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ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign

The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005

Part II

Transition to a New Campaign

Chapter 4
Leading the New Campaign: Transitions in Command and Control in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM


The Creation of MNSTC-I

In their recommendations to DOD about the structure of MNF-I, General Abizaid and Lieutenant General Sanchez had urged the creation of a second three-star headquarters to take on a new task assigned to MNF-I in March 2004—the mission to train, equip, and advise the ISF. (The overall history of the Coalition’s programs to train the ISF in 2003 and 2004 is told in greater detail in chapter 11.) In January 2004 the NSC decided to increase the scope and pace of ISF training. This decision was in response to two factors. First, by early 2004 it was clear that Coalition and Iraqi forces faced a complex and growing threat from terrorists and Sunni and Shia insurgents. OIF was going to take many years and require a much larger Iraqi military and police force to defeat the growing threats to the emerging nation.174 Second, after a January 2004 assessment of the CPA-led effort to train the ISF, conducted by Major General Karl Eikenberry, the NSC decided to take the mission away from the CPA and turn it over to CJTF-7. Abizaid and Sanchez had been urging the DOD leadership to turn the ISF training mission over to the military since the fall of 2003 and to greatly increase the scope of that program. In Sanchez’s view, the CPA was not properly resourced and lacked the correct vision of what was needed in Iraq. He told DOD, “There are tremendous challenges here and we are not making any progress. You need to give the ISF mission to CJTF-7.”175

The CPA and Bremer initially disagreed, urging instead a slower approach to train a professional military focused only on external threats. This thinking was in line with the original policy guidance that Bremer issued in May 2003.176 Sanchez and others wanted to stand up the armed forces and the police more rapidly, and focus them on internal as well as external threats. The January 2004 assessment validated those concerns.177 The decision to turn over political power from CPA to an interim government in June 2004 also meant that CPA was going to be dissolved and the ISF program would need to be transferred. The new organization, Multi-National Security Transition Command–Iraq (MNSTC-I), would follow the newer vision for the ISF. Major General Petraeus, who had commanded the 101st ABN during the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, was selected and promoted to be the first three-star commander of MNSTC-I, taking command on 6 June 2004. It then took a number of months for that new organization to develop its initial staffing requirements and to get them filled.

Chapter 4. Leading the New Campaign: Transitions in Command and Control in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM

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