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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 III

Toward the Objective: Building a New Iraq

Chapter 11
Training the Iraqi Security Forces


The Phase II Plan for the Iraqi Armed Forces

One month after the first Iraqi recruits began basic training, and in the midst of CMATT’s struggles to build bases, obtain equipment, and find trainers and advisors for the NIA, Eaton received a change of mission. As noted earlier, on 5 September 2003 the DOD ordered what was labeled Phase II, the first of two major expansions of the original plan for Iraq’s armed forces. Driving this expansion was the Coalition leadership’s realization by early fall 2003 that a coherent insurgency was emerging in Iraq and that the ISF had to play a critical and immediate role in engaging that threat. CMATT briefings from early September 2003 reflected this shift in the understanding of the security situation. One briefing made the following assertions: “Time is not on our side in Iraq”; “Iraqi army units brought on line quicker enable Coalition units to leave sooner”; and “Iraqi army units in the field may enable friendly Arab nations to commit troops to security operations in Iraq . . . which they won’t do now.”69 Thus, by the fall of 2003 the Coalition’s effort to train ISF had become a strategic as well as an operational objective.

For the Iraqi Army to contribute to stabilizing the security situation, they had to be quickly trained, equipped, and fielded. Thus, Phase II of the NIA program called for the original 27 battalions and 3 divisions of the NIA to be operational by 1 September 2004—2 years earlier than the June 2003 Phase I plan. Phase II also included the creation of an Iraqi Coastal Defense Force for river and coastal patrolling, and an Iraqi Air Force, to be initially equipped with 8 C-130 transport aircraft and 12 UH-1 “Huey” helicopters.70

Iraq’s expanded military forces would be stationed at brigade-size garrisons, at one air base, and at one naval base with supporting recruiting offices, training centers, and support facilities of all types. The plan required a major increase in US and Coalition support to include mobile training teams, embedded unit advisors, equipment fielding teams, and significantly greater military and civilian construction capability. The cost of the program ballooned from the $173 million in Phase I to just over $2.2 billion in Phase II.71

Chapter 11. Training the Iraqi Security Forces

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