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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

2.4 Iraqi National Counter-Terrorism Forces (INCTF)

Transition of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) Brigade command and control from Coalition forces to the Iraqis at the Counter- Terrorism Bureau (CTB) and Counter-Terrorism Command (CTC) is on track. The 1st ISOF Brigade has been formed, equipped and provided with initial trainees. It is currently organized under the CTC, with formal command of the Brigade transitioning to the CTB and CTC in 2009. Initial secure communications between the CTB, the CTC and the ISOF Brigade are operational. Funding to purchase secure tactical communication equipment has been approved and it will be fielded in 2008. The CTB and CTC achieved IOC in January 2008 and have entered Phase III transition, which means combined U.S.-Iraqi command and control with personnel conducting side-by-side ground operations. The current projected start of Phase IV transition—Iraqi command and control of ground operations with U.S. oversight—is in the summer of 2008.

Currently, CTC and CTB are manned to 79% and 53% of authorizations respectively. The ISOF brigade consists of an Iraqi National Counter- Terrorism Force (INCTF) battalion, three Commando battalions, a support battalion and a special reconnaissance unit. The training of new INCTF special operators occurs at the ISOF Brigade Iraqi Special Warfare Center and School (ISWCS). This is the only organic training institution within the INCTF structure. INCTF training capacity for non-operator, support personnel and specialists relies on acquiring soldiers and training from MoD schools. INCTF training capacity is constrained by the rigorous vetting, assessment and selection process required for all ISOF personnel. Despite this constraint, the ISWCS remains capable of producing the special operators required to fill the ISOF Brigade.

Four regional commando battalions are currently in generation as an expansion effort to increase ISOF presence and nationwide capability to conduct CT operations. INCTF is establishing these 440-man battalions in Basrah, Mosul, Diyala and Al Asad. Their development remains on track with ISWCS training currently underway to complete fielding of the first two sites: Basrah and Mosul. As of January 2008, the Commando Battalions at Basrah and Mosul have reached 80% manning, achieving IOC to conduct local CT missions. Diyala and Al Asad will achieve IOC by May and July 2008 respectively, and construction of permanent basing to support the four regional commando battalions should be complete by February 2009.

The GoI plans to establish an ISOF Brigade Garrison Support Unit (GSU) to provide combat service support, facility and security support for the ISOF Brigade. The statement of requirement and the MTOE are in the review process, and GSU force generation is approved for funding with ISFF. When fully fielded, the GSU will consist of a 766-man unit co-located with the ISOF Brigade HQ. It will also provide 60-man regional support unit detachments permanently deployed in support of each of the four regional commando battalions.

Regional CT Centers (RCCs), similar to Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) organizations, will be established at all four regional commando bases as infrastructure construction is completed. The RCCs will work for CTC to develop terrorist network mapping for the region and will support intelligence fusion efforts in the regional commando battalion battlespace. The RCCs at Basrah and Mosul regional commando bases will achieve IOC in January 2008, with follow-on in Diyala and Al Asad by the summer of 2008.

In February 2008, Coalition Air Force Advisors and the IqAF began night vision goggle (NVG) training as the basis for future CT pilot training. Potential CT pilots and aircrew will undergo NVG flying introduction in order to select the best pilots for advanced CT aviation training as early as April 2008. Selected pilots will continue to log NVG training hours in order to attain a proficiency level that prepares them for Advanced Special Operations specific training as early as late summer 2008. Once fielded, this special operations aviation capability will reside in the IqAF 15 Squadron.

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