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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

 

Securing the Borders

When Iraqis regained their sovereignty in mid-2004, their country did not have any type of centralized effort to secure its borders. The CPA had established the Department of Border Enforcement (DBE) in 2003 and some Iraqi security personnel had been stationed along the borders, supplemented by Coalition forces that had created local programs to prevent terrorists, arms, explosives, and other contraband from entering the country. MNSTC-I’s establishment, however, marked the beginning of a concerted effort to secure the border by working with the MOI to train and equip the DBE. The DBE assumed responsibility from Coalition forces for Iraq’s borders on 1 July 2004. Once the department became operational, its leaders and the MNSTC-I advisors realized the force needed more manpower and they planned for an expansion that would increase the ranks of the border police to 32,000 by the end of 2005.197

As with other ISF training efforts, the country of Jordan hosted the initial border police training center with the assistance of instructors from the US Department of Homeland Security. In September 2004 the first class of 451 Iraqi students graduated from the basic training course, which included classes on border security, customs supervision, and immigration procedures. MNSTC-I then assisted the DBE to create training academies in the cities of Basrah, Al Kut, and As Sulaymaniyah, locations close to the lengthy Iraqi border with Iran.198 MNF-I and the DBE also began a monumental construction initiative to build a series of border crossing checkpoints and fortifications from which these new forces could operate. In December 2004 only about 50 forts were operational, but the rate of progress increased rapidly in 2005.199 The goal of the DBE was to have 300 forts along with a command and control structure, four sector headquarters, and a national headquarters in Baghdad. Modernization efforts brought needed technology to the border forces, allowing officials to scan cargo as it entered the country.200

Despite all of these efforts, securing Iraq’s borders remained a difficult task. One area on the Iraq–Iran border illustrated the significant amount of resources required to meet this challenge. In Multi-National Division–Central-South (MND-CS), controlled by the Poles in 2004, the AOR included approximately 140 kilometers of border between Iraq and Iran, a sector that included 14 border forts, 1 point of entry (POE), and 1 denial point (DP). Up to 200 Iraqi border patrol agents under an Iraqi lieutenant colonel manned the POE. These police manned and patrolled the area using about 60 border police with 6 Jeeps at the POE itself, and about 140 personnel with 14 Jeeps conducting mounted and dismounted patrols. In addition, the POE was staffed by about 40 customs inspectors and 40 immigration inspectors. The DP was manned with 30 border police under the leadership of an Iraqi captain. Each border fort provided living accommodations and communications for about 60 border police to control their AOR.201 Although substantial work eventually went toward securing Iraq’s borders after a slow start in 2003 and early 2004, this area would remain among the most challenging of the ISF programs.


Chapter 11. Training the Iraqi Security Forces





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