Both ministries still receive substantial logistics support from the Coalition, mostly in the form of U.S.-funded contracts, and, to a lesser degree, as direct support. Iraqi forces remain partially dependent on Coalition support to move supplies to BSUs and police warehouses. This dependency will diminish over time with the fielding of motor transport regiments. Ten regiments have been fielded and three will be fielded throughout 2008. Once at the BSU or police warehouse, Iraqi forces distribute commodities to the end user. Both the MoD and the MoI are now increasingly capable of supplying fuel to their units. However, the Ministry of Oil (MoO) still does not allocate sufficient fuel to these ministries for them to execute all mission requirements. Senior Coalition and Iraqi officials are addressing this issue.

Operational events, as well as significant coordination of logistics systems and procedures between the MoD, the JHQ, and MNSTC-I, have altered the national logistics timeline conceived in 2006, as well as the MoD Logistics Action Plan and the Coalitiondeveloped MoI Concept of Support. As conditions change, the MoD develops updated plans in close coordination with key security ministry officials. To normalize direct support, the Coalition and the MoD continue discussions on an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) for the reciprocal provision of logistic support, supplies and services on a reimbursable basis.

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deliveries have continued to increase since the previous report. The expanded MNSTC-I Security Assistance Office is working with the GoI to develop and refine Iraqi security requirements and FMS cases. December 2007 deliveries marked the successful completion of the first U.S. FMS weapons cases, which include 21,108 M16A4s, 1,834 M4s, 536 M203s and 208 12-gauge shotguns. Deliveries on the second U.S. weapons cases, to include 4,000 M16A4s, began in January 2008. Shipments of VHF radios to Iraq have begun, with more than 2,500 radios delivered to date. Technical installation and programming is ongoing, and radio fielding will continue monthly until delivery of all 13,000 radios is complete by the end of May 2008.

In December 2007, the first King Air Light Transport Aircraft was delivered to the Iraqi Air Force. This is the first delivery of an aircraft purchased by Iraq and represents a major investment in their capability. In December 2007, the MoD also signed a US$189 million FMS case for 14 Counter- Terrorism helicopters, with the first two scheduled for delivery in February 2009.

In short, Iraqi purchases of military equipment and equipment deliveries under FMS continue to grow. The MoD has over US$1.5 billion in FMS cases pending, split roughly between offered Letters of Acceptance (LOA) and LOAs in development. Approximately US$859 million of FMS goods have been delivered or are being processed for delivery to the MoD. An additional US$352 million of FMS goods have been delivered or are being processed for delivery to the MoI (US$272 million) and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) (US$80 million).

In early January 2008, the Minister of Defense signed nine force generation Letters of Request (LORs). These LORs support the continued expansion of the planned COIN force and include headquarters units and additional infantry brigades. Appropriate agencies in Washington are reviewing these requests, and finalized LOAs for Iraqi signature are in development.

MNSTC-I has also been working closely with MNC-I and the Iraqi security ministries to develop a fielding and distribution plan for the purchase of 8,500 up-armored High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) with ISFF money. These vehicles will be distributed to both MoD and MoI units according to agreed upon Iraqi and Coalition operational priorities. Current plans call for the transfer of 4,244 HMMWVs in calendar year (CY) 2008 and the rest in CY2009. These HMMWVs will significantly increase the protected mobility of MoD and MoI forces in combat operations. HMMWV refurbishment to fully mission capable status, operator and mechanic training and unit set fielding plans are all in place to ensure the Iraqi forces are prepared to receive, operate and sustain this additional capability. The Iraqi forces are using this refurbishment process as a platform to accelerate the training of their mechanics and maintenance supervisors.

The MoD and MoI are taking on greater responsibility for life support and for the operations and maintenance of their existing communications networks. The MoI also signed a LOA for life support at the Baghdad Police College. The MoI is reviewing another life-support contract for most of the activities on Camp Dublin. Other life-support contracts are in development.

The Iraqi Army and Police expansion of basic combat and police training facilities has led to noticeable increases in the overall percentages of assigned unit strength. The leader-to-led ratio has also steadily improved. Between March 2007 and January 2008, for example, the percentages across all MoD leader authorizations to which personnel are assigned increased from 33% to 69% for non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and from 43% to 73% for officers. This remains a key developmental area for both security ministries.

Force Expansion

Iraqi forces expanded to a current assigned strength of over 531,000 personnel during this period. This is a result of three major factors. The first is an opportunity to take advantage of operational successes and set the conditions to recruit from local “tribal Awakenings.” The second is the consolidation of units from various government agencies and ministries under the command and control of the Iraqi security ministries. The third factor is the GoI’s reassessment of the size of an Iraqi force necessary to assume more responsibility for security as the situation allows.



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